Magnum Photos and LensCulture are delighted to announce 44 remarkable photographers from around the world who have been chosen by our international jury for the first annual Magnum Photography Awards. Each of the selected works is presented in its entirety in this online exhibition — it’s a lot to see and absorb, but we believe each of these photographers has something special to offer.
Our call for entries generated an overwhelming, record-breaking response — attracting excellent submissions from photographers in 127 countries. The judges had a difficult job to do, and after many hours of review and long, impassioned discussions, these are the works that rose to the top and stayed there. So, these 44 photographers have earned their spots as some of the best of the best in 2016.
We encourage you to take your time to dig in and appreciate each of their important stories and photos. And be sure to come back a second or third time to review your favorites again. Enjoy!
We were delighted by the diversity and quality of submissions to the Magnum Photography Awards 2016. It was an incredibly hard competition to judge because of this—but also a pleasure. We came across brilliant storytelling from all corners of the world, powerful documentation of important issues, and memorable single images.
Single Image Winners
Tomoko Hida is seen here with his family in the ruins of their house destroyed by the tsunami. What an extraordinary image: to have found the people and to set up this beautifully lit night scene, to illustrate such a moving story about this devastating event. Balancing these posed portraits, Chaskielberg has also woven in images of photos that were destroyed by the tsunami. Overall, the series is both haunting and moving.
The work is a powerful depiction of an important human rights issue: the overcrowding of Brazilian prisons. The photographer, Tommaso Protti, shows originality in voice and style, and has gained remarkable access to his subject. Capturing strikingly tight compositions that verge on the violent and surreal, alongside moments of emotion and isolation, the photographer creates a claustrophobic, chaotic and memorable story.
If we were to look really carefully at the everyday world around us, we might see what Paul D’Haese sees: sculpture. Or we might not—which is what makes his pictures so striking. He unfamiliarizes familiar landscapes. His is the world I want to walk through.
While there are many, many great pictures, few photographers really “get” authorship. That is to say building an overall body of work and its potential visual literacy. Everybody has technique down and a “look”—yet separating the super graphic from the substantial remains a curator’s work...That is why Marta Berens excels. She is an author first. Her topic of the Situi is made important by the WAY in which she tells the story. The method of storytelling is always as important as the story itself. Whomever tells a picture story with flare and style and visual literacy is the one we “read.” She also has no fear: she is willing to go to the edge. Content-oriented enough to be viewed as substantial, yet without over-explaining or being crushingly didactic. Berens achieves a very nice balance.
Laurence Rasti documents a marginalized community forced into exile because of their sexuality and counters that ugly persecution with great sensitivity and beauty. This project, at once, looks at the humanity of intimacy and at the same time, the fear and alienation of living in secrecy under the threat of death.
The work by Mario Cruz hits you like a brick in the face. He uncovers the unimaginable nightmare of slavery, something that should simply not exist in our time. His approach and composition are both extremely human and beautifully composed. Mr. Cruz’s project is both important and outstanding.
Dimitri Mellos makes remarkable photographs that capture moments of transcendence, delight, confusion, humor, solitude, despair — sometimes all in the same frame. These densely packed images are teeming with mundane ordinary moments, unlikely juxtapositions, the interplay of shadows, silhouettes, and shafts of slanting urban light. His artful eye seems hyper-naturally tuned-in to saturated colors and morphing shapes; one can feel both his sense of whimsy and compassion as he takes us along his city streets.
I felt the overall quality of the entrants was quite astounding. I was very impressed with this terrific cross-section of where photography is today. Lots of talent out there.
Both Magnum Photos and LensCulture are committed to discovering and recognizing new, talented photographers from all over the world. We share a special commitment to students and education and professional growth. Therefore we have selected these five young student photographers who show great promise and deserve special attention at this early stage of their careers.