winners & finalists
photography awards 2021
Street Photography, Before and After
On the heels of a global pandemic, with cities around the world reopening little by little, we wondered what the 2021 Street Photography Awards would show us. Would images be celebratory, with photographers reveling in the closeness of passersby after more than a year of solitude? Or would they remain eerily quiet and uncertain?
What we discovered was a wide world caught somewhere between before and after Covid-19. This year’s competition brought us hundreds of entries, revealing the hustle and bustle of daily life proceeding as it once did, but in new, often socially-distanced spaces. And we were reminded that photographers express themselves with metaphors and emotions, as much as they do with the street scenes unfolding around them.
From Seoul to Sydney, Rio to Manhattan, Istanbul to Yangoon City — talented photographers showed us their daily habitats captured brilliantly with light, shadow, color, drama, serendipity, and often a sense of humor.
We invite you to discover the work of all 38 winning photographers below. The six winners, seven jurors’ picks, and 25 finalists hail from 19 countries across four continents, offering us unique perspectives on how the world looks during this unprecedented moment of our lifetime.
Series Winners
1st Place Series
South Korea
Argus Paul Estabrook
Reflections Inside the Seoul Metro
2nd Place Series
Australia
Sam Ferris
In Visible Light
3rd Place Series
France
Anna Biret
Out of the Shadow
“I enjoyed discovering a strong breadth of new street photography — even in the midst of the pandemic.”
Hideko Kataoka — Newsweek Japan
Single Image Winners
1st Place Single
Spain
Bego Amaré
In the Shadow
2nd Place Single
Hong Kong
Jason Au
Social Distancing
3rd Place Single
Netherlands
Maude Bardet
Goat Auction in Nizwa

Jurors’
picks
Each of our jury members selected one photographer to be awarded special distinction. Here are the jurors’ special selections, with a brief quote from each expert explaining what they especially appreciate about these photographers and their work.
Sandra Cattaneo Adorno
United Kingdom
Selected by Gulnara Samoilova
Founder & Curator Women Street Photographers
Gulnara Samoilova
Founder & Curator Women Street Photographers
United States

I recently selected Sandra Cattaneo Adorno’s work to be included in my book, Women Street Photographers and was pleased to see her stunning series at the Lens Culture Street Photography contest. I love the poetic images that gently evoke the shimmering melodies of Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz. Entranced by the golden rays of sun dancing across the waves and the people swaying gently across the sand, Cattaneo Adorno delights in the lyrical pleasures of leisure in contemporary life while capturing the bittersweet yearning that Brazilians call saudade — melancholic feelings of nostalgia for a love long gone.

Michael Magers
United States
Selected by Pierre Terdjman
Co-founder & CEO Dysturb
Pierre Terdjman
Co-founder & CEO Dysturb
France

Michael Mager’s work moved me by his approach and his technique and the mystery of the images. The distance with the subjects made this work really interesting to me. I found in it something that I look for in photography, this little thing that has no explanation but moves you and challenges you.

Shane Gray
United Kingdom
Selected by Jim Casper
Editor-in-Chief LensCulture
Jim Casper
Editor-in-Chief LensCulture
The Netherlands

When I first saw these street photographs by Shane Gray, I was instantly seduced by the vibrant colors, the tightly cropped compositions, the strong sunlight and the shadows. And then, as I looked more carefully, I noticed that at least one person in each of the images was looking right into the camera — fleeting moments of connections between strangers — just as the shutter was pressed for each of these photos. That eye contact transported me right into those spaces, and reminded me of what momentary encounters can feel like on lively city streets.

Alana Colville
United States
Selected by Danielle Scruggs
Photo Editor Getty Images
Danielle Scruggs
Photo Editor Getty Images
United States

Alana Colville’s series “What Was Lost to 2020” as my juror’s pick might seem a curious choice to some, given that it combines photography and illustration. But that is exactly what made the project stand out to me. I appreciate that it both challenges the viewer to rethink what street photography is and can be, as well as tackles the sense of loss and destabilization that happened around the world as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Colville made a bold choice to combine two different fields of thought to show viewers what has been missing from the streets for the better part of a year and a half.

Sittichai Maikupandin
Thailand
Selected by Hideko Kataoka
Director of Photography Newsweek Japan
Hideko Kataoka
Director of Photography Newsweek Japan
Japan

“Ordinary Place” is a playful juxtaposition of graphic elements, often inspiring humorous curiosity. Sittichai Maikupandin shares his appreciation of ordinary events, reminding us of the pleasure of street photography and life. The same moment will never come back, let’s appreciate each moment with photography.

Li Chen
China
Selected by Giuseppe Oliverio
Founder and Director PHmuseum + PHmuseum Lab
Giuseppe Oliverio
Founder and Director PHmuseum + PHmuseum Lab
Italy

“Tactile” is a poetic project that captures delicate fragments of the tragicomedy that is life. Characterized by a certain magical realism, the project escapes clichés typical of street photographers thanks to a melancholic visual approach mixed with humor. The result is a project that goes beyond the documentation of rural China, approaching themes such as nostalgia, solitude, memory, and friendship. Li Chen is a photographer smart in following his instincts with a strong sensibility for his surroundings and the capability to translate feelings into images.

Murat Harmanlikli
Turkey
Selected by Scott Hall
Photo Editor Travel & Leisure
Scott Hall
Photo Editor Travel & Leisure
United States

A balloon vendor resting by a body of water, a man’s plaintive stare from an automobile, and a blurred figure descending one set of stone steps and about to ascend another are just a few of the evocative and dramatic photos by Murat Harmanlikli from his series, “In Search of It.” There’s a disconnected quality to the images that arouses sadness and unease, and while the subject matter may seem mundane, the yearning one senses from the work is stirring. It is perhaps the photographer’s thoughtful pursuit of the human condition that draws me in. A pursuit that is seemingly and achingly out of reach.

“This was one of the best competitions I’ve ever judged. There was so much talent and strong work on display it made it difficult to narrow down my top choices.”
Scott Hall — Travel & Leisure
Finalists
Umberto Verdoliva
Italy
Our Street 2021
Jury
Giuseppe Oliverio
Founder and Director
PHmuseum + PHmuseum Lab
Bologna, Italy

Giuseppe Oliverio is an Italian entrepreneur and curator. In 2012, he launched PHmuseum, a platform for contemporary photography widely known for its grants program. Past grant recipients include artists Laura El-Tantawy, Max Pinckers, Diana Markosian, Jacob Aue Sobol, Sanne De Wilde, and Alejandro Cartagena. PHmuseum is based in Bologna, Italy, where Oliverio founded the PHmuseum Lab, a multifunctional space for workshops, talks, and exhibitions, and PHmuseum Days, the platform’s first international photography festival.

Oliverio has served on the juries for the Lucie Photo Book Prize, Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward, UPI’s The Fence, and Happiness OnTheMove, and regularly works as a portfolio reviewer at festivals such as Unseen, Photo Vogue Festival, and Visa Pour L’Image. He has also written for TIME magazine and L’Uomo Vogue. Oliverio holds a degree in economics from Bocconi University (Milan) and a Master’s in Quantitative Finance from Cass Business School (London).

Hideko Kataoka
Director of Photography
Newsweek Japan
Tokyo, Japan

Hideko Kataoka has been Director of Photography at Newsweek Japan since 2001. She joined the magazine as a photographer in 1991, covering national news, social issues, and world business and cultural leaders, and currently oversees and directs photography for the print and digital editions of the magazine, as well as its special issues. In 2004, she created the “Picture Power” section in the magazine, a weekly photo essay on underreported topics from around the world. The book Ten Years of Picture Power, with selected photo stories from the section, was published in 2014. Kataoka is a lecturer at Tokyo Polytechnic University and serves as a member of the external review committee at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum. She has also served as a juror at international photography festivals and competitions, such as World Press Photo, FotoFest, and many others.

Gulnara Samoilova
Founder & Curator
Women Street Photographers
New York, United States

Gulnara Samoilova is a photographer, author, and founder of Women Street Photographers. With 40 years’ combined experience as a documentary and street photographer, artist, darkroom printer, photojournalist, and photo editor, Samoilova transformed the successful Instagram account @WomenStreetPhotographers into a global platform. She has launched a website, traveling exhibitions, artist residency, inspirational film series, and photography book, Women Street Photographers (Prestel, 2021). A former Associated Press photojournalist, Samoilova received national and international awards for her iconic photographs of September 11, including first prize in the World Press Photo competition. She holds a certificate in creative practices from the International Center of Photography in New York City and a diploma in photography from Moscow Polytech College. Samoilova lives and works in New York City.

Scott Hall
Photo Editor
Travel & Leisure
New York, United States

Scott Hall is the Photo Director at Travel + Leisure magazine. Previously, he was the Director of Photography at Departures and Newsweek, and a Photo Editor at T: The New York Times Style Magazine. His work has been recognized by The Society of Publications Designers, American Photography and PDN. Hall holds a BFA in Cinema Studies from New York University and an MA in Media Studies from The New School.

Pierre Terdjman
Co-founder & CEO
Dysturb
Paris, France

Pierre Terdjman has worked as a conflict photojournalist for over 15 years for publications such as the New York Times, Paris-Match, GQ and Haaretz.
Stunned by the speed of information cycles and the growing public mistrust of the media, Terdjman began to wheat-paste giant posters of his own documentary images in the streets of Paris in 2014 with his colleague Benjamin Girette, to reach and inform the public directly, bypassing traditional media outlets.

In 2019, nonprofit Catchlight (California) awarded him a fellowship in visual leadership. Terdjman was on the jury for the Bayeux-Calvados Prize for war correspondents in 2015, the Getty Instagram Photo Contest in 2018 and the Lucas Dolega Prize in 2016.

Danielle Scruggs
Photo Editor
Getty Images
Seattle, United States

Danielle A. Scruggs is a Picture Desk Editor at Getty Images and a freelance photographer and writer living in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Howard University with a degree in journalism and from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a Master’s in Digital Art. Her photography clients include the New York Times, AARP, Buzzfeed News, ESPN, Financial Times, and the New Republic. She has written about art, culture, and film for RogerEbert.com, Ebony, Essence, Teen Vogue, Artsy Magazine, and other publications. Scruggs is also the founder and editor of Black Women Directors, a digital library highlighting the work of Black women and non-binary filmmakers throughout the Diaspora.

Jim Casper
Editor-in-Chief
LensCulture
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Jim Casper is the editor-in-chief of LensCulture, one of the leading online destinations to discover contemporary photography from around the world. As an active member in the contemporary photography world, Casper organizes annual international photography events, travels around the world to meet with photographers and review their portfolios, curates art exhibitions, writes about photography and culture, lectures, conducts workshops, serves as an international juror and nominator for key awards, and is an advisor to arts and education organizations.

Thank You
To everyone who shared their work with us, thank you! And huge congratulations to all 38 winning photographers!
Art Photography Awards 2022 - Now Open for Entries! Deadline: Dec 15, 2021.
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