With over 590,000 submissions, the 2017 EyeEm Photography festival is one of the largest photography contests designed for emerging photographers, bringing young, aspiring photographers from across the globe together into a stunning showcase of images. With the contest complete, photographers from every stage can find inspiration from the collection of winning images. Here are the results of the EyeEm 2017 Photography Awards — and a handful of takeaways for aspiring photographers.
EyeEm is a tech company, a stock photo company, and community for photographers all wrapped up into one. Through the EyeEm app, photographers can edit and share their work, then even list the photos for sale through EyeEm’s stock marketplace. Meanwhile, EyeEm’s tech team continuously works to develop new tools for photographers, including apps that use AI to find your best shots and tools to save stock photographers time.
EyeEm 2017 Photography Festival and Awards
The EyeEm Photography Awards is an annual competition hosted by EyeEm designed specifically for emerging talent. The competition awards five different categories, as well as choosing the Photographer of the Year. The winners receive mentorship from a renowned photographer, new camera equipment, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the EyeEm Festival in Berlin.
The EyeEm Festival is an event for photographers with workshops, discussion, portfolio reviews and other insight into photography. During the festival, the winning photographs are also displayed in a special gallery. Every year, the two-day event is held in mid-September in Berlin.
The EyeEm 2017 Photography Awards Winners
2017 EyeEm Photographer of the Year
Sasha Dudkina is just 19, but the Moscow-based photographer has already earned EyeEm’s top title for her images of often candid moments. Dudkina’s images are often stunning because of the moment they were captured, freezing a glance or fleeting moment. Inspired by music, literature, nature, and people, her home country also often sparks a particular photo.
Dudkina’s work in the EyeEm contest is highlighted by a young girl dancing outside of a snowy scene outside a Russian home. The downward glance of the girl along with the moody colors — from the rosy cheeks to the dark of the roof and snow create a highly emotional image. Moments continue to impact her featured work, including a boy sleeping on an outdoor bench and the moment the wind catches a girl’s hair while getting into a car. Expression, from a laughing boy to the fierce gaze of a young woman smoking with a towel wrapped around wet hair creates a collection full of different moods.
Adeolu Osibodu, a 20-year-old Nigerian photographer, won the portrait category for a series of images he shot of himself wearing his grandfather’s clothes. The images helped Osibodu find himself after his grandfather’s death. The series was shot in Redemption Camp with a Nikon D5200 and an 18-55mm kit lens; proving expensive gear doesn’t make those photographs special.
Motion is vital to the entire series, with movement creating flow in the clothing as well as generating more candid expressions. The muted colors of the sand and gray-blue skies create a look reminiscent of the film while helping the vibrant colors in the grandfather’s clothing to pop.
The Great Outdoors
Seeing the dark side of the outdoors while on an anti-poaching ship inspired the Brazil native Guiga Pira, 30, to capture the beauty in his surroundings rather than just the destruction. He shot the series with a DJI Phantom 3 drone in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico.
The winning shot plays with light by shooting the boat from directly above, while a low sun creates a shadow on the water of what the boat would look like if photographed from the side, cast against bright turquoise waters. The series also includes stunning images of the shoreline and even a seal with emphasis on high angles and complementary color palettes.
A Shakespearean art form against the backdrop of a prison in the Republic of Moldova earned Ramin Mazur, 30, the photojournalism category. The series sought to call attention to some of the conditions in the prisons in a country with the highest number of per capita inmates in Europe.
The winning image depicts an actor on stage in a poignant stance against a backdrop of wire-topped prison walls. Stage lights hitting smoke gives the image a somber mood, along with a cool color balance.
Denise Kwong, 39, went to a popular photo spot in Hong Kon, but it’s when she turned and saw a lit block of units that she found her winning image. Kwong, a native of Australia, shot the image with the Olympus PEN F.
The different units in the image all seem to tell a different story, like individual frames of cinematic work. Pattern and a mix of both cool and warm lights with a dark exposure finish the image’s cinematic feel.
The Street Photographer
Julia Hrudova’s play on the general reliability of a photograph over other art forms won her the street photography category. Her leisure series, shot in Moscow, Tokyo, and Amsterdam mixes a fun activity with an unusual background that leaves viewers questioning the image.
Her winning photograph mixes a water roller coaster with passengers covered in plastic against an industrial backdrop of buildings. The bright color of the coaster car helps draw attention to the subject while shadows across the buildings in the back add to the odd yet lovely vibe of the image.
EyeEm also asked photographers to pick a favorite this year, and the community selected a colorful portrait playing with expression and hair shot by Robert Torrontegui, a 27-year-old photographer from the Philippines.
The EyeEm Photography Awards creates a stunning collection of inspiring images playing on the camera’s ability to freeze moments, capture unseen angles and highlighting the human condition in art. But as an annual event, the EyeEm Awards doesn’t have to be only inspiration — photographers can start shooting now for the June deadline for 2018.