The fourth annual IdeasTap Photographic Award is aimed at identifying, showcasing and celebrating documentary photographers. Winning submissions consist of creative and striking photographic projects that are well conceived in their narrative, tell a story and demonstrate a higher level of photographic skill and understanding.

The Photographic Award has three overall winners (one from each age category) from a group of nine finalists. The three overall winners of the Award receive £5,000 and the photographers are given paid placements with Magnum Photos in London or New York.

LensCulture is pleased to present the work of all nine finalists, including five photographs from each of the three winners. The photographs above are accompanied by captions. See below for a list of the finalists as well as more information about their work.


16-22 Age Category

1. Souvid Datta, winner, China: The Human Price of Pollution

Every year, China’s pollution causes an estimated 3.5 million deaths. Every day, as the toll continues to rise, we must insist on and engage with the truth. We must investigate whether individual victims continue being treated as collateral damage; whether government policies and funds trickle down to genuine effect; and indeed, whether coming developments can empower China’s increasingly educated, global population to face up to very real, human and ecological consequences of its growth.

2. Clementine Schneiderman, finalist, Love Me True

I had to follow them. To Graceland, Beale Street, Sun Studios, Elvis Presley Boulevard, I had to follow the fans. They come from all over the world and may save money for many years to see Memphis. Elvis’ fans are obsessed with collecting objects. Anything related to him has to be seized: vinyl, posters, pink plastic Cadillacs, miniatures of Graceland, magnets, ashtrays, as if this binging was a way to overcome their fear of loneliness.

 3. Joe Dixey, finalist, Lace

Nottingham is a Midlands city, situated almost directly on the openly debated North/ South divide. It is this feature that perhaps defines its’ characteristic. Like most of the cities of the Midlands, it is caught in a liminal state: between recession and growth, past and present, being both northern and southern at the same time. Finding myself up against the boundaries and barriers of the estate, I became aware that they not only restricted my vision, but allowed fleeting glimpses of something more. 


23-30 Age Category

1. Lee Price, winner, Against the Order of Nature

Uganda has long been one of the most dangerous places in the world for a gay person to live, and the recently passed Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 now offers harsher penalties for male homosexual activity, criminalises lesbian sex for the first time, and includes a clause that makes it a crime to withhold from the authorities information of any known homosexuals. Against the Order of Nature aims to provide insight into the lives of individuals throughout the gay community of Uganda, and tells of what this law really means for the people living it. 

 2. Owen Harvey, finalist, Luna 

Stu often talked about the links between the lunar cycle and human behaviour.
It’s a recorded fact that during a full moon, there are more arrests and increased admissions into mental health units. Our bodies are over 50% water; we can see the moon pulling the tide in and out as it waxes and wanes, so surely it isn’t too much of a leap to think that the lunar cycle might have some kind of effect on body and mind? 

 3. Robert Ormerod, finalist, Heartlands

The M8 is Scotland’s busiest motorway and one of the busiest in the UK, running between the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Thousands of people commute between the cities every day. As the nation clatters towards a referendum on Scottish Independence in September 2014 I wanted to know what this ‘heart of Scotland’ looked and felt like - what do the people live here want for the future Scotland? Could I peer into this ‘heart’ and find out what defines us a nation? I set out to document this place and the small, seemingly forgotten towns which surround it, in an effort to answer these questions.


31+ Age Category

1. Abbie Trayler-Smith, winner, The Big O

The Big O is an intimate study of the young people behind the childhood obesity statistics. Alarmist headlines fail to examine the everyday reality of struggling with weight and self-image. My aim is to tap into the wider youth experiences of insecurity and the disquiet that so many of us, myself included, went through with our own bodies and self-image during those formative and insecure teenage years, and show that this is a complex and nuanced subject, unbounded by gender, class or racial divides.

2. Aletheia Casey, finalist, After the Apology: Women from the Stolen Generations

 Stolen Generation: This series focuses on women from The Stolen Generations, as arguably Indigenous women throughout the past have been marginalised in Australian society and have had to struggle even harder than men to have their voice heard within the Australian cultural context. It is important not to underestimate the ongoing effects of what has happened in the past and how this resonates in the present and affects future generations. 

3. Denise Myers, finalist, and something comes over you...

2014 is a year of significant wartime anniversaries. In this cultural context, ‘and something comes over you...’ encourages us to consider the space between our contemporary reality and the experience of servicemen involved in the D-Day Landings. For however much we try to immerse ourselves in the archives, or stand gazing at the horizon, we ‘just can’t imagine’ the sights, sounds and smells of the Normandy Beaches on 6 June, 1944. The images, made on the D-Day beaches, capture private moments for the strangers who look out to sea. We cannot know what they are thinking. The words transcribed onto the surface of the prints are those of servicemen waiting offshore, getting ready to land. 

—LensCulture