6th annual Fine Art Photography Awards winners and finalists

Last week, winners and finalists of the 6th annual Fine Art Photography Awards (FAPA) were announced. Dutch portrait artist Ewa Cwikla won $3,000 in prize money and the title of Professional Fine Art Photographer of the Year for her photo ‘Candy Smoke.’ Greek photographer Ioanna Natsikou was declared Amateur Fine Art Photographer of the Year. She received $2,000 in prize money for her series ‘Interlude in the Blue.’

The competition received 4,300 entries from 89 countries across 20 categories including abstract, architecture, night photography, and travel. Winners and nominees were selected by a panel of international judges including Marietta Varga, Per Schorn, Simon Åslund, Julien Palast, Ekaterina Busygina, Per Kasch, Dainius Sciuka, Aleksei Boiko, and Salvatore Matarazzo.

FAPA is now accepting entries for their 7th annual competition. In the spirit of discovering emerging talent, per the organization’s press release, it is open to professional and amateur photographers from all countries. This year’s full professional winners gallery and full amateur winners gallery are currently available to view on FAPA’s official site.

Grand Prize, Professional Fine Art Photographer of the Year: ‘Candy Smoke’ by Ewa Cwikla

Artist statement:

Amateur Fine Art Photographer of the Year: ‘Interlude in Blue (Series)’ by Ioanna Natsikou

Artist Statement: ‘Interlude in Blue’ is a body of work that portrays the female figure in personal spaces enclosed in a world of silence and desire, touching upon themes of loneliness, isolation and alienation.

Through the repetitive process of ‘iteration,’ the viewer can see all these phenomenologically identical, yet different unidentified female characters unfold; an attempt to puzzle out, discover and understand the enigma and the complexity of identity; how many different personas can I/we be on the ‘stage’ of everyday life?

This series seeks to engage the viewer in a private world of reverie and self-absorption.

1st Place Winner, Professional Category, Abstract: Micro Images of Teepee Canyon Agate (Series) by Randy Fullbright

Artist Statement: These images are an exploration of the varied and incredible patterns In Tepee Canyon Agate from South Dakota USA using a 10 power microscope objective and focus stacking to gain depth of field. I have always been amazed by the patterns in agate that are not visible to the human eye. When I discovered Micro Photography it opened up an entirely new range of possibilities and discoveries with my photography.

1st Place Winner, Professional Category, Architecture: ‘Building Constructs (Series)’ by Tom Leighton

Artist Statement: In my ‘Building Constructs’ series of work, my intention is to focus in on individual buildings, their architectural form and defining features, accentuating these elements through distortion and manipulation. This allows a freedom from concern for logistics and practicality, but the images are nevertheless a tribute to the minds that go into creating functioning superstructures, a celebration of the boundaries being pushed by the evermore gravity-defying architecture of the world.

1st Place Winner, Professional Category, Wildlife/Animals: ‘Rays of Light’ by Nadia Aly

Artist Statement: Rays of Light showcases the astonishing annual aggregation of mobula rays off the coat of Baja Mexico.

1st Place Winner, Professional Category, Fashion: ‘The Fire Within (Series)’ by Tonya Polskaya

Artist Statement: ‘The fire within’ is a story about emotions penetrating physical structure and setting blood vessels aflame. It is about adaptation to one’s self and the new habitat. The flame is a metaphor of purification and rebirth, and ascendance to one’s true self.

Professional Nominee, Photojournalism: ‘Under High Tension (Series)’ by Alexandra Berger

Artist Statement: The intention behind this series is not to show crime or poverty, this is obvious. The idea behind these photos is to generate empathy and understanding for people in other life situations and to break down prejudices against others.The series shows the daily life of a family living illegally in the electromagnetic field of overhead power lines in Playa del Carmen / Mexico.

Flor and Romero, originally from Chiapas, have arrived 5 years ago, together with their 6 sons to ‘Las Torres’ a squatter settlement under high voltage towers in Playa del Carmen / Mexico. It is an area that has been invaded by 700 families in the right-of-way of the overhead electric power lines and spreads over 10 km. The series shows moments of their lives under this ‘charged’ circumstances.

A life in a legal blackhole which makes it one of the most dangerous parts of the city, neither police nor ambulances dare to enter. Due to the Mexican law, that forbids housing under the electromagnetic field of the high voltage cables, the government doesn’t provide basic requirements, like water, electricity and a sewerage system.

Giving up is not an option.

Professional Nominee, Travel: ‘Way Back’ by Tuan Nguyen Tan

Artist Statement: The Cham girl is returning home with herds of sheep in Ninh Thuan, Vietnam.

2nd Place Winner, Amateur Category, Abstract: ‘Mar De Plástico’ by Agustin Busselo Ortega

Artist Statement: The presence of plastic in the sea represents a serious problem in our habitat. The purpose of this photography is to represent the sea through plastic sheets, but from a creative point of view.

Amateur Nominee, Fine Art: ‘Poetry of Death Valley (Series)’ by Marek Boguszak

Artist Statement: Poetry of rocks and sand in Death Valley.

2nd Place Winner, Amateur Category, Landscape: ‘The Girl on the Icelandic Horse’ by Lars Roed

Artist Statement: The sun had set in the Wadden Sea. Suddenly out of nowhere the girl came on the Icelandic horse and rode out into the sea where there was low tide. Beautiful picture with insight into the infinitely changing moods and expressions of the Wadden Sea in Denmark.

Amateur Nominee, Nature: ‘Tears of the Nature (Series)’ by Anna Kropf

Artist Statement: The magic influence of the Water in the Nature.

3rd Place Winner, Amateur Category, Night Photography: ‘Rushing (Series)’ by Dominique Weiss

Artist Statement: Dominique created this series out of her passion for the dramatic landscapes of the Swiss alps. To her understanding, it is crucial to persevere this region that gives
us air to breathe, water to nourish our bodies and beauty to caress our souls.

Rushing portrays the speed with which our competitive society is racing through their lives.
In rush we are barely able to hear our surroundings.
In rush we are barely able to see what is in front of us.
In rush we are barely able to comprehend what our behavior causes.
Rushing not only blurs our sight, but all of our senses.
We are numbly rushing into an unknown future…

For this series Dominique travelled across Switzerland portraying dramatic landscape scenes to encourage people to see beyond their accelerated every day life routines. She suggests it is time to implement more harmony into our lives and respectfully treat them as one of our most important relationships.

1st Place Winner, Amateur Category, Street Photography: ‘The Pursuit of Being and Belonging (Series)’ by Manuel Martins

Artist Statement: Hi, my name is Manuel Martins, I’m a 27 years old Portuguese national living in Lisbon. With my street photography I like to create beautiful, surreal or even puzzling constructs, that have reality, it’s scenarios from our daily lives and light and it’s absence as prime matters. Along with this I also try to distill who I am, my life experiences, my feelings and perceptions of reality into the photograph itself.

By nature I’m an introverted and shy person, and for those same reasons, I’ve never been able to fully understand society and find my place in it. That changed though, on the first time I picked up a camera and found street photography. This series then, ‘The pursuit of being and belonging,’ is my homage to street photography and what it means to me.

Because when I’m out, slowly walking the pavement step by step, I not only pursue photographs, but also a way of belonging in our world, by being there with the camera on my hand, to tell my story and to show the hidden gems of our day-to-day world, those that many manage to disregard and so hopefully, bring some magic back to the viewer’s lives.

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