Magnum Photography
Awards 2017

Presenting the Winners, Finalists & Jurors’ Picks

We are very pleased to announce the 41 outstanding photographers who have been selected as recipients of the 2nd annual Magnum Photography Awards! Our jury—consisting of Magnum photographers, world-renowned curators, and experts from organizations like National Geographic and Aperture—aimed to recognize a cross-section of the most accomplished image-makers working today. We feel honored to share such a wide range of inspiring, international discoveries; the chosen group represents some of the most talented practitioners in contemporary photography.

All 41 photographers’ work will be shown at a digital exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery in London later this year. In addition, the 12 winners will receive $27,000 in cash awards as well as vouchers to participate in a Magnum photographer’s workshop somewhere in the world.

These photographers—who come from 24 countries on 5 continents—present us with a remarkable array of subject matter, stylistic approaches and personal visions. Below, immerse yourself in a sweeping selection of work: hard-hitting photojournalism, in-depth documentary, intimate portraits, challenging conceptual projects, gritty street photography, celebrations of nature and humanity, and other compelling images from across our world. Each of these projects, whether a single picture or an extended series, harnesses the power of photography to inform and inspire, stimulating a sense of outrage or activism, wonder and hope.

We encourage you to dig deep and look carefully at each of these award winners—all of these projects (and their subjects) are worthy of our time and attention. Enjoy!

Series Winners

Street
Argus Paul Estabrook
South Korea
Losing Face
Portrait
Lissa Rivera
United States
Beautiful Boy
Documentary
Nick Hannes
Belgium
Bread and Circuses
Fine Art
Daniel Shipp
Australia
Botanical Inquiry
Photojournalism
Jason Florio
United Kingdom
Destination Europe
Open
Medina Dugger
Nigeria
Chroma: An Ode to J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere

I was very impressed by the series entries—there was so much great work to choose from, it was often quite challenging to pick. I thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to many new photographers and working with a stellar group of judges. A wonderful experience!

— Sarah Leen, Director of Photography, National Geographic Magazine and Partners

Single Image Winners

Street
Hakim Boulouiz
Switzerland
Documentary
Retam Kumar Shaw
India
Photojournalism
Szymon Barylski
Ireland
Portrait
Artur Zdral
Poland
Fine Art
Ellie Davies
United Kingdom
Open
Britta Jaschinski
United Kingdom

It can be overwhelming to navigate the sea of images we all live in. But through the process of judging the Magnum Photography Awards, I came to admire the beauty of this oceanic vastness while also discovering some rare, photographic gems.

— Alec Soth, Magnum Photographer, Magnum Photos

Jurors’ Picks

Each of the eight jury members selected one photographer to be awarded special distinction. Here are the jurors’ special selections with a brief quote from each juror explaining what they especially appreciate about their chosen photographer and their work.

Sonja Hamad
Germany
Selected by Lesley Martin
Creative Director Aperture Foundation
Lesley Martin
Creative Director Aperture Foundation
New York, NY, USA

In “Jin–Jiyan–Azadi: Women, Life, Freedom,” Sonja Hamad has traveled to Syria and Northern Iraq, producing a compelling document of the lives of Kurdish women freedom fighters. Combining portraits with details of the landscape within which the women live, train, and fight, Hamad’s project is an evocative portrayal of this one particular thread within the larger, complex story of the fight against the Islamic State. Beautifully seen, each portrait is rich with a sense of determination—an invitation to imagine and to engage with the individual stories of these women and their struggle.

Edgar Martins
United Kingdom
Selected by Yumi Goto
Independent Curator
Yumi Goto
Independent Curator
Tokyo, Japan

I was especially excited to see Edgar Martins’ project “Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes.” To produce this work, Martins worked in layers and was able to depict and deconstruct some of the mechanisms of death and suicide. I found his work particular amongst submissions; he found a very unique angle and through his imagery, discovered a new definition of death.

Christian Werner
Germany
Selected by Sarah Leen
Director of Photography National Geographic Magazine and Partners
Sarah Leen
Director of Photography National Geographic Magazine and Partners
Washington D.C., USA

While I have seen some amazing work from the conflict in Syria I was impressed by the subtlety and power of Christian Werner’s project. It was shot under obviously difficult circumstances, yet there were subtle moments—such as the boy holding the cat by the neck—that were laced with violence and as disturbing as the more overtly dramatic images of the destruction in Homs and Aleppo. It made we want to see more, which is always a good sign.

Shahria Sharmin
Bangladesh
Selected by Susan Meiselas
Magnum Photographer Magnum Photos
Susan Meiselas
Magnum Photographer Magnum Photos
New York, NY, USA

What is special about Shahria Sharmin’s work “Call Me Heena” is that she brings us closer to a highly stigmatized minority of Hijras. Through texts and portraits, she honors their distinctive qualities by portraying a quiet pride in their uniqueness. I had seen this work before and continue to be impressed by the intimacy it shares.

