LensCulture Journeys 2020
Award Winners: These 37 Artists Take You on New Photographic Journeys

In this unprecedented time of global pandemic and worldwide restriction of movement, we asked photographers around the planet to respond to the theme of Journeys, and — especially in light of these challenging times — we encouraged a wide range of interpretations of that theme.

The artistic responses that were put forward, from creative people in more than 150 countries on six continents, delighted us. Here we are proud to present the work of 37 remarkable artists, many who stretch the idea of a “journey” in fantastic new ways.

Do you yourself a favor and get lost in some of these journeys. You’ll discover everything from flights of imagination, creativity, fantasy and escape, to real physical journeys filled with hardships and life lessons. Some embark on wild natural adventures to extreme points on the globe. Others celebrate simple pleasures of everyday life. Some even tap into archival images as a source of time travel. All of them are thought-provoking and rich with emotions.

So, pull up a chair and get ready to soak up some adventures. Enjoy!

Series
Winners
1st Place Series
Japan
Kai Yokoyama
The day you were born, I wasn’t born yet
2nd Place Series
South Korea
Argus Paul Estabrook
How to Draw a Line
3rd Place Series
South Korea
GyuHo Park
After Armando
“I was impressed by an overall enthusiasm to reinvent what travel photography means. It is a time of change and self-reflection, and I hope that willingness to re-consider and to embrace risk continues beyond this period of isolation and lockdown. ”
– Carolyn Drake
Single Image
Winners
1st Place Single
South Africa
Angelika Kollin
Journey Back Home
2nd Place Single
Iran
Fatemeh Jedari Faridi
Parties and Underground Gatherings
3rd Place Single
Qatar
Adriane de Souza
The Process
Jurors’
picks
Each of our jury members selected one photographer to be awarded special distinction, and here they are:
Caleb Stein
United States
Selected by Sara Urbaez
Photo Editor and Founder LISTO
Sara Urbaez
Photo Editor and Founder LISTO
United States

The image reminds us how journeys can have a quiet beauty and mystery to them. This intriguing image stuck out to me from the rest. The lighting, and the expressions of the faces floating, invite you to look more closely. I selected this work because each time I revisit the image, I feel completely transported, and immersed.

Cathy Cone
United States
Selected by Anne Bourgeois-Vignon
Executive Creative Director Culture Trip
Anne Bourgeois-Vignon
Executive Creative Director Culture Trip
United Kingdom

Cathy Cone’s work plays on the juxtaposition of hand-painted, abstract, and heavily pigmented forms, onto found vintage tintypes. Past and present collide in these unique objects and they become symbolic of a poetic journey. They ask us to consider both the historical and social role of photography, and the shifting meaning of the traces that we leave behind.

Christopher McDaniel
United States
Selected by Aida Muluneh
Founder of Addis Foto Festival and Managing Director Desta For Africa Creative Consulting PLC
Aida Muluneh
Founder of Addis Foto Festival and Managing Director Desta For Africa Creative Consulting PLC
Ethiopia

I chose the single of Christopher McDaniel because I found the light, shadow and moment intriguing. Often for those who are dedicated in taking their cameras to the streets, it is always a chance that you will find a moment that needs to be captured. This image to me besides the dramatic play on light, quietly evokes questions to know more about the image. We at first see the white balloon accentuated from the darkness of the shadowed building. We then follow and see a woman sipping a drink and next to her a man with a purple hat. It is only after a couple of glances that we are able to see that it’s a graduation gown. The beauty of a photo for me is based on the unfolding of the layers captured in that image, the existence in the frame of the seen and the unseen.

Irene Fearnside
United Kingdom
Selected by Anne Farrar
Senior Photo Editor National Geographic Magazine
Anne Farrar
Senior Photo Editor National Geographic Magazine
United States

For me the photograph evokes more than a landscape but a reflection of emotion and uncertainty that’s happening right now. The image, taken from close to water level captures the rough waters, mist and droplets making me feel as if I’m on top of the water and searching, hoping to reach the shore. The one powerful waterfall through the middle of the frame cuts the tension and offers an outlet in the image, offering a hopefulness we all need right now. It’s a thoughtful image with metaphors throughout.

Oliver de Ros
Guatemala
Selected by Jim Casper
Editor-in-Chief LensCulture
Jim Casper
Editor-in-Chief LensCulture
The Netherlands

These are close, intimate photographs of courageous ordinary people who are making perilous journeys that will undoubtedly change their lives forever. Each of these pictures captures something personal and overflowing with human emotions – desperation, fear, determination, boredom, sorrow, confusion, exhaustion, caring for one another. These are universal human stories told with clear-eyed empathy.

Ritsuko Matsushita
Japan
Selected by Carolyn Drake
Photographer Magnum Photos
Carolyn Drake
Photographer Magnum Photos
United States

I admire someone who can pair things down to their elementary components and find a lucid way of expressing herself amid so much confusion and strife. While sidelined from her job at a travel agency, Matsushita took daily walks and used her digital camera to make wide open images of the sky. She then covered the sky with hundreds of star-like spots in honor/memory of the people whose lives were lost to Covid. “This is my daily ’travel’ these days,” she writes. I find the work empathetic, profound, and poetic.

“During a year that has meant, for many, heavy restrictions on personal travel, it is wonderful to be taken on any kind of journey. Thus it was a pleasure to see the theme interpreted so broadly, visually exploring both literal and metaphorical journeys through the personal lenses of so many artists.”
– Anne Bourgeois-Vignon
Finalists
Meet our international jury
Anne Farrar
Senior Photo Editor
National Geographic Magazine
United States
About Anne »

Anne Farrar, Senior Photo Editor for National Geographic Magazine, believes visual storytelling can be a powerful call to action and catalyst for change within the travel and tourism industry. Anne has held several senior photography positions at many of the best photojournalism newspapers in the US including The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and the Daily Southtown. As a photo editor at the The Dallas Morning News, Anne was part of a team that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Anne Bourgeois-Vignon
Executive Creative Director
Culture Trip
United Kingdom
About Anne »

Anne Bourgeois-Vignon’s interests lie at the intersection of visual culture, technology and journalism. She leads editorial and creative teams to conceive, commission, and produce award-winning content including magazines, digital platforms, curatorial projects, stills and films. Currently the Executive Creative Director of Culture Trip, Anne was previously Global Digital Director at Magnum Photos, Creative Content Director at Nowness and Photography Director at Forward Publishing. She writes and talks about photography and has participated in numerous juries and reviews.

Carolyn Drake
Photographer
Magnum Photos
United States
About Carolyn »

Carolyn Drake is an artist based in Vallejo, California who has worked on collaborative and photo-based projects that live on the boundary of documentary and art-making. She spent many years working with Uighurs in western China on a body of work called Wild Pigeon, which was presented in a solo exhibition at SFMOMA in 2018 and earned the Anamorphosis Book Award. In 2020, TBW Books will publish her new project, Knit Club, which she made in collaboration with an unconventional group of women in rural Mississippi. She has received a Guggenheim fellowship, a Fulbright fellowship, the Lange Taylor Prize, and a Peter S Reed Foundation grant, among other awards, and she is a member of Magnum Photos. In the coming year, her work will be included in exhibitions at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.

Aida Muluneh
Founder of Addis Foto Festival and Managing Director Desta For Africa Creative Consulting PLC
Ethiopia
About Aida »

Muluneh began her career working as a photojournalist at the Washington Post; her work can be found in several international publications. As an exhibiting artist, her photos have been shown in over a dozen countries around the world and her work can be found in the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, the Hood Museum and the Museum of Biblical Art. In 2019, she gave the renowned Sem Presser Lecture at the World Press Photo Festival in Amsterdam. She is also the first black woman to become co-curator of the Nobel Peace Prize exhibition while serving as a Canon Europe Ambassador. Muluneh is the founder and director of the Addis Foto Fest (AFF), the first international photography festival in East Africa, which has been hosted in the city of Addis Ababa since 2010. She continues to educate, curate and develop cultural projects with local and international institutions through her company DESTA (Developing and Educating Society Through Art) and For Africa Creative Consulting PLC (DFA).

Sara Urbaez
Photo Editor and Founder
LISTO
United States
About Sara »

Sara Urbaez is the founder and photo editor of LISTO, an online platform devoted to dismantling colonialism in photography and honoring BIPOC photographers. Before coming to Airbnb, Sara was the curator and managing editor of WIRED Photo, WIRED.com’s photography section, and oversaw photography across all platforms. She also worked in the photo department of Art + Auction and Modern Painters, DEPARTURES, at the Walther Collection, and as a stylist assistant at W Magazine. She has a deep love for art and the outdoors, and is usually plotting her next adventure.

Jim Casper
Editor-in-Chief
LensCulture
The Netherlands
About Jim »

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.

Thank You
To everyone who entered their work in this new award, thank you!
Congratulations to all 37 photographers!
Now Open: LensCulture Black & White Awards! Entries close 21 October 2020.
Bw20 scroller logo@2x