Winners and finalists for the 2020 Minimalist Photography Awards

Powered by B&W Minimalism magazine, the 2nd annual Minimalist Photography Awards recently announced its winners for 2020. Over 4,200 photos from 41 countries were submitted across 12 categories including Street, Photomanipulation, Conceptual, and Aerial. Australian photographer George Byrne won the title of Minimalist Photographer of the Year for his series ‘Exit Vision’ – though 2 of the images ended up in 2nd place for the Abstract and Fine Art categories, respectively.

‘As an approach in photography, minimalism or minimalistic photography could be taken by the photographer in all genres. No matter your are a portrait, architecture, landscape etc. photographer, minimalist photos are always an option as long as you have a minimal look toward your surroundings,’ said Milad Safabakhsh, founder and president of the awards. First, second, and third place winners in each category will be published in a book and exhibited at Galerie Minimal Berlin when it reopens.

All category winners and honorable mentions can be viewed here.

1st Place Winner, Abstract Photographer of the Year: ‘Abstract Series One’ by Stanislas Augris

Artist Statement: I’m Stanislas Augris. French musician and photographer. I’m from the Parisian suburb so part of my photographic work is to focus on the geometric shape, patterns and palette color of the urban environment, my daily environment. The aim is sometime to render an abstract picture of flat tints of colors and so create an artwork that decorrelate the form and the substance. Photography allows me to keep my eyes open to the world and to those everyday places, those in-between places.

I think either for architecture photography or for the rest of my photographic work (landscape and street photography) the main world is to keep it minimalistic and graphic. Trying to find simple lines, curves and play with foreground and background to create new shapes is really something that matters for me.

2nd Place Winner, Fine Art: ’71st St. Miami’ by George Byrne

Artist Statement: This image is from a recent series of mine called Exit Vision. It is a photo-collage, constructed from elements pulled from multiple locations. Shot on medium format film in Miami. For the ‘Exit Vision’ series, I would look for ready-made vignettes of color and form in the built world around me, and then try and repurpose or reinvent them. By embracing the process of photo-assemblage or collage, these photographs have become creations as much as they are observations.

Honorable Mention, Open Theme: ‘The Square’ by John Andreas Godwin

Artist Statement: Coming back to this geometric shape as the landscape surrounding it changes. [Taken in] Akersberga, Sweden.

3rd Place Winner, Aerial: ‘Salt Shapes’ by Kevin Krautgartner

Artist Statement: Salt evaporation ponds, also called salterns, are shallow artificial ponds designed to extract salts from sea water. To make its sea salt, many companies in Australia are using a method called ‘solar evaporation.’ Solar salt is produced by the action of sun and wind on seawater in large ponds. The seawater evaporates in successive ponds until the seawater is fully concentrated and the salt then crystallizes on the floor of the pond.

Due to variable algal concentrations, vivid colors, from bright blue to deep red, are created in the evaporation ponds. The color indicates the salinity of the ponds. This photo was taken from a small plane with the doors removed.

Honorable Mention, Landscape: ‘Whipped Cream Iceburg’ by Geffrard Bourke

Artist Statement: An iceberg resembling whipped cream in the ocean off the coast of Greenland.

1st Place Winner, Photomanipulation Photographer of the Year: ‘Yellow Stairs’ by George Byrne

Artist Statement: This image is from an ongoing series of mine called Exit Vision. It is a photo-collage, constructed from elements from multiple locations. Shot on medium format film. For this series, I would look for ready-made vignettes of color and form in the built world around me, and then try and repurpose or reinvent them. By embracing the process of photo-assemblage or collage, these photographs have become creations as much as they are observations.

2nd Place Winner, Architecture: ‘Oqaatsut Home’ by John Kosmopoulos

Artist Statement: Oqaatsut is a small Greenlandic town north of Ilulissat in Eastern Disko Bay. As the sun drenched and warmed the colorful homes and rocky landscape, it revealed clues of what life must be like there: a close but isolated community where the spirits of icebergs come and go in the distance.

I wanted to convey the feeling of the town by using minimalist compositions and creative framing to provide portraits of life in Greenland. Most of the citizens were indoors, but one citizen overlooked our whereabouts while children played a game and chanted a song that echoed through the town.

Honorable Mention, Long Exposure: ‘Ariake’ by Ulana Switucha

Artist Statement: From a series on Japanese Torii gates.

1st Place Winner, Portrait Photographer Of The Year: ‘Selfhood’ by Vicky Martin

Artist Statement: The series ‘Selfhood’ is in part inspired by the proverb ‘the eyes are the window to the soul’ and a desire to challenge the need to see the eyes within a portrait. The intention in each portrait is to create a character and a narrative and encourage an empathy without the visual stimulation of the eyes.

The conscious composition of each image gives the character a foundation in reality whilst combining fantastical creative elements to challenge the viewer’s preconceptions surrounding the connotations of each individual outfit and distinctive concealment of the eyes.

The viewer is inspired to make their own inferences about the subject’s persona and circumstance by drawing on personal connections and interpretations to each image, whether these be from memory or culture. Therefore each portrait in the series can take on a number of different identities depending on links made by the viewer to their own experiences and opinions.

3rd Place Winner, Conceptual: ‘Alabula (Colorful)’ by Mehrdad Fathi

Artist Statement: Mircea Eliade (philosopher and historian) says about the creation of universe: Creating the universe is considered to be a prototype for any type of building. Every city and every new home that they establish, it is a brand new imitation of the creation of universe, in other words, means of repeating the creation of the universe.

1st Place Winner, Night Photographer of the Year: ‘Decay by Night’ by Rachel Warne

Artist Statement: Decay by Night is a continuation of Rachel Warne’s fascination with the beauty of decay. Rachel has embarked on several personal photographic projects such as ‘Faded Glory’ exhibited at the Garden Museum, London in 2015 and ‘The Beauty of Decay’ – a collaboration with floral installation artist Rebecca Louise Law, touring several countries during 2017.

The idea of ‘Decay by Night’ seems like a natural progression for Rachel whom is drawn to decay and rebirth within the botanical world. By shooting flora at night she will be able to capture the transitional process which naturally occurs throughout the night, but rarely seen. Giving quite a different interpretation to their form as seen in day light.

Rachel shoot the flora in the dead of winter, once darkness falls. The plant portraits were be lit by one small portable continuous light to emulate the moon. Rachel wanted to explore how flora appears in the shadows creating its own ethereal beauty. Ghostly an enigmatic with a hint of gothic.

Winter is the perfect time to photograph the flora before the dormant season ends.

Shot at the Millennium gardens Deigned By Piet Oudolf at Pensthorpe in Norfolk. Pensthorpe seemed to be the most poignant naturalist garden in England to work from. Especially with Piet’s piquancy with the beauty of decay too.

1st Place Winner, Street Photographer of the Year: ‘Coronavirus Confinement’ by Santiago Martinez de Septien

Artist Statement: Millions of children in Spain, stuck at home since the authorities implemented a nationwide lockdown in mid-March, have been unable to exercise outside, take a short walk around their block, go with their parents to the supermarket or leave their house except for medical reasons. Such measures, the strictest in Europe, have left countless children bored, exhausted and sometimes depressed.

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