The idea of photographic projects, bodies of work that are related through geography, subject matter or ideas, have been promoted by most photography practitioners as a way of developing your vision and making your work more meaningful. Although the single image is the goal of many photographers, the relationships between images in a project can convey more about the subject and how the photographers see it, than any single image.
As such, it was a goal of ours from the start of the competition to include a project category with the hope that it would be well supported. We needn’t have worried though, we received 4000 images across nearly 400 projects on a whole range of subjects and there were some amazing entries. I thought it would be interesting to share some of our winners here and also some of the more interesting project submissions (with a bias to the ones that I particularly liked).
ASH documents unprecedented fires in Tasmania from 2019. Areas photographed include Hartz Mountains National Park, Franklin Gordon River National Park, Great Lakes, and Tasmania's East Coast. The project documents the destruction of these fires, the thin line between survival and destruction, and the re-emergence of life, albeit affected by a habitat that has lost many fire vulnerable species.
The Drakensberg has been a passion of mine for over a decade now. You’ll find this mountain range on the eastern side of South Africa, bordering Lesotho. The Zulu nation calls it uKhahlamba, which means ‘Barrier of up-pointed spears, and it is clear to see why. I have been hiking and photographing the Drakensberg for 15 years now and every single time I go, I find a fresh perspective in this ancient place. It inspires me to show the mountain rage in all its beauty, because each season brings a different set of conditions, colour tones and light. The Drakensberg is a lifelong project for me, and I hope you too will fall in love with this small part of Africa.
I made my first trip to Iceland in 1995 and ran into a book with aerials by German photographer Klaus Franke. The images and the landscape photographed from above blew me away. I had never practised aerial photography myself at that time. Now 26 years later I have been flying about 140 hours over Iceland. This collection of images consists of images all from the Icelandic Highlands. A few of these have ended up in 3 of my books: "Iceland above and below", "Island" and "Beyond Landscape". Iceland is for me a lifetime project and I will most likely continue to go there and make new photographs as long as I have the health to do so.
Hunting is still a major pastime in the mountains of NW Georgia (USA). Yet, many years ago, before the 'Trail of Tears' (~1835), it was Cherokee Native Americans who enjoyed these same mountains and forests. This project is loosely based on the legend of Nun'Yunu'Wi, an old man dressed in stone. The Nun'Yunu'Wi terrorised Cherokee hunting parties, tracking them down and eating them. It was said that his skin was made of stone, that his cane could transform into a rock of any shape and size, and that he used the cane to sniff the air and track his prey. In my adaptation, the rocks and boulders are a community of these stone people, still thriving within these remote mountainous forests, perhaps still feeding on the occasional unsuspecting hunter. The images are taken during the 'Fall', when changing colours transform the landscape and misty mornings start quiet and cool. This is also hunting season and access is restricted to those with a bow, or a gun, seeking deer, bear or wild hog.
Bogs are wetlands consisting of wet and spongy ground where water and land interact with each other in a very intimate way. In this project, I have tried to capture that relationship between water and vegetation on the ground. Various seasons bring in vast variations in the bogs and I have tried to observe that change. The Adirondack Mountains in New York are known for their mountains, but what really attracts me to them are the bogs of Adirondacks.
My submission in this contest is a selection of images from the North of Norway. I have always enjoyed this kind of photography; the search for the universe in the details. This gives me great satisfaction, to experience the grand landscape in the details. My imagination is triggered in a different way and the sense of the natural beauty and drama of the landscape becomes very much alive and different from the sensation of an overwhelming view from the top of a mountain. I don’t have to travel far to find these locations. To me, the environmental aspect of not travelling around the world to visit iconic sites is a great motivation and inspiration.
In 1991, a small natural landslide stopped the flow of a little river and allowed for the creation of one of Romania's most beautiful lakes: Cuejdel. Once the water level rose, it drowned the nearby forest, creating an "army of trunks" that slowly rot above the water. The remnants of those trees combined with the ethereal mood of this place, made me visit it over and over again, in each season of the year and resulted in this photographic project.
Zion National Park is a solemn and quiet place to those who need it and seek it. Grandeur and vistas dominate the area, but I believe there’s more to be said in the intimacy hidden within its walls. This is a celebration of the ice nestled between the sandstone; the delicate scenes on the ground beneath my feet, waiting to be noticed. Sweeping concentric lines, leaves caught in a natural pause, and the simple power of reflected light. A condition as fleeting as ice cannot be planned or expected, but rather found when it’s ready to be found. Zion is an easy place to see superficially and disregard its deeper potential, but much like ice; with time and patience beautiful things can be formed and found.
