Wow! What an overwhelming response! We received 1050 applications this year which created an enormous headache (in the nicest possible way) for our judges. The quality of the work was also brilliant which just made the job even harder!
Congratulations to our winner, runners up and shortlisted applicants, who all submitted exceptional work.
31 finalists made it to Jason Edwards for his final selection. After many grueling hours of painstaking assessment Jason has come up with a winner.
And the winner is...
Anna Zhu from Sydney, Australia
Anna’s portfolio was simple yet beautifully composed there were no weak images that I would have removed, no chinks in the armour so to speak. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing her portfolio and it illustrates that great stories are often just around the corner. Her captioning was concise, informative and moving. Sometimes a caption requires extensive detail and other times not, here I had all that was required to explain what was occurring in the frames. Likewise, Anna’s written component gave me an idea of who she was, what her intentions were with her photography, and what she hoped to gain from the experience.
See Anna Zhu's photo submissions
Anna Zhu's Written Submission
Below is Anna's answers to the written component of the competition.
Q: Please tell us about where you are currently doing? (e.g studying, working etc)
I graduated with a Visual Communications bachelor in May 2009, and am currently working as a freelance graphics designer as well as a casual photographic assistant to Sydney-based photographer Mark Rogers. I also volunteer weekly for Oxfam Australia as an art director and photographer.
Q Please tell us why you should be awarded the 2009 Travel Photography Scholarship to Antarctica?
I should be awarded the 2009 Scholarship to Antarctica because I’m passionate about people, travel and positive social change, and I’m eager to learn and grow as a professional documentary photographer. I want to dedicate my life to documenting the small-scale narrative, the story and struggle of individuals or small communities, and how they may fit within a larger social concern. I aim to produce photo essays that are intimate yet strong in narrative, and that gives voice to those previously overlooked. I would like to inspire others with the stories of my subjects, and perhaps encourage people to be the change they wish to see in the world. My ideal future clients would be international aid organisations and publications like NGM and COLORS. Aid organisations because they are a gateway to the places and communities where positive change is happening, and where I feel my craft could be the most effective. I would like to work for publications like the NGM because of the diversity and depth of their stories, and the respect with which they treat their images. In this age of prolific photographic data, I aim to be a useful contribution to the art of photography, as well as the photographic community. Four months ago I started ShutterStutter (www.shutterstutter.com.au), a free monthly pub meet-up for emerging and professional photographers. ShutterStutter is where members can receive constructive criticism from their peers and help each other grow artistically and professionally.
Q Please describe your level of photographic experience?
I studied the photography electives in university, and my graduating project ‘Skin’ was a photographic narrative. (www.annazhu.com/skin) Since March this year I have been assisting casually for photographer Mark Rogers. For the past two years I have been volunteering regularly as a photographer for Oxfam Australia and the 40K Home Foundation. I was a double finalist and semi-finalist in the '2009 Doug Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize', exhibiting at the State Library of New South Wales, a finalist in the 'Olive Cotton Photographic Award 2009', and highly commended in 'ACMP Projections 2009'. This March, with the support of Oxfam Australia and UTS, I showcased my interactive photographic exhibition, 'I Will… Project', at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. The artwork highlights the individual’s role in environmental preservation. (www.iwillproject.org) Technically, I am most confident working in medium format film. Film forces me to slow down and consider every element within the frame. I use a Mamiya 645AF with two fixed lenses, 80mm and 45mm. My favourite films are Kodak Portra and Fuji Provia. I’ve spent a year in China, photographing and backpacking across the country through Tibet, Xinjiang and up to Mongolia, returning the next year to work in Shanghai, and then making my way through most of South-East Asia. I also studied in San Francisco for six months, and have travelled to England, France, Italy, Czech
David Lazar from Brisbane, Australia
David’s thoughtful portfolio shed new light on a subject normally portrayed very negatively. His image of donkeys pulling a heavy cart told a story very well in and of itself. Again, keeping the viewer involved in the composition and providing interesting written components strengthened David’s result.
See David Lazar's Photo Submissions.
Richard Fairbrother from Beijing, China
Richard’s series on China was tight, well thought out and clever. He successfully used differing elements of life in China to communicate his theme. Richard’s images relied on their compositional strengths rather than excessive dodging and burning so prevalent in black and white, to create a strong image.
See Richard's photo submissions
The Short List (in alphabetical order):
Please check out the photos of our short-listed entrants. Where the photos are in a set, the link goes to that set of 5 submission photos, otherwise the link goes to one of their photos within the group pool.
Nels Andereck (Japan)
Hüseyin Aysan (Sweden)
Dan Ballard (USA)
Nazrul Haider Chowdhury (Bangladesh)
Thomas Cristofoletti (Spain)
Andrea Davoust (Ecuador)
Vincent de Groot (France)
Michael Donovan (USA)
Varun Dutt (Japan)
Laura Fetherstonhaugh (Canada)
Goncalo Figueiredo (Portugal)
Anna Frenette (Canada)
Rory Gardiner (Australia)
Jeremy Hall (Australia)
Alexander Hedley (New Zealand)
Andrija Ilic (Faroe Islands)
Stephen Ironside (USA)
Michael Kelley (USA)
Bonnie Low (UK)
Rob McKerlie (Canada)
James Morgan (UK)
Ken Ng (Canada)
Jing Peng (China/Singapore)
Gunta Podina (Sweden)
Alexander Talamante (Mexico)
Temenuga Trifonova (Canada)
Taylor Weidman (USA)
Ethan Welty (USA)
The Judging Panel:
Our shortlist was created by Tina Seeto, Marketing Manager, National Geographic Channel & Simon Monk, Director, World Nomads, Chris Noble, General Manager World Nomads, Chris Potter, Creative Director World Nomads.
Our winner and runners up were selected by Jason Edwards, National Geographic on-assignment photographer.
A Final thought from Jason:
As you will all be aware the judging for this year’s event is over and we have our winner, congratulations Anna! There were many wonderful entries, so many in fact the judges had a tough time narrowing down the finalists. I would like to thank everyone for his or her patience.
The competition was incredibly tight and especially so amongst the finalists where people were separated by only a point or two. At these times you cannot afford a weak image or to ignore any part of the judging criteria. There were several finalists I would love to take along based on their essays alone, people who had a vision of what they wanted their photography to be.
If you had not previously read my post on the judging process please see below, and if you have not read the submission guidelines then please do. Just because an entry made it to the final round does not preclude it from these criteria, in fact that is when the entry was critiqued the hardest.
So if you are looking at the finalists and scratching your head over a heavily manipulated image have no fear, they were penalised. If a particular image had no relevance to the story, have no fear they were penalised. Likewise for captioning and the written component. Ignore the judging process criteria at your own peril! I would strongly suggest everyone including the finalists, review their entries with the judging process criteria at hand and try to see where they may have lost a point or two.
In closing congratulations to everyone that took the time to produce a portfolio and enter. This in itself is a great exercise and strengthens your photographic ability in ways you may not realise. Please remember, what is most important about your images is what you capture at the time, not what you do to them on the computer or in the darkroom.
I hope to see you all again next year!
The judging process
Jason has been generous enough to share with us the 10 key elements that formed the fabric of his selection proces;
1. Composition: Every element should have it's place in an image, even shadows and highlights.
2. Exposure: The exposure should match the tone and mood of the image, without manipulating the integrity of the subject matter.
3. Originality: There are more images being taken in the world today, but there are fewer photographers. See it differently.
4. Story: Every individual frame should tell a story, if an image doesn't do this then remove it.
5. Opinionated: Is your story opinionated? It does not have to be a moral or ethical viewpoint just your emotion coming through.
6. Depth: Have you explored your story or scraped the surface?
7. Captioning: Do not rely on an editor seeing everything you see in an image. Provide at least some background to what is happening in the frame.
8. Reason for why you should win: Always a personal viewpoint, entrants were ranked based on what people hoped to gain from the experience and what they hoped to contribute back to the greater community.
9. Willingness to learn: Very, very important! It is a scholarship, and the successful applicant had to be willing to learn, and in some cases re-learn elements of their photographic technique and how they behave as photographers.
10. Contribution to Photography: Did the images and story as a whole contribute something to the art of photography?
If you didn’t make the cut this year then don’t worry SIGN UP TO THE MAILING LIST to find out about next year’s program, which is already shaping up to be pretty exciting!!
On behalf of World Nomads I would like to thank all of our partners because let’s face it, without them our scholarship program would not have been possible.
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