“The Pigs” photobook: devastating, real, and not funny. Buy this book!

An award-winning photobook by Carlos Spottorno, The Pigs echoes the design and form of “The Economist” to deliver photoessays of real situations in four countries suffering in economic crisis in the EU: Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain — referred to by the financial press with the disparaging acronym PIGS.

See 20 images and read the #LensCulture #BestPhotoBooks2013 review:

The Pigs cover

Evolution (in Action): 20 amazing photos of skeletons, large and small

Evolution © Patrick Gries

Evolution © Patrick Gries


Spectacular, mysterious, elegant, or grotesque, vertebrate skeletons are objects of art, while they carry within them the traces of several billion years of evolution.  Patrick Gries captures the awe and beauty of nature in his photographs of more than 250 of the smallest to the largest vertebrate. See and read more in LensCulture.

Color Street Photography: New York 1980s

Train Conductor, Long Island City NY 1985 © Robert Herman-lensculture-blog

Train Conductor, Long Island City, NY, 1985 © Robert Herman, from the new photobook, “The New Yorkers”

Robert Herman’s new photobook of street scenes in 1980s’ New York is saturated with luscious Kodachrome imagery seen through the eyes and lens of a true New Yorker and a fine artist. See 24 more images and read his story in LensCulture.

Photographing the Exotic Other: from the Inside, Out



Family Stuff © Qingjun HUANG and Photoquai 2013 LensCulture

Family Stuff © Qingjun HUANG, courtesy Photoquai 2013, Paris

It’s often all too easy to become enraptured by the “exotic other” that we discover when we travel to cultures that are new and strange to us. The same is true of photography. Capturing a “great” photo while on vacation or on assignment in a foreign land is almost always easier than making a similarly great photo in our own backyard.

Since its creation in 2007, the PhotoQuai photography biennial has been highlighting photography from all around the world that allows us to glimpse other cultures as seen by people who live there, not outsiders. The selection this year reflects the diversity of ways of viewing the non-European world today that is quite different from the clichés frequently propagated by tourist photography. The focus here is not on reflecting photographic production from a large number of countries but on highlighting artists and their own works, making no claims to exhaustiveness in terms of geographical coverage.

PhotoQuai’s basic mission is to highlight and make publicly known non-Western artists whose work remains either unknown in France or rarely seen in Europe, to encourage the exchange of ideas and an interchange of perspectives of the world.

The 2013 selection, assembled under the slogan “Look at Me!”, has a common denominator: all the photographic series are related to the human figure. Landscapes, objects, fashion or architecture appear in the form of elements that accompany the human being. In these selected works, the body that acts as the unit of measurement for our universe.

This “Look at Me!” theme also reverberates with the Western world’s obsession with self-portraits or “selfies” uploaded incessantly to social networks — often unremarkable, banal photographs and endlessly updated profile photos, staged and constructed to look glamorous, privileged, above the ordinary. The photos in this exhibition from distant cultures certainly echo some of these same tendencies, but they have an exotic difference that in this case originates in those cultures from the inside. It’s a unique view through the eyes and lenses of other lands and people, made by insiders, and offered on a world stage.

See 39 high-resolution photos selected by our editors in this full-screen slideshow on LensCulture.

Editor’s Note: The free exhibition will be running until November 17th, on the banks of the Seine at the Musee Quai Branly. If you’re in Paris in the month of November, be sure to check it out!

What makes a photograph an award-winner? Experts say…

© Jessica Hines, Untitled #2, The Beginning, from the series My Brother’s War.
Grand Prize Winner, Portfolio Category, LensCulture International Exposure Awards 2010

Photography Awards and photo competitions often seem to have a mysterious quality about them. Inevitably I see some award-winning images that seem obviously great, and then others that really puzzle me. What is it about a certain image that makes it a winner?

As a member of several photo juries, I have an insider’s view to the deliberations, arguments, and subjective points of view of my colleagues (and of course my own subjective opinions). I always learn something from the process, and usually come away with increased appreciation of photography when seen through the eyes photography expert whose daily concerns about photography are different from mine (say, a museum curator, or a news assignment editor, or a photobook publisher).

