Life Framer announces the winners from its May 2021 call for entries – Colors judged by American conceptual art photographer Neil Krug. The resulting selection of 20 diverse images represents work from creative amateur and professional photographers working all over the world.
“The way I have always looked at it is the world is in color. And there’s nothing we can do about that.” – William Eggleston
The above quote is in one sense obvious, but it describes an important point. We interpret the world in color, it’s the norm, and so a color image in a sense has to work harder to engage us than one in black and white. It isn’t striking by default. And that was the challenge of this competition – with so much of the world’s visual media in color, we weren’t just looking for images in color, but those that are elevated because of the color, be it ‘a single tone or a technicolor daydream’ as we said in our brief. The images that stood out were ones that used color actively – to enhance a mood, convey an emotion, strengthen an idea or simply surprise.
The resulting selection of 20 – comprising portraiture, landscape, street, studio, fine art and travel photography, and exploring themes as diverse as beauty ideals, the natural world, human culture, gender and daily life – do just that. They celebrate creativity, the beauty to be found in the world, and of course color!
Judging was overseen by Neil Krug, an American conceptual photographer with a style that is quintessentially his own – fuzzy, high contrast, cinematic and dreamlike. It has propelled him into the position of one of the music industry’s most sought-after art directors, working with concept-driven artists such as Tame Impala, Lana Del Rey, Bat for Lashes, A$AP Rocky, Bonobo, The Weeknd, Scissor Sisters and Foals.
Winning image © Alexey Kim – www.alexeykim.com / @lexysviews
Photographer statement – “This image was taken in 2020 during Valentine's Day party in New York City's Webster Hall. This was the last large party in the city and the attendees couldn't have predicted that just in a few short weeks the whole world would be crippled by the coronavirus pandemic. For me, this photo represents how human connection can be disrupted in a blink of an eye- one moment you show your care by sharing a kiss and the next you are staying six feet away not to harm someone you love.”
Life Framer comment - Shot with tight framing and under a monochromatic red light perfectly complementing this couple’s intimate moment, this image captures the intense emotion and energy of a club night – the clamour of bodies, both the connection and anonymity of the crowd. It’s all the more resonant after the pandemic, a scene that will provoke emotion in all of us, be it nostalgia, nervousness, or impatience to be back on the dancefloor.
1st Prize © Colby Blount – www.colbyblount.com / @colbyblount
Photographer statement – “From a series taken during a safari excursion in Kenya and Tanzania.”
Neil Krug comment - The photograph suggests a dramatic scene is occurring which is supported by a beautifully orchestrated narrative. The dense horizon, the dramatic clouds looming above, the figure draped in red fabric, and the purring of the vehicle in the background - all of which pull you in visually. Whether this scene is real or imagined, I am curious what happens next.
Winning image © Francesca Alvandi – www.francescaalvandi.com / @francescaalvandi
Life Framer comment -
Francesca’s long-distance aerial shot of sunbathers on a beach has
an unreal quality emphasized by the flat angle and lack of shadows, almost evoking an intricate painting or patterned wallpaper or fabric. Dappled with spots of bright color against the pale sand, it offers a quirky insight into the summer ritual of so many of us, each occupying a little pocket of available space. It would look fantastic printed large-scale, for the viewer to pour over the details as well as enjoying the whole.
Winning image © William Mark Sommer – www.williammarksommer.com / @williammarksommer
Photographer statement – “The Blue Swallow. The neon stretches for miles intersected by concrete dinosaurs, kitschy gift shops, classic diners, and Muffler men; in Route 66: An American Curio, I seek to capture these cultural icons of America's most famous bypassed highway. By documenting these roadside attractions, I look to show this unique culture that has come to create and inhabit the history of the highway while developing an understanding of this long-standing tradition of the American road trip.”
Life Framer comment - Awash with the glow of neon, this image captures a retro, nostalgic vision of the US – of long-distance roadtrips through vast, open expanses that is core to a uniquely American aesthetic, and that so many of us will only have experienced second hand through pop culture and advertising. It’s no surprise it feels so cinematic, and so inviting.
Life Framer is an award that showcases creative photography from amateur and professional artists. Every Edition we run 12 monthly calls for entries, each overseen by a world-renowned photographer or industry professional, and winners are exhibited in curated shows at gallery spaces around the world. Now in our seventh Edition, past judges have included Steve McCurry, Bruce Gilden, Philip-Lorca diCorcia and Alex Prager, along with curators and editors from MoMA, Tate Modern and the International Center of Photography, and exhibitions have been held in London, New York, Milan, Tokyo and Paris.
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