“Fantastic stories that are a good example of how the world has not yet been fully documented by photographers.” summarizes Rolf Nobel, photographer, experienced judge and former professor of photojournalism and documentary photography, the first Hahnemühle Student Photo Competition.
The first international Hahnemühle Student Photo Competition started on 01 March 2019. The motto seemed simple: ‘Show us your Series’. But the task was demanding and the expectations were high. A photo series with five motifs on a theme free of choice had to be created. Almost 700 creative up-and-coming photographers from over 50 countries took up this challenge.
All entries were judged in two rounds by our international jury of photographers, photojournalists, gallery owners and other experienced experts from the photographic industry. “I was impressed by the technical and aesthetic quality of the visual narratives presented, as well as the diversity and quantity of countries represented,” said juror Joao Kulcsar, curator, author and professor of photography from Brazil. Jury member Zelda Cheatle, a well-known curator was also surprised by the high level of online submissions.
The jury selected the winners from more than 3,560 submitted photographs. Assessed were factors such as creativity, photographic quality and paper selection.
The winning series
1st place – “simili modo” by Daniel Niedermeier & Jan A. Staiger
The German duo Daniel Niedermeier and Jan Staiger convinced with a strong concept and creativity. According to the jury, their photo series stood out because it was by far the most complete. ‘simili modo’ shows the simulation of realities in areas such as research, science and medicine, which is playing an increasingly important role. “The edit is very tight and exceptionally good. Many levels of information are shown. Also, technically an outstanding piece of work and exquisitely photographed and printed,” assessed the jury.
This brilliant achievement is rewarded with a prize money of 1,500 €. Additionally, the photo series will be exhibited at the Photokina 2020 at the Hahnemühle booth in Cologne and at the ‘Eisfabrik‘ gallery in Hanover for six weeks.
The two students are very happy to be chosen as the winners among so many talented photographers. “It was a great and exciting challenge in this competition to focus on printing one’s own work as perfectly as possible and to be provided with a large selection of Hahnemühle paper during this process. The prize money is a great motivation for both of us to continue this work and to expand the range of places and objects on display without having to make excessive financial investments as young students,” Jan Staiger and Daniel Niedermeier were delighted to report.
2nd place – „The two parallel“ by Karina Bikbulatova
The photo series ‘The two parallel’ by Karina Bikbulatova, from Russia, convinced the jury as well. It is about two sisters who were rejected by their father and do not know that they are related to each other. They lead two completely different lives, but meet once a year for a day to do something. “The story is intriguing and shows great sensitivity and gentleness. Each picture has a different construction. Yet, all five images are very well connected. The composition of the series is very good and creative,” said the jury. Furthermore, the fact that black and white photography has been chosen to tell the story is very interesting and adds to the artistic concept. The sculptural, even monumental images were beautifully photographed.
This creative concept is rewarded with a well-deserved second place and prize money of €1,000. Just like the 1st place, the series ‘The two parallel’ will be exhibited at Photokina 2020 in Cologne and at the ‘Eisfabrik’ in Hanover.
“I am grateful that my photography series was rated so high and I want to thank each person (organizers and jury) for the work done. I was particularly impressed by the jury’s comments: the elegance of the concise review I received demonstrates the thoroughness of the contest. This prize is a great step forward to share the message and the passion I wanted to communicate through my pictures. It is difficult to find the words to express my gratitude, maybe I could try with a picture”, Karina Bikbulatova beamed.
3rd place – “of suddenly growing up” by Tamara Eckhardt
Tamara Eckhardt from Germany took the third place with her series ‘of suddenly growing up’. It is about the lives of young mothers in the Berlin district of Marzahn-Hellersdorf.
The series shows the life of these young mothers in a very emphatic and at the same time intense way. Simple moments are captured in a strong manner creating a melancholic mood. The facial expressions and body language tell sensitively the story of the hard life of the young mothers in a socially disadvantaged district. The jury was impressed by the photographic realization: “The pictures are wonderfully illuminated and use a quite unusual color range, which translates and intensifies the empathy with the mothers. Simply well photographed”.
Tamara Eckhardt is rewarded with a prize money of 500€. Her series can also be seen at the Hahnemühle booth at Photokina 2020 and at the ‘Eisfabrik’.
She is very happy about her 3rd place for ‘of suddenly growing up’: “This photo competition made it possible for me to try out different papers and thus find the suitable one for the series. It’s nice that photo competitions like this one support young students.”
Hahnemühle was very impressed by the high number of international entries, the great variety of photo series and the creativity of the young talents. Since the level of the entries was so high, two more photo series are honoured. These two young photographers will be rewarded with an exhibition of their photo series at Hahnemühle’s booth at Photokina 2020.
Honourable Mention – “Landscapes Behind” by Angela Svoronou
The photo series ‘Landscapes Behind’ by Angela Svoronou was very popular with the jury. It is like a painting. “The images and the color scheme fit very good together. Feelings and empathy are reflected in a delicate way. When looking at the images, the imagination of the viewers awakes and a movie in the head starts about who lived there or what pictures had been on the walls. A very good work.”.
The young photographer from Greece found the student photo competition very interesting because she saw it as an opportunity to test and experiment with many different Hahnemühle papers. “Although I must say that I was hoping to win, I would like to thank the jury for their choice,” says Angela Svoronou.
Honourable Mention – “Lost Paradise” by Farnaz Damnabi
“The series ‘Lost Paradise’ is very sophisticated and aesthetic. Technically very well done. The beautiful images deal with the visibility / invisibility of women and the carpet works as a great metaphor. The viewer really likes to know more as there is something eye-catchting in the images”, the jury judged. Thus the photo series by Farnaz Damnabi from Iran rounds off the top 5 of the Hahnemühle student photo competition.
Farnaz thanked the jury: “Being selected as a finalist in Hahnemühle photo contest, is honourable. Getting honourable mentions is more exciting. I really appreciate this opportunity to show my artworks, and I want to thank your great jury for paying attention to ‘Lost Paradise’.”
We would like to thank all participants, finalists and jury members. We are eager to see how the potential of these creative young photographers will develop and emerge. We can also look forward to the start of the second international Hahnemühle Student Photo Competition – maybe even pretty soon.
Until then, one can draw one’s inspiration by taking a look at the series of all 50 finalists in an e-special of the FineArt Printer magazine.