As we approach the deadline for photographers to enter their series or single images to the 5th annual LensCulture Exposure Awards (deadline: October 31, 2013), I asked several of my fellow jury members to shed some light on what they look for while judging a photo competition. Here are some answers:

Alan Taylor, Editor of The Atlantic InFocus photography blog, says:

For me, it always starts with a gut feeling, something about the image that that reaches out and forces me to pay attention. Whether it’s the subject matter, or a powerful composition, or a masterful use of light, or a new way of seeing something I thought myself familiar with — something about the image really has to catch my eye. After that, I look for signs of craftsmanship, storytelling and intent. I am in awe of photographers who can manage to capture a fleeting moment with skill and artistry.

Based on the overall context of the competing entries, does the image powerfully evoke a reaction in the viewer, does it engage and tell a story well? It’s a subjective judgement, and relies on the composition of the competing entries, I have a feeling the decisions will be very tough in this competition.

Els Barents, Curator and director of the Huis Marseille photography museum in Amsterdam, says:

Judging is a special domain, professionally spoken that is. You have to go with the work at hand as well as with the eye of your colleagues, while still following your own intuition.

Dimitri Beck, Editor of Polka Magazine in Paris:

What are the qualities that I look for while judging a photo competition? To be surprised. To be touched. To learn something through a photo story.

What makes a series of photographs — or a single photograph — worthy of an Award from my specific point of view? When I feel I have learned something, that I have been told a story. And if I have cried inside, if not outside…

Michael Famighetti, Editor of Aperture magazine in New York, says:

I’m looking for a clear expression of an idea; I ask why is the photographer asking me to look at this?

When reviewing hundreds of submissions, exceptional, well-executed work that animates an idea and is visually exciting really stands out and deserves to be recognized.

So, there are some general guidelines, and of course there is no clear-cut formula for success (thankfully). Even if an image doesn’t win by group vote, individual judges often make careful notes of all of their favorites and follow up somehow with everyone who seems especially worthy of consideration. So, it’s a great way to have your work seen by a group of influential judges, whether you win or not. Why not enter your best work to see if your approach to photography makes an impact?

See what’s trending at Paris Photo this year…300+ preview picks!


What’s trending right now in the fine art photography marketplace? LensCulture has compiled an extensive preview of 300+ photographs that will be presented (along with thousands more) to international art collectors by the world’s top photo galleries at Paris Photo in November 2013.

We hope you’ll settle in to a comfy chair, and enjoy the full-screen slideshow presentation of our preview picks.Paris Photo is Europe’s largest (and most important) photography fair. So in many ways, what will be on show represents a defining overview of the global fine art photography marketplace right now. Don’t miss it. 

Photographers Call for Entries: 5th Annual LensCulture Exposure Awards

The 5th annual LensCulture Exposure Awards global photography competition is open for submissions.

Please send in your best work today — photographic series or single images — and get your chance at an exhibition in London, cash prizes, and worldwide exposure through the LensCulture international networks.

Visit the site for all the details — and read some of the success stories from previous winners.

Six top winners and 25 finalists will gain the kind of worldwide exposure, reach and results that can instantly accelerate your photography career!

Enter today, and please share with all of your friends and colleagues.

Cheers, and best of luck to you!

Previous winning images shown above (clockwise from upper left): © Natan Dvir, © Jessica Hines, ©Johan Ensing, © Evzen Sobek, © S. Gayle Stevens, © Michael Marten, © Stella Johnson.

20 Amazing Photos of Storms

Dobrowner-Funnel-CornfieldFunnel Cornfield © Mitch Dobrowner

“Landscape photographers count ourselves lucky to be in the right place at the right time if a storm system is moving through — but I wanted to actively pursue these events. Since storms are a process (not a thing) I needed a guide. I soon connected with Roger Hill (regarded as the most experienced storm-chaser in the world); he introduced me to Tornado Alley and the Great Plains of the United States….”

Read more, and see some mind-blowing images of super-cell storms by Mitch Dobrowner in LensCulture.

Coming Soon

Commerical Urban LandscapeFrom the series, “Coming Soon” © Natan Dvir

Consumer advertising takes on the scale of massive architecture in cities like New York, where people in the street are dwarfed by (much) larger-than-life commercial ads covering building facades and the sides of buses. Photographer Natan Divr explores  these surreal urban juxtapositions in his series, Coming Soon. See and read more in LensCulture