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Announcing the 2015 Winners & Finalists!

LensCulture is proud to present these 35 award-winning photographic narratives that touch on many aspects of contemporary life in cultures from all around our world. To be frank, many of these stories are not easy or pleasing to view, but they represent important local and global events as well as ongoing social challenges that, according to our international jury, deserve our careful attention.

In assessing the entries, the jury was looking for storytellers who express fluency in the visual language of photography — those who are able to convey complex situations with memorable single images, or series of compelling photos and captions that effectively communicate nuanced understanding. In fact, a wide range of storytelling techniques and genres can be found in these winners and finalists — from hard-hitting photojournalism and long-form documentary photography, to personal stories, fictional narratives, and some quirky, fun stories that defy categorization. We hope you will explore this work and discover moments of illumination, surprise, emotion and most of all, inspiration.

Visual Storytelling 2015 International Jury

  • Lars boering
    Lars Boering
    Managing Director
    World Press Photo
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    more about Lars

    Lars Boering is the Managing Director of World Press Photo, the world's leading international contest in visual journalism. He has been actively involved with photography for many years. He has (co)produced exhibitions with photographers, Festivals, museums and art foundations.

    In 2008, he founded Lux Photo gallery: showcasing photography that demonstrated creative integrity and intent, originality, narrative and aesthetic quality and a high level of craftsmanship. At the end of 2014, he stopped working for the gallery.

    He also worked as the director of the Federation of Dutch Professional photographers, improving the working position of photographers helping them to safeguard their copyright. In 2014 he merged all member associations into one strong professional organization called Dutch Photographers (DuPho).

    In 2010, he co-founded the successful master class 'Advanced Storytelling' at www.noorderlicht.com, where he still teaches.

  • Daphne angles a
    Daphné Anglès
    Picture Editor
    The New York Times, Paris Bureau
    Paris, France
    more about Daphné

    Daphné Anglès is a Franco-American picture editor for The New York Times in Paris. She was secretary to the World Press Photo’s annual contest jury from 2009 to 2013 and a master at the Joop SwartWPP Masterclass in 2000. She is a voting member of various photography juries (Prix Carmignac, PX3, Yves Rocher Foundation Photo Award, Belarus Press Photo Award, Canon Award for Female Photojournalists, Humanitarian Visa d’Or ICRC, AFD Photo Contest, International Sportsfolio Award.)

    She is a portfolio reviewer (Les Rencontres d’Arles, Hamburg Triennale, Visa pour l’Image, LensCulture FotoFest, Braga). She has curated photography exhibitions at Central-Dupon (Paris) and taught an Editing and Visual Storytelling masterclass (PhotoLux Festival, Lucca). In 2015 she will be on the first jury of the Young Curators PhotoLux contest. She is a nominator for Prix Pictet.

  • Matt shonfeld
    Matt Shonfeld
    Executive Director
    Institute for Artist Management
    Bath, UK
    more about Matt

    In 2009, Matt Shonfeld and Frank Evers founded INSTITUTE, an artist management company serving media, editorial, advertising, entertainment, fine art, book publishing, online/mobile media and corporate clients.

    Matt has been involved in photography for 15 years, initially as an agency photographer and latterly as an agent/artist manager.

    He is an extremely keen cyclist and even holds a level 2 coaching award. He was awarded the Freedom Of The City of London in 1998 and lives in Bath with his wife and two children.

  • Newsha tavakolian
    Newsha Tavakolian
    Tehran, Iran
    more about Newsha

    Newsha Tavakolian was born in 1981 in Tehran, Iran. A self-taught photographer, Newsha began working professionally in the Iranian press at the age of 16, at a women's daily newspaper “Zan.” At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student uprising, which was a turning point for the country's blossoming reformist movement and for Newsha personally as a photojournalist; a year later she joined the New York-based agency Polaris Images.

    In 2002, she began working internationally, covering the war in Iraq. She has since covered regional conflicts, natural disasters and made social documentary stories. Her work has been published in international magazines and newspapers such as Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad, The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic.

    In 2009, Newsha covered the Presidential elections in Iran, which ended up in chaos and forced her to temporarily halt her photojournalistic work. Instead, she started working on projects that experts describe as a mix of social documentary photography and art.

    Her work has been displayed in dozens of international art exhibitions and has been on show in museums such as the Victoria & Albert, LACMA in and the British Museum, and the Boston Museum of Fine Art.

    In 2014, Newsha was chosen as the fifth laureate of the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award. In 2015, Newsha joined Magnum Agency where she will be a nominee for two years. Just recently, she was chosen as the principle laureate of the Prince Claus Award.

  • Michae mack
    Michael Mack
    Mack Books
    London, UK
    more about Michael
    Michael Mack is a publisher, editor and designer of illustrated art and photography books.
  • Casper.sq
    Jim Casper
    Editor-in-Chief & Publisher
    Amsterdam, The 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.

Thank You

Our congratulations go out to every one of the winners and finalists. They represent 24 countries, and were selected from a very large pool of submissions from photographers in over 90 countries. We are also very grateful to the members of our prestigious jury who worked long hours to review the stories, and then spent several more hours to take part in an honest, intense group discussion to reach the final decisions.

And finally, we offer our thanks and gratitude to every photographer who participated in this call for entries — you have opened our eyes and shown us realities (as well as fantastic imaginary realms) that we may never have seen without your curiosity, hard work and insightful vision.