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10 powerful images that won the Visual Storytelling contest by the freelance photographer

Discover the winners and finalists of the Freelance Photographer’s Visual Storytelling Competition that took place in January 2021.

From classic social documentaries to fictional storytelling, the art of visual storytelling encompasses a wide range of possibilities at its core, the desire to tell a story, and we were looking for visual artists who aim to engage and share their stories with awareness and conviction.

American photographer Nicole Sobicki, represented by the famous photo agency VII, was the judge in the competition.

Nicole Sobeki is a photographer and filmmaker based in Nairobi, Kenya. She began her career in Turkey, Lebanon and Syria, focusing on regional issues of identity, conflict and human rights. Nicole aimed to create photographic images that required consideration of the actors’ lives—their joys, challenges, and ultimately their humanity. In the midst of our current fractured existence, she believes a well-told story can cut through the noise, deepen empathy, and inspire a more aware world.

Nicole’s photography has won countless awards and has been exhibited around the world, including at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City and the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Paris. A passionate educator, workshop leader, and speaker, she is also a contributor to Everyday Africa, and her work is regularly published in National Geographic.

Congratulations to the winners and finalists!

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1- Jack Lawson

10 powerful images that won the Visual Storytelling contest by the freelance photographer
Special Eagles – Lagos, Nigeria

4 members of the Special Eagles, Nigeria’s amputee soccer team, walk towards the sea on the beach outside Lagos.

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2- Lorraine Turci – 2nd Prize

10 powerful images that won the Visual Storytelling contest by the freelance photographer
“Polaris Artefact” – the Antarctic Peninsula
Prize: $600

Huts, research stations, shelters, monuments or sea features: human constructions on the Antarctic Peninsula are a benchmark for a world still considered pure by the imagination. We may feel the landmarks here as ruins, next to the ruins, on the verge of being sculptures. Human presence seems inappropriate in these remote areas. The subtle, colorful geometric shapes are lost in the white expanses that we imagine stretching endlessly. Unlike the Aboriginal facilities, the invasion facilities are scientific and industrial here. Almost an astronaut: Humans are on another planet. From the “Polaris Artifacts” series.

Feedback from Nicole Sobicki:

“The Solitary Shed sits vibrant against the muted tones of this land and the penguins. The Arctic is often portrayed as desolate places far removed from humankind’s concerns (or any real sense of responsibility). Here, the photographer has elegantly challenged that view. To really make ourselves In tune with the natural world, we must return to seeing humanity as part of it.”

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3- Jonathan Moller

10 powerful images that won the Visual Storytelling contest by the freelance photographer
“The Wedding of Juan and Maria”, Guatemala, 1993

Part of an eight-year project in Guatemala that resulted in my first book, Our Culture Is Our Resistance: Repression, Asylum, and Healing in Guatemala, and several exhibitions and public talks aimed at telling the story of Guatemala’s indigenous Maya people who were uprooted. They were killed during that country’s long and brutal civil war.

4- Simon Móricz-Sabján – 3rd Prize

10 powerful images that won the Visual Storytelling contest by the freelance photographer
“Medical workers taking care of a Covid-19 patient”—Budapest, Hungary
Prize: $400

Medical workers in personal protective equipment take care of a patient infected with the Covid-19 virus at Ozuki Hospital, Budapest, Hungary. Hungary has an exceptionally high death rate compared to even the most infected countries. Since the outbreak of coronavirus in Hungary, the death rate showed an upward trend and then began to decrease at the beginning of July. As of December 18, 2020, the death rate from the virus is 2.61 percent in the country.

Feedback from freelance photo editors:

Simon Móricz-Sabján’s meticulously arrested and delicately framed image brilliantly demonstrates the medium’s communicative capabilities. Stunningly candid, yet imbued with a surreal quality, it perfectly captures the essence of a scene, yet simultaneously resonates far beyond the sum of its parts. A sad and all too familiar symbol of the ongoing global health crisis.”

5- Samantha Schwann

10 powerful images that won the Visual Storytelling contest by the freelance photographer
“Future”—Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Mako shark populations dropped to endangered status in 2019, in part because of an error in calculating the age of sexual maturity on which catch thresholds were based. New science suggests that this age ranges between 19 and 21, instead of 4-6 years as previously thought. Even with full protection, the population is expected to continue to decline until 2035 as the current population reaches maturity. This female, presumably pregnant, was filmed in Cabo San Lucas, one of the only known reproductive areas for mako sharks.

6- Chloe Meynier

10 powerful images that won the Visual Storytelling contest by the freelance photographer
“Quiet Breakfast”—from the series “Made in The Shade”

Through a series of self-portraits in landscape, Made in the Shadows depicts characters in mid-century modern settings, reflecting an era that was looking forward to change. Despite this societal urgency to create a new modern lifestyle, women quickly lost their independence gained during the war period and returned to domesticated environments to fulfill decades of traditional gender roles. The carefully staged scenes attempt to challenge stereotypes of women. The series offers a powerful lens through which the viewer views these women subjectively and reconfigures their essence. The absence of context gives these characters the potential to be architects, scientists, musicians, engineers, doctors, etc.; Roles are often identified as being played by men.

7- Gianluca Attoli

10 powerful images that won the Visual Storytelling contest by the freelance photographer
“The dream is always the same”

Fog, mist, snow, powerfully photographic skyscrapers: all of these aspects, individually or in combination, make the key subject(s) “recede” to the moment, making mood and atmosphere the main and most immediate features of each shot. There is a strange and powerful feeling of relief, bliss, and uneasiness when you stand in the midst of a misty nowhere, or before an eerily silent stormy sky. The abstraction and de-contextualization of places and elements makes them appear more faceless, faceless, and generic than they do in Clear Vision, to the point of a vague and surreal lack of visual references. You seem to feel physically suspended and alienated; Everything seems unfamiliar and dreamlike. And just like in Daydreaming (hence the title), the conscience and the unconscious meet and mingle.

8- Soo Burnell

10 powerful images that won the Visual Storytelling contest by the freelance photographer
“Swim Team at Portobello”—London, England

“I wanted to photograph swimming pools in Edinburgh to show the beauty of the architecture while minimizing all the modern elements. I love the geometry of the tiles, the lines on the bottom of the pool, and the typography including the ‘deep finish’ signs. Since my first poolside exhibition last year, I have traveled to London, Paris and Manchester And Glasgow to add to my collection. The idea of having a slightly exotic feel to Wes Anderson, especially with its pastel color palette, and the Swimmers adding a human element to every scene along with a dreamlike quality really inspired me.”

9- Berber Theunissen – 1st Prize

10 powerful images that won the Visual Storytelling contest by the freelance photographer

growing body. Excitement. I noticed the fading away of the old me, the beginning of a new life. Fear of losing him again, mental scars after a miscarriage. First strong kicks, slowly regain confidence in my body. growing love. Healing birth. Meeting the soul that has truly been with us all those years, finally the Earth side. Double Sword: Fatigue, heartbreaking fears, and overwhelming responsibilities alternate with soft inner peace, overpowering happiness.

Feedback from Nicole Sobicki:

The draped body reminds us of the deep transition into motherhood, but also of that thin veil between life and death, the woman I once was and the woman I have become. As an emotional scene, it reveals the complexity of an experience often caricatured: anticipation, hope and horror. The pregnant female countless times, yet this re-imagining feels so personal, honest, and gritty.”

10- Laura Pannack

10 powerful images that won the Visual Storytelling contest by the freelance photographer
“Baruch”—Israel

At the age of 16, Baruch chose to leave his orthodox Jewish community and study at university. The dramatic and difficult decision forced him to question his identity and his future. Einstein said, “The important thing is to never stop wondering. Curiosity has a reason of its own.” The project explores how we choose our paths in life and questions how much control we have in changing who we become.

Smith

Tricare west is a global news publication that tells the stories you want to know.

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