Antonio Gibotta
Italy
Selected by Jim Casper
Editor-in-Chief LensCulture
Jim Casper
Editor-in-Chief LensCulture
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Antonio Gibotta’s photographs catch your eye right away because they capture so much incredible detail, and they are so close to the action. Then, when you look more carefully, you get the joke, and that takes the delight of these pictures to an even higher level. The effect is wonderfully cinematic. These days we have lots of horror and terror in our world (and in the media), so it’s a pleasant relief to see that kind of imagery turned on its head for just a moment. Bravo!

Terje Abusdal
Norway
Selected by Alec Soth
Magnum Photographer Magnum Photos
Alec Soth
Magnum Photographer Magnum Photos
Saint Paul, MN, USA

I wasn’t familiar with Forest Finns before seeing Terje Abusdal’s project “Slash & Burn.” But his eerie and enigmatic images made me want to learn more about this culture; they also made me want to keep an eye on this emerging photographic talent.

MD Tanveer Rohan
Bangladesh
Selected by David Hurn
Magnum Photographer Magnum Photos
David Hurn
Magnum Photographer Magnum Photos
Tintern, UK

Lewis Hine, the American sociologist and photographer once said, “I wanted to show the thing that had to be corrected: I wanted to show the things that had to be appreciated.” My sense is that we see a little too much of the first and not so much of the second in photography today. I have chosen this picture simply because it is so full of joy and structured in a way that emphasises the enjoyment of all those concerned. It is a very obvious moment but it is enhanced by the postures of the two boys leaping in the top left hand corner of the image, further emphasised by the glee shown on the face of the figure in the bottom centre of the picture. All in all, everything seems to harmonise. This photograph uplifts me.

Mirko Saviane
Italy
Selected by Azu Nwagbogu
Founder and Director LagosPhoto Festival and the African Artists’ Foundation (AAF)
Azu Nwagbogu
Founder and Director LagosPhoto Festival and the African Artists’ Foundation (AAF)
Lagos, Nigeria

I selected Mirko Saviane as my Juror’s Pick because his work demonstrates the power of the single image (even though it is part of a series). Each image is deliberate but poetic and still very present in narrating a broader story. Street photography is almost a dying art form, but with Mirko’s work, we take notice and observe the way he finds balance with a multiplicity of colors on the palate. It also demonstrates to young photographers that you can find a story nearby without needing to travel half-way around the world.

I was surprised to find such a high level of innovation and creativity within the various categories of entries for the Magnum Photography Awards. It was personally a pleasant experience for me—and for curators working in contemporary visual culture, it is a treasure trove.

— Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director, LagosPhoto Festival and the African Artists’ Foundation (AAF)

International Jury

Alec Soth
Magnum Photographer, Magnum Photos
Saint Paul, MN, USA
Lesley Martin
Creative Director, Aperture Foundation
New York, NY, USA
Susan Meiselas
Magnum Photographer, Magnum Photos
New York, NY, USA
Sarah Leen
Director of Photography, National Geographic Magazine and Partners
Washington D.C., USA

Alec Soth’s work is rooted in the distinctly American tradition of “on-the-road photography” developed by Walker Evans, Robert Frank and Stephen Shore. From Huckleberry Finn to Easy Rider there seems to be a uniquely American desire to travel and chronicle the adventures that consequently ensue. Soth has received fellowships from the McKnight, Bush, and Jerome Foundations and was the recipient of the 2003 Santa Fe Prize for Photography. His photographs are represented in major public and private collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Walker Art Center. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the 2004 Whitney Biennial and a career survey at the Jeu de Paume in 2008.

Lesley A. Martin is creative director at the Aperture Foundation and publisher of The PhotoBook Review. She has edited numerous photobooks, including Takashi Homma’s Tokyo (2008), Rinko Kawauchi’s Illuminance (2011), LaToya Ruby Frazier’s The Notion of Family (2013), and recent books by Richard Misrach and Gregory Crewdson. In addition to her work on The Chinese Photobook, she was a contributing editor to Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and ’70s and The Latin American Photobook; in 2012, she cofounded the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards.

She has curated exhibitions that have traveled both nationally and internationally, including The Ubiquitous Image (2008); Aperture Remix (2012), a commission-based exhibition celebrating Aperture’s sixtieth anniversary; and Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs (2016). Her writing on photography has been published in Aperture, FOAM, Ojo de Pez, and Lay Flat among other publications. She currently teaches a graduate course on the photobook at the Yale University School of Art. Martin lives and works in New York City.

Susan Meiselas was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1948. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MA in visual education from Harvard University.

