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Announcing the Top 50 Talents

LensCulture is pleased to announce 50 of the most promising emerging photographers in the world today!

These 50 accomplished photographers were selected as the best emerging talents from a very large pool of submissions received from photographers in 112 countries. A jury of international photography experts chose to recognize these photographers for their brilliant range of creativity, photographic expertise, fluency in the visual medium, and abilities to tell captivating stories in compelling ways.

8 Grant Winners

Each of the eight jury members selected one photographer from the Top 50 Emerging Talents to be awarded special distinction with a cash grant. Here are the jurors’ special selections, with a brief quote from each juror explaining what they especially appreciate about these photographers and their work.

2015 Emerging Talent Jury

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    Jennifer Blessing
    Senior Curator of Photography
    New York, NY, USA
    more about Jennifer
    Jennifer Blessing joined the curatorial staff of the Guggenheim in 2002, after previously working at the museum from 1989–97. She recently co-organized "Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/ Performance," which opened in March 2010 before traveling to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. In addition to organizing photo-based exhibitions, she is responsible for developing the museum's photography collection.

    During her tenure with the museum she has curated numerous touring exhibitions as well as contributed to many other museum's exhibitions and catalogues. Her most recent exhibition, "Photo-Poetics: An Anthology," will open in New York this fall. It will be preceded by a presentation at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin this summer.
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    Jon Jones
    Director of Photography
    The Sunday Times Magazine
    London, UK
    more about Jon
    As a photojournalist for the Sygma Photo Agency in Paris, Jones documented conflict all over the world, most notably in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, his work being widely published by Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, the Sunday Times Magazine, Paris Match, and Stern. He has collaborated on numerous books and media projects and his work has been widely exhibited. He has worked as a cameraman and editor, producing magazine features, documentaries and news programmes for the BBC. He was the curator of the Sunday Times 50th Anniversary exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, and is also the editor of a major retrospective book of the Bosnian War, which was published in 2013. He is a regular photographic judge and lecturer and has taught the Joop Swart Master-class for the World Press, and the Visa D’Or workshops. His numerous international photographic awards include two World Press Photo Awards.
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    María García Yelo
    Madrid, Spain
    more about María
    María García Yelo is the Director of PHotoEspaña, an international festival of photography and visual arts. With a degree in Art History from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, García Yelo was the Director of the Post-War and Contemporary Art department at the British auction house Christie’s, in Spain, from 2008 until 2013. She was previously the General Deputy Director of Conservation and Research at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (2005-2008) and Assistant Director of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Esteban Vicente in Segovia (2002-2004). She has also served as an independent curator and as an art critic for ABC Cultural. She is the author of various publications.
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    Ada Takahashi
    Robert Koch Gallery
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    more about Ada
    Ada Takahashi is a principal with the Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco. She joined the gallery in 1986. Takahashi focuses on the gallery's curatorial efforts, liaising with artists, and on the gallery's presence at international art fairs. The Koch Gallery program emphasizes contemporary photography as well as experimental work from the 1920s and 1930s. In recent years, the gallery's exhibitions have included work by Michael Wolf, Robert Heinecken, Jeff Brouws, Kenneth Josephson, Brian Ulrich, TR Ericsson, and Shai Kremer. The contemporary program is shaped by a desire to expand the dialogue around significant aesthetic and social issues of our time, an aim that is shared by many of the gallery’s artists.
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    Sacha Lecca
    Deputy Photo Editor
    Rolling Stone Magazine
    New York, NY, USA
    more about Sacha
    Sacha Lecca is a photographer and a Deputy Photo Editor at Rolling Stone Magazine. He has had a 20-year-long career in print journalism with stints at Newsweek, CMP Media, and his current photo editing position at Rolling Stone.
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    Todd Hido
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    more about Todd
    Todd Hido is a San Francisco Bay Area-based artist whose work has been featured in Artforum, The New York Times Magazine, Eyemazing, Wired, Elephant, FOAM, and Vanity Fair. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the Getty, the Whitney Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as in many other public and private collections. He has over a dozen published books; his most recent monograph titled “Excerpts from Silver Meadows” was released in 2013, along with an innovative b-sides box set designed to function as a companion piece to his award-winning monograph in 2014.
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    Mary Virginia Swanson
    Advisor to Artists and Arts Organizations
    Tucson, AZ, USA
    more about Mary Virginia

    Mary Virginia Swanson is an author, educator and advisor who helps photographers find the strengths in their work, identify appreciative audiences and present their work in an informed, professional manner. A trusted mentor and consultant, she presents seminars and lectures on marketing opportunities that have proven to aid photographers in moving their careers to the next level. Swanson will be presenting lectures and serving as a Portfolio Reviewer at PHotoEspaña in June and PhotoNOLA in December 2015.

    Mary Virginia co-authored with Darius Himes the acclaimed “Publish Your Photography Book: Revised & Updated” (2014). Swanson is the recipient of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement FOCUS Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography and the 2014 Susan Carr Award for Education from the American Society for Media Photographers (ASMP). This year, The Society for Photographic Education has named her “Honored Educator.” Her latest publication, “Finding Your Audience: An Introduction to Marketing Your Photographs” will be released this summer.

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    Jim Casper
    Editor-in-Chief & Publisher
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    more about Jim
    Jim Casper is the editor-in-chief and publisher 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. He serves on the board of directors at SPE, the Society for Photographic Education, the world’s largest association of photography educators.

Emerging Talents 2015 Exhibition

San Francisco | August 28 – Sept 4, 2015

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Join us for our Opening Party!
San Francisco Camerawork Gallery
Friday, August 28, 6 – 8 pm | Learn More »
1011 Market St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
Gallery hours: 12:00 – 6:00 pm, Tuesday – Saturday

Congratulations to all of these fine winners, and special thanks to every photographer who participated in the competition. Indeed, there were many, many excellent submissions this year, and the editors of LensCulture plan to highlight many of the other entries as well as this year’s top winners.

Beyond the 50 award winners, we are also very pleased to announce that every participant was eligible to receive a critique of their submission, written by photo industry experts. This valuable critical feedback is intended to help photographers of all levels to advance their careers and become better photographers, a goal we hope to accomplish in everything we do at LensCulture. We have already received some very enthusiastic feedback from photographers about their submission reviews, which is very encouraging for everyone involved.