The notion of ‘home’ has taken on new, multilayered meanings for much of the world in the past year-and-a-half, and these 37 photographers awarded by LensCulture's first ever HOME Photography Prize have captured a wide range of realities from 17 countries on six continents around the world.
Take some time to look carefully at each of these stories and photos — there’s a lot to surprise and delight you!
Among these winners you’ll discover remarkable images — from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, and Botswana, to Russia, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey — and many more places. These winners, finalists and jurors’ picks were selected as the best from a pool of submissions we received from photographers in 153 countries.
The pandemic has challenged us to think about what ‘home’ really means. From living in total isolation to being squeezed into close quarters with our loved ones, our lives have played out in our domestic spaces. For creative people, confinement forced some very real limits of how and what can be expressed artistically in a tight, unchanging space — but they found a way.
Take a look at what HOME looks like all around the world in 2021.
Over the years I’ve seen so many projects in which the photographer holds a photo print and then records it in a particular environment. And yet with this series I still found something fresh. Family Heirlooms is a series of photos taken within the photographer’s original family home. Using old childhood photos, Carole places them in the same locations as they were originally taken, several decades on. In one photo, her father, now 87 and showing signs of dementia, sits as if watching his young child playing on the floor some forty years earlier. The positioning is extremely precise but much more important is the overwhelmingly personal nature of the work. These are simple juxtapositions yet they generate a powerful sense of memory, the echo of home and family - resonating with both joy and sadness.
Somebody I respect very much used to always say, “only boring people get bored,” and I have a feeling that Emily Allen is not a boring person. This is evidence by the quietness of her work. I can imagine the series that she submitted was something that she made during the extra time she found herself with this year. There is a real sense of visual exploration and also finding interesting things in quotidian objects, such as the suburban basketball hoop being overtaken by trees that are in bloom; or the simplicity of lace making shadows in the sunlight. But finally, it is her self portrait that recalls for me the ingenuity of a Bauhaus photo student exploring different angles of the world.
This photograph has a beautiful, painterly quality, catching the subject’s gaze in the gentle winter light. It’s cleverly framed, the split screen juxtaposing the landscape with the interior of the abandoned train, it seems to sum up the migrant’s plight, caught between two worlds. There’s a stillness to the image that allows the viewer to contemplate the importance of place for the people making this journey through Greece to the Macedonian border, and its title "Looking Forward" considers that no matter where or what they have left behind, their journey is driven by hope.
Pariwat’s curious version of Home was such a delight to see, especially during a year where many can’t divorce pain from memory. I loved how the pictures and process so poetically encapsulated notes on home life: possessions, chaos, changes and imperfections. "The L_st Album," with its use of found photographs and color, is a kaleidoscopic love letter from a fellow stranger to another.
My mind has returned to Choubdarzadeh’s series of women in Iran many times. I was captivated by her mix of styles and use of language to tell her story. The bare back self portrait with the soft touch of the grass paired with a quote from Prophet Muhammad. Followed by the machete laying on the grass half in shadow paired with text speaking to the murder of Romina Ashrafi. Photographers have to be brave to turn their cameras onto themselves and their communities and Choubdarzadeh certainly was brave in this series.
This series of photographs of home life in the Ozark Mountains evoke, for me, an ideal way of life in the American West: a place of openness, connection with nature, extended families and community, care-free play, relaxation, adventure and imagination. All of the people pictured here seem grounded with a sense of belonging and living fully.
I also love the way you can “feel” the light in each of these pictures, and how all of the many rich details captured in each frame contribute to the overall story. This work seems honest, authentic, genuine and full of love.
Fiona Shields has over twenty years’ picture-editing experience across a range of newspaper titles and has served as picture editor of The Guardian for the last nine. She recently took up the role of Head of Photography for the Guardian News and Media Group. Throughout her career, she has been involved in the coverage of some of the most historic news stories of our time: 9/11, conflicts around the world, the Arab Spring and much more. Besides her work at the newspaper, she’s delivered talks at photo festivals and to students of photojournalism. She has judged the Sony World Photography Awards, the UK Picture Editors Guild Awards, and the Renaissance Photography Prize among others. Most recently she served as a nominator for the Prix Pictet and joined the jury of the highly regarded Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize.
Dilys Ng is Senior Photo Editor at TIME. She commissions, produces and edits photography across platforms for high impact features and projects like TIME100, Person of the Year, Guns in America and Next Generation Leaders. She was previously at the Singapore International Photography Festival and has served as juror on multiple awards and reviews.
Dewi Lewis Publishing is a partnership owned and run by Caroline Warhurst and Dewi Lewis. Founded in 1994, its photography list has an international reputation and has included books by leading British and international photographers such as Laia Abril, William Klein, Martin Parr, Simon Norfolk, Fay Godwin, Tom Wood, Sergio Larrain, Frank Horvat, John Blakemore, Paolo Pelegrin, Simon Roberts and Bruce Gilden. Dewi Lewis was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 2004 and in November 2009 he was awarded the inaugural Royal Photographic Society Award for Outstanding Services to Photography. He was awarded the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Publishing at the World Photography Awards in April 2012.
Todd Hido (born in Kent, Ohio, 1968) wanders endlessly, taking lengthy road trips in search of imagery that connects with his own memories. Through his unique landscape process and signature color palette, Hido alludes to the quiet and mysterious side of suburban America—where uniform communities provide for a stable façade—implying the instability that often lies behind the walls. His photographs are in many private and public collections, including the Getty, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art; MoMA: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Notably, Pier 24 Photography holds the archive of all his published works. He has published more than a dozen books, including the award-winning monographs by Nazraeli Press, House Hunting (2001) and Excerpts from Silver Meadows (2013), as well as the innovative B-Sides Box Set that function as a companion piece. His Aperture titles include Todd Hido on Landscapes, Interiors, and the Nude (2014), part of The Photography Workshop series, and the mid-career survey Intimate Distance: Twenty-Five Years of Photographs, A Chronological Album (2016). His latest book, Bright Black World, was released by Nazraeli in the Fall of 2018. Hido is also a collector, and over the last twenty-five years has created one of the most notable photobook collections, which was featured in Bibliostyle: How We Live at Home with Books (2019).
Maya Robinson has been working for New York Magazine since 2011. As Senior Photo Editor she assigns and produces photography for the magazine’s features and culture section. Previously she was the Art Director of Photography and Visuals for Vulture.com, New York’s culture site, where she developed its visual identity and still leads photography for the site. Maya works with a range of photographers from photojournalists to portrait and fine-art photographers. Before joining New York Magazine, she worked at Harper’s Bazaar.
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.