Eliot Dudik is a force of nature. He is also a photographer's photographer, doing the hard work of showing up with a large format camera and a vision for telling stories. He brings a level of excellence to whatever he produces–from his stellar work, to his handmade over sized portfolio box and his one of a kind mini portfolio leave behinds.

—Aline Smithson, LenScratch, PhotoNOLA Portfolio Reviewer

Last December, some 70 photographers descended upon New Orleans with the hope of presenting their portfolios to influential members of the photographic community and advancing their careers. Two days of face-to-face meetings ensued, as the participants met with gallery owners, editors, publishers and museum curators assembled from across the United States (and abroad). These intense but productive conversations provided photographers with networking opportunities, critical advice, and guidance for bringing their work to a larger audience.

At the end of the review, the reviewers were asked to rank the best portfolios they had seen. Three photographers emerged from the group as having particularly impressed the reviewers. We've put together an overview of these award-winning artists and included a short text about their work. Congratulations to the three of them and our hats off to PhotoNOLA for putting together another excellent edition!

Winner, PhotoNOLA Review Prize:
Eliot Dudik, Virginia

Dudik is a photographic artist, educator, and bookmaker based in Virginia. He was recognized for his Broken Land and Still Lives portfolios, in which he documents Civil War battlegrounds and historic reenactments, exploring the connection between culture, landscape, memory, and politics. In both series, Dudik masterfully plays with the ideas of time, death and remembrance. We have presented a small selection from each of them above and you can see the full series on Dudik's LensCulture profile.

2nd Place, PhotoNOLA Review Prize:
Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman, Chicago and Milwaukee

Ciurej and Lochman are a collaborative team, based in Chicago and Milwaukee respectively. They create photographic projects that explore the confluence of history, myth and popular culture, and were recognized for their Processed Views and Natural History series. In the words of reviewer Alyssa Copelman, "It's impressive to pull off one of these bodies of work; to have created both is extraordinary."

We have included a small selection of the Processed Views series above and you will find the full series (as well as several other projects from the duo) on their shared LensCulture profile.

3rd Place, PhotoNOLA Review Prize:
Susan kae Grant, Dallas

Grant is a fine art photographer and educator based in Dallas, Texas. Her award-winning project, Night Journey, examines the perceptual and psychological aspects of dreams, memory and the unconscious. The six photos above can only give you a small taste of what this series offer. As reviewer Roy Flukinger said, ""If you travel along with Susan kae Grant on her "Night Journey" you may well emerge with far more questions than answers. Once you enter her maze of large, chiffon vertical panels...you become part of her environment of wonder."


Editor's Note: To learn even more about this excellent review opportunity, be sure to visit PhotoNOLA's website for more information.

Discover more new, inspiring photography every day from cultures around the world at lensculture.com, and on Facebook and Twitter as well as on Instagram.