Meiselas joined Magnum Photos in 1976 and has worked as a freelance photographer since. She is best known for her coverage of the insurrection in Nicaragua and her documentation of human rights issues in Latin America. Meiselas has had one-woman exhibitions in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, and her work is included in collections around the world. She has received the Robert Capa Gold Medal for her work in Nicaragua (1979); the Leica Award for Excellence (1982); the Engelhard Award from the Institute of Contemporary Art (1985); the Hasselblad Foundation Photography prize (1994); the Cornell Capa Infinity Award (2005) and most recently was awarded the Harvard Arts Medal (2011). In 1992, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.

Sarah Leen is the Director of Photography for the National Geographic Magazine and Partners. For nearly 20 years she worked as a freelance photographer for National Geographic until she joined the staff as a senior photo editor in 2004. Leen supervises all visual content creation and photography staff for the magazine as well as NG Traveler, the natgeo.com website and the @natgeo photography social media sites.

Leen graduated with a BA in Fine Arts in 1974 from the University of Missouri, Columbia and continued with graduate studies at the Missouri School of Journalism. Leen was the College Photographer of the Year in 1979 and worked as a staff photographer for both the Topeka Capital Journal and the Philadelphia Inquirer until 1988. She published 16 stories and had five covers in National Geographic as a photographer. In 2010, Leen curated the National Geographic’s exhibit Water is Life at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles and in 2013 curated The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years at the Annenberg Space.

Leen has won numerous awards for her photography in both the Pictures of the Year (POYi) and the World Press Photo competitions. In 2007 and 2008 she won first place Magazine Picture Editing Portfolio from POYi and second place in 2011. Her team of photo editors has twice won the Angus McDougall Overall Excellence in Editing Award from POYi.

Azu Nwagbogu
Founder and Director, LagosPhoto Festival and the African Artists’ Foundation (AAF)
Lagos, Nigeria
David Hurn
Magnum Photographer, Magnum Photos
Tintern, UK
Yumi Goto
Independent Curator
Tokyo, Japan
Jim Casper
Editor-in-Chief, LensCulture
Amsterdam,
The Netherlands

Azu Nwagbogu is the founder and director of the African Artists’ Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 2007 and based in Lagos, Nigeria that is dedicated to the promotion and development of contemporary African arts and artists. Nwagbogu also founded the National Art Competition in 2008, an annual arts competition in Nigeria; the Lagos Photo Festival, an annual international photography festival; and Art Base Africa, a new virtual space to discover and learn about contemporary African Art and diaspora. He owns a diverse collection of modern contemporary art and has curated private collections in Africa for the past 20 years.

He was a juror for the Dutch Doc and the POPCAP Photography Awards, World Press Photo, Prisma Photography Award (2015) and Greenpeace Photo Award (2016). He was nominated as curator for the Prix Découverte Rencontres d’Arles (2014) as well as Photoquai (2015) and Photolux Festival (2015). He curated “Dey Your Lane! Lagos Variations” for the Bozar Museum in Brussels and “Tear My Bra” for Les Rencontres d’Arles 2016. Azu Nwagbogu lives and works in Lagos.

Born in the UK but of Welsh descent, David Hurn is a self-taught photographer who began his career in 1955 as an assistant at the Reflex Agency. Whilst a freelance photographer, he gained his early reputation with his reportage of the 1956 Hungarian revolution.

Hurn eventually turned away from coverage of current affairs, preferring to take a more personal approach to photography. He became an associate member of Magnum in 1965 and a full member in 1967. In 1973, he set up the highly respected School of Documentary Photography in Newport, Wales. He resigned in 1989. He has since been in constant demand to lecture and conduct workshops around the world. In 1997 he collaborated on a very successful textbook with Professor Bill Jay, On Being a Photographer—since then the book has never been out of print.

David Hurn has a longstanding international reputation as one of Britain’s most influential reportage photographers. His prints are acquired by many leading collectors and museums. He continues to live in, and work from, his home in Tintern, Wales.

Yumi Goto is an independent photography curator, editor, researcher, consultant, educator and publisher who focuses on the development of cultural exchanges that transcend borders.

She collaborates with local and international artists who live and work in areas affected by conflict, natural disasters, current social problems, human rights abuses and women’s issues. She often works with human rights advocates, international and local NGOs, and humanitarian organizations as well as being involved as a nominator and juror for international photographic organizations, festivals and events.

She is now based in Tokyo and is also a co-founder and curator for the Reminders Photography Stronghold, which is a curated membership gallery space in Tokyo enabling a wide range of photographic activities.

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. He serves on the board of directors at SPE, the Society for Photographic Education, the world’s largest association of photography educators.

Thank You

LensCulture and Magnum Photos would like to thank every photographer who participated in this competition — your entries, which came from all over the world, have been a true inspiration to view and consider! We would also like to extend our sincere gratitude to the members of the jury who worked long and hard reviewing the entries to the competition and ultimately selecting the brilliant work displayed here.