Slideshow: These are the winners of the 2021 Annual Photography Awards


Winners of the 2021 Annual Photography Awards

The Annual Photography Awards (APA) has announced the Overall and category winners for its 2021 competition. A total of 1,564 photographers from 54 countries entered their work in a collection of categories, including abstract, architecture, landscape, photojournalism, portrait, street and fine art, as well as an overall ‘Photographer of the Year.’ Martin Stranka won the title of Photographer of the Year 2021 for his series ‘Boyhood,’ which came with a $1,000 cash prize. Eight other category winners received a $500 cash prize.

The winning entries were selected from a jury consisting of professional photographers, including Vadim Sherbakov. Most entries called for a series of photographs to be submitted. The series are linked within the image description for each photo in the gallery. APA is now accepting entries for their 2022 competition.

Photographer of the Year 2021: ‘Boyhood’ by Martin Stranka

About the Series: For me, the Boyhood series is a narrative visual confession which maps both personal and mediated experiences. Boyhood is a time in our life when we begin to discover ourselves through inner dialogues and explore our self identity. We connect with everything around us, begin to discover and close in on ourselves. We create isolated places where we feel safe from all the hustle and bustle around us.

Even so, a form of alienation can be poetically and visually beautiful. I offer the viewer a look at the emotionally unfinished stories. I create images that appear to be stills from a film as untold stories. What led to this situation and what will happen next is a question for all of us, which I am looking for an answer to.

Abstract, Winner: ‘Earth, Urgent Salvation!’ by Antonio Coelho

About the Series: Oceans, water, vitality and natural resources. These are some of the themes we are listening to today. The oceans represent 50% of the Earth’s O2 production.

They are terribly affected either by pollution, or by rampant fishing, or by the quality and pollution of the water, the plastic that exists there. Another more global aspect of our planet is that we annually consume the Earth’s resources in advance. For example in 2020 in August we had exhausted the natural resources that the Earth gives us. Year after year, that date is brought forward. It is urgent to act and prevent climate change.

Architecture, Winner: ‘Simphony of Colors’ by Mabel Cedrón

About this Series: La Muralla Roja [Calpe – Spain] was designed by Ricardo Bofill in 1973 inspired by the North African adobe towers and the casbah, but with Mediterranean airs.

With a color range full of contrasts that go from delicate pastel tones to the visual strength of its ranges of reds and blues, textures and materials (concrete) that change color in tenths of a second depending on the light.
Losing yourself in that maze and its geometric shapes takes you to a world full of MAGIC and FANTASY

Landscape, Winner: ‘Inside the Wave’ by Alexej Sachov

About this Series: Most of the wave photographs are taken above water from a shore. This series was taken on scuba dives, requiring a lot of safety precautions. The photos depict the similarity between the world above and underwater. When humans would start to see those similarities and love both worlds deeply and equally, there would be still a chance of preventing more environmental pollution and harm inflicted to animals and nature.

Photojournalism, Winner: ‘Lost War’ by Lenka Klicperová

About this Series: At the end of September 2020, Azerbaijan attacked the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, which had until then been administered by Armenia. The somewhat frozen conflict flared up again. The fighting broke out with incredible fierceness and cruelty. Azerbaijan was well prepared and armed for the war, gaining support mainly from allied Turkey, which armed it with modern drones.

Armenians drove to Karabakh with equipment forty years old. The young soldiers, who had spent only a few months in training, could barely use Kalashnikov’s, but not operate advanced weapon systems. Dozens of Azerbaijani drones slaughtered them. But Armenian rockets also landed in Azerbaijan territory. The war ended on the night of November 9-10. The Armenians were left with only a fraction of the territory they had conquered in the previous war. People had to leave their homes, most of which moved in thirty years ago after winning the war.

Portrait, Winner: ‘Hold Me Tight’ by Allison Plass

About this Series: In my series Hold Me Tight, I explore moments of vulnerability and intimacy between my husband and two teenage sons, often while on family vacations in nature. A kind of sensory aliveness takes hold and I see their changing bodies, in adolescence and midlife, register so much feeling. The sculptural quality of their forms reminds me of early ideas of classical beauty, and the stories and struggles of manhood in Ancient Greek myth. Their physical interactions too, distilled in a photograph, reveal heightened tensions of closeness and sensuality that are familiar scenes throughout the history of Western art, yet speak to a resonance I might not otherwise see in daily life or in cultural representations of male relationships.

Inspired by art history, psychology, and Greek myth, I explore the question of whether there exists an inherently masculine experience and reflect on the biases of our own cultural moment of narrow societal ideas of manhood. In this mythic space, an epic love story emerges between fathers and sons that feels like unexplored territory in a traditionally homophobic American landscape. And standing just outside their intimate circle, I recognize myself in these moments, both the masculine and feminine within each of us, at times indistinguishable, by holding up these tensions in the light.

Street, Winner: ‘Messinscena’ by Maria Laura Borgognoni

About this Series: The street, with its natural light, its buildings and furnishings, becomes a scenic space.

The “characters” are not actors but ordinary people whose presence, captured between the urban wings, is translated into an imaginary space, out of time, into a theatrical dimension.

Wildlife, Winner: ‘Black Desert’ by Carolin Giese

About this Series: For 6 days I have been following a big herd of icelandic horses through the breathtaking beauty of the icelandic highlands. What left me speechless is the pure and raw strength of the horses, the incredible power and energy they have used to master this trip of 186km through the rough terrain of the icelandic highlands. What a privilege to witness!

Fine Art, Honorable Mention: ‘Hotel Girl II’ by Ari Bafalouka

About this Series: A mysterious female figure haunts over time a timeless Parisian hotel.

Landscape, Honorable Mention: ‘American Abyss’ by Philip Cho

About this Series: The aviation view of the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is becoming popular and widespread already. But it is still something that I wanted to capture for my own version. I communicated with the local company to pick up the right day of flight.

I had only a couple of days window for clear sky during my trip in May, but I made it with the perfect weather. The vivid blue and green color of the pool was just mind-blowing. I was really glad that I spent my efforts, time and money to get my own shots of this spectacular beauty.

Photojournalism, Second Place: ‘The Deadly Second Wave’ by Anindito Mukherjee

About this Series: With cases crossing 400,000 a day and with more than 3500 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, India’s Covid-19 crisis is intensifying and shows no signs of easing pressure on the country. A new wave of the pandemic has totally overwhelmed the country’s healthcare services and has caused crematoriums to operate day and night as the number of victims continues to spiral out of control.

Street, Honorable Mention: ‘Strike Your Own Pose’ by Shobha Gopinath

About this Series: On the steps leading to the River Ganges, these young novices were engaged in their morning yoga practice, when I noticed one of them out of sync with the rest, lost in his own thoughts, examining his fingernails and then noticed another novice turning to his friend to talk to him, notwithstanding his upside down position! It made for such an interesting image.

Wildlife, Third Place: ‘The Journey’ by Ewa Jermakowicz

About this Image: Elephants, usually traveling in large herds, protect their youngest by keeping them hidden in the middle of the group. But kids are just kids, regardless of the species, and try to test their limits. This little elephant managed to escape from its mother just for a short couple of seconds, proudly leading the family and making a lot of dust with its tiny legs.

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