Culture Photography

2020 Zeiss Photography Awards reveal the extraordinary

The Zeiss Photography Awards is one of the most prestigious gongs out there, created to recognise the world’s most distinctive image-makers.

Photographer KyeongJun Yang from South Korea has just been announced as the winner of the fifth annual Zeiss Photography Award, along with nine other shortlisted artists. Yang, currently an international senior journalism student at the University of Texas, scooped €12,000 worth of Zeiss lenses and €3,000 to cover a new photography project.

The Zeiss Photography Awards is one of the most prestigious gongs out there, and was created to recognise the world’s most distinctive image-makers, and those creating outstanding series that showcase their unique perspective on the world.

Each year the Awards provides photographers with a particular theme, and this year it was ‘Seeing Beyond: Discoveries’, which sought a series of five to ten images visualising revelations, scientific and technological breakthroughs or ideas and epiphanies that have led to social change.

© KyeongJun Yang, Korea (Republic of), Winner, ZEISS Photography Award
© KyeongJun Yang, Korea (Republic of), Winner, ZEISS Photography Award

Yang’s series Metamorphosis explored the immigrant experience through a series of black & white portraits and still-life images, each depicting or representative of Julie Chen, a young woman who emigrated to the USA from China at the age of 12.

The other shortlisted projects saw a brilliant and insightful collection of images, too. The Flying Cholitas by Luisa Dörr (Brazil) which examines a performing wrestling group of indigenous women dressed in traditional Bolivian dress.

© Luisa Dörr, Brazil, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award
© Luisa Dörr, Brazil, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award

In Wahala, Robin Hinsch (Germany) draws attention to the devastating effects of continued oil spillage and natural gas flaring along the Niger delta river in Africa.

© Robin Hinsch, Germany, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award
© Robin Hinsch, Germany, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award

Jorritt T. Hoen (Netherlands) created Parallel Universe, which was inspired by great historical expeditions and features images of exotic habitats recreated inside people’s living rooms.

© Jorrit T. Hoen, Netherlands, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award
© Jorrit T. Hoen, Netherlands, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award

Between Two Shores by Tadas Kazakevicius (Lithuania) includes landscapes and portraits of local residents in the Curonian Spit, a sand dune separating the Curonian lagoon and the Baltic Sea, which is steeped in local mythology.

© Tadas Kazakevicius, Lithuania, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award

Investigating heavy pollution, Tajo by Stefano Sbrulli (Italy) included images of the tainted environment and disenfranchised communities that live near the El Tojo crater, an abundant source of elements and metals in Peru.

© Stefano Sbrulli, Italy, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award

±100 by Magdalena Stengel (Germany) showcases ever increasing human lifespans in a series of humorous portraits depicting men and women between 90 and 100 years old.

© Magdalena Stengel, Germany, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award.
© Magdalena Stengel, Germany, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award.

Sakhawood by Alexey Vasilyev (Russian Federation) documents the popular film industry in the remote Yakutia region in Russia, which produces everything from romantic comedies to fairy tales, based on local legends.

© Alexey Vasilyev, Russian Federation, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award.
© Alexey Vasilyev, Russian Federation, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award.

Like a Father, Like a Mountain, sees Pan Wang (China Mainland) returning to the great Qinling mountain range to relive childhood scenes and memories with his late father.

© Pan Wang, China, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award
© Pan Wang, China, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award

Finally, Hidden Motherhood by Alena Zhandarova (Russian Federation) is a modern take on ‘hidden-mothers photography’, a common practice in the Victorian era in which young children posing for the camera were held still by mothers covered from view.

© Alena Zhandarova, Russian Federation, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award

Well done to all the winners. Find out more about the winners and the competition at the Zeiss Photography Award website here.