Yes, we know you all have been waiting patiently for this announcement…and it has absolutely come down to the wire this year!
We were blown away by the range of diverse photographic stories that were submitted this year. The judges were taken on an emotional ride – examining all of the raw, shocking, endearing and surprising entries from around the world.
World Nomads and National Geographic Channel would like to thank each and every one of you for applying, and for sharing stories that open our eyes, challenge our realities and stir our souls. Our hope is that you all continue to progress in your photographic journeys and contribute to the world of travel photography.
A Word from the Judges
Unlike a photography competition, this scholarship is not necessarily about finding the ‘best’ photos (ahem…some of you sneaky professionals!) but about choosing the person that we think has the most potential to develop their skills and be molded through the mentorship experience; individuals who each could use this opportunity to hone their craft, refine their technique, and learn to capture a great story from behind the lens.
Please feel free to leave your congratulations to the winner and the shortlisted entries below. However, if you have any other comments, concerns, program feedback or trollish rants, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join us in congratulating Divya Agrawal! Divya will embark on a 10-day assignment next month to capture the raw beauty of Greenland under the mentorship of Nat Geo photographer Jason Edwards.
Divya Agrawal (India)
UPDATE! Read Divya's blog and check out her photos from her Greenland assignment.
Congratulations to Divya on her wonderful series about the devastated village of Dotma. The images were forthright and compelling, communicating the issues faced by residents holding the viewer to account. I felt myself transported back to similar communities I’ve visited and Divya’s desire to be a voice for the voiceless was palpable.
Frank Sterle (Australia)
Frank's essay on the risks facing the Mentawaian people, their rainforest home and future survival was beautifully captured. It was wonderful to see both the traditional and modern lifestyle depicted in such a sensitive manner.
Denis Bezrukich (Lithuania)
Denis’ fascinating images on an animal sacrifice ritual really stepped beyond the realms of what the Scholarship usually receives. It was educational but not judgmental and sort to explain an often-misinterpreted element of ancient religions and faiths.
Ebrahim Moly (Egypt)
I almost found myself wanting to climb through the window in Ebrahim’s essay about computer instructor George and escape from his darkened apartment. The clever use of darkened walls and furniture gave the apartment a life of it’s own where George lives a symbiotic relationship.
Mohit Gupta (India)
I loved Mohit’s interpretation of Mughal pigeon racing in India it was subtle and yet concise with every image carrying equal weight. His use of varying perspectives strengthened the essay especially his long views that really created a sense of place.
The Shortlist (in alphabetical order)
Alexandra Jitaruic (Romania) – Dear Grandpa
Amanda Nielsen (USA) – Vestments by Visti
Bea Bermundo (Philippines) - Bahay Pag-ibig (House of Love)
Cameron Inniss (Australia) – Syd Sherrin
Connor Stefanison (Canada) – The Common Loon
Dana Felthauser (Korea) – Farming the Desert
Daniela Sala (Italy) – Belfast, chasing after the past
Genna Sozo (Australia) – Shelter from the Desert Sandstorm
Jessi Kingan (Iceland) - Iceland
John Deery (UK) – Sea Gypsies of Borneo
Kial Menadue (Australia) – Altered Perceptions
Moska Najib (Afghanistan) – The God of Niyamgiri
Rachel Woolf (USA) – Roger and Eleanor
Sophie Bolesworth (UK) – Exmoor Ponies
Susan Papazian (Australia) – Havana – An Unfulfilled Promise
Sudhyasheel Sen (India) – Solar Smiles in Suri
Final Thoughts from Jason Edwards
I am a happier albeit older man after this years Photography Scholarship judging! I’m happier because I have just enjoyed viewing a wonderful collection of stories and images that really lifted the bar on subject diversity on previous years. This however also meant the decision making process was exhaustive ergo me now feeling about a decade older. A positive way to gain a decade I guess!
I was also very happy to review the Finalist RAW files and see that there was an appropriate amount of post-production for the most part. However we did penalize some entries for excessive treatment and others for not supplying the RAWs at all. Overall it was incredibly interesting to see a dramatic shift in the images submitted once people realised they had to provide an unaltered file. In addition it is important to keep in mind the judging of the RAW files in comparison to the submitted entry, was just one of eleven criteria that I assessed.
As for the Captioning there was a marked improvement over previous years so well done! People might not realise that I enjoy learning about the images and what they represent so it can be quite frustrating when I’m interested to know more and there isn’t information forthcoming. Still, finalists lost valuable points for insufficient captions and that can be deadly in the final stages.
The Essay still creates a lot of angst; people just didn’t hit it this year. In the past I’ve thought “I could take those 20x people” if it were just about the Essay, but this year I really did have to grade the Finalists strictly as many ignored some or all of the criteria I requested. I think this will improve as the Captioning has but I was surprised to see this element go backwards.
There is always a lot of debate about the tone or subject matter of the entries and people often ask me if the story must feature a ‘negative’ element to win. NO, this has not been and will never be the case but here’s the thing, it’s what you guys give us!
Seriously, at a guess I would say more than 95% of all entries feature subject matter that will be distressing to many people. There are likely several reasons why we receive this type of entry, but we judge what we are given so it’s as simple as that. Just because it’s a ‘positive’ story does not automatically gain it a place in the finals. The same can be said for wildlife and landscape photography versus human-interest stories. We are inundated with ‘people’ stories so they seem to dominate the finalist list although this year we had a little bit more of a mix. Architecture, almost non-existent and I don’t know why.
In closing I’d like to congratulate 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. Thank you for your ongoing support and contributions they are genuinely appreciated.
Please remember, what is most important about your images is what you capture at the time, not what you do in postproduction. Enjoy your photography as a creative expression of who you are and your place in the world. I hope to see you all again for the next Scholarship!
For all of you aspiring creatives, check out our Scholarships page and sign up to hear about our latest opportunities, tips, advice and interviews with industry professionals in the fields of photography, travel writing and filmmaking.
And if you're lucky enough to be mentored by one of our industry professionals, it could kick start your career!
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