I have known this Cornish beach my whole life, playing on the slate rocks as a child and continuing to visit this local spot regularly. My aim with this project was to create an ambiguity of scale, to transform and transport, to free the mind as a child and see towering peaks, marble quarries or aerial views. Landscapes within landscapes, I am inspired by the great abstract painting tradition of Cornwall.
The Northumbrian coastline provides endless opportunities for photography but it is the less obvious subjects that attract my attention most of all. Soft sandstones have been eroded through the constant pounding of the North Sea resulting in ever-changing rock features and landscapes in miniature. These sedimentary rocks are made up of many layers. When exposed to the elements it is these layers that create wonderful shapes, colours and patterns. Apply a little imagination and the discoveries are boundless; rocks that look like waves on a choppy sea, low lying hills or a mountain range. Time and tide erodes channels in the stone that could be great canyons and intertidal pavements that seem like the surface of a distant planet. Over time this dramatic coastline will no doubt reveal new and often beautiful landscapes that will continue to fascinate and fuel my imagination.
Intimate landscapes offer me the opportunity to absorb and distil beauty and design elements that exist in the natural world that would otherwise go unnoticed. By adopting a magnifying glass approach, I can create images that I know will be wholly original. In this collection, mostly photographed within a five-mile radius of my home, I've enjoyed aesthetic components of lichen, frost, water, stone, moss and seaweed by combining colour, shape, pattern and texture in close-up detail.
The colours of the landscape after a wildfire burned our area were surreal and oddly calming at the same time. While the smoke was still thick, the colours were muted, desaturated to blackened tones. As the smoke cleared, but still lingered a bit, the landscape turned to soft browns and greys. As summer waned, and fall approached, plants emerged along waterways, their exuberant greenery vividly surreal in the burned landscape. The subdued colours in the quietness of the burned landscape were the calm after the storm.
In the not too distant past, northern Scotland was a very different place. The Caledonian forest, an ecologically diverse temperate rainforest, covered much of the Highland landscape. Only a small number of remnants of this great woodland now exist. This selection of images taken across the seasons, aims to highlight the importance of preserving these areas of natural beauty.
Images produced from one 25 square metre section of the Rhinogydd in North Wales as a magnificent sunset developed to the west across the Irish Sea. An exploration of landscapes within landscapes and the fractal nature of those landscapes and the geological processes that shape them from a macro to a micro level
Compositional curves is always a photographic device I search for with my film pinhole camera; the simplicity of composition matched with the simplest form of camera always manages to record the simple forms of nature so well; be it the curve created by light, the sweep of a rock, the movement of clouds or sand patterns left by a retreating tide. The square format and black and white film frames a curve so pleasingly. With no viewfinder and a field of view that only continuing experience can master, the end result is never assured but always welcomed when all the elements come together. Just simple things achieved by simple lensless cameras to create a basic emotional connection!
From November through March, I am often the solitary witness to Lake Erie's varied moods. Throughout the winter months, at the top and tail of the shortened days, one can experience the dramatic, the ephemeral and the serene. Though close to home, it often feels like an alien realm.
As a mountain “local,” I see photographers everywhere. Pros with all their gear and tourists with their phones. We jockey for space in our most beautiful places and try to capture them with our gadgets. The sharpest lens and newest sensor can’t render what it’s like to stand in these scenes, but thousands of photographs are taken of them every day. What service would it be to add my own?
But a pinhole camera is simple. I take mine to these places precisely because they are so over-photographed. The camera's tiny aperture is literally nothing: A hole. A lack. An empty space. When modern photography makes a statement, this primitive photography listens. And when you really listen to a waterfall's roar, you will hear that it defies our statements and that it is not ours to capture.
The Frozen claws of Winter. My vision here is focused on the texture. I am looking for a kind of 'emotional connection' with the atmosphere revealed on the mountains.
For thousands of years, these rock formations were hidden from plain sight. It was after they made a power plant and diverted most of the water through pipes these wonders were reviled to us. Massive stones had been churning around, creating the potholes hidden underwater. What really made this special was the discs of ice floating on the surface the day we were there. Replicated the very same twirling pattern as the rocks had been doing for thousands of years.
It's Winter 2020/21. There's a pandemic in the world. Like many people around the world, I am learning to live anew. You cannot travel, you cannot meet friends... There are feelings that I did not know before. Searching for harmony in nature becomes a perfect therapy. For me, it is a cure for everything. The project is my photographic story of longing for harmony. I found her near my home. I am looking for her again in my life. I believe I will find her.
The tale is told underwater in Egypt. Diving in canyons, caverns and caves, you see an amazing dance of light and fish.