Photo by Jake Salyers
We have to admit, each year you all make our job just a little bit harder – and this year, you blew the judges away - out of their chairs and across the world on your photographic journeys.
Not only did you manage to double the amount of entries from last year, but the quality, scope of diversity and depth of story of your entries was truly phenomenal.
The pool of talent and creativity that you bring to the Travel Photography Scholarship inspires us to keep creating these experiences and continually build the program.
On behalf of World Nomads and National Geographic Channel we would like to thank you all for sharing the world through your lenses.
Announcing the winner of the 2012 Travel Photography Scholarship....
Jake Salyers (USA)
Congratulations Jake on your wonderful series The Spaza Life! Jakes images simply yet beautifully capture the essence of life of a small community caught between the desires for the trappings of the 21st century and the struggle of everyday life in an impoverished community. Using natural light to its best advantage and letting the moment speak for and of itself were key to the success of Jake’s images.
Jake, you will be joining Jason Edwards on assignment in Oman next month to find out what life is really like for a Nat Geo photographer in the field!
UPDATE! Read Jake's blog and check out his photos on assignment in Oman.
Gunta Podina (Sweden)
I loved Gunta’s series on Sweden and her interesting interpretation of Lagom within Sweden. Beautifully composed and transparent in their content they made me feel like I was on the journey with her. I felt a little awkward as if invading a private place but also curious and enlightened by the references to Swedish culture.
Pascal Fiechter (Taiwan)
Pascal’s images of a traditional boat burning ceremony have a strong reportage flavor that cemented the dry heat and obvious religious significance to the local community in place. Harsh, washed-out light left as it was and not abused in postproduction, great stuff! Good use of an obviously flat and two-dimensional scene.
Maggie McKay (Australia)
Countless times in presentations I’ve suggested people should shoot stories locally “even their Laundromat”! Maggie managed this and very successfully, well done! I thoroughly enjoyed this essay and how it can be