Joan Alvado is one of the 50 best emerging photographers for 2015, as voted by the eight-member international jury for the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards 2015. Here is his winning entry and artist’s statement. View his profile to learn more about him and to see more of his great work.

The profession “shepherd” is widely perceived as a nostalgic one, even wholly obsolete. Surely shepherds belong to the past and becoming a shepherd in 2015 would be almost unthinkable, especially to a young person who could do almost anything else.

However, in recent years, we have witnessed the birth of a new generation of young shepherds and farmers, working according to new social paradigms such as food sovereignty and local, organic production. It is a phenomenon slowly hatching world-wide—though it remains largely unnoticed by the majority of society.

“School of Shepherds” is a long-term project about this livestock renewal, especially from the experience of the Shepherds School of Catalonia. The objective of this project is to break visual clichés and provide a positive look at the current rural regeneration. In my photos, a subjective dialogue is put into play between the rigid codes of a traditional world and the fresh air filtered by the newest generation of shepherds.

—Joan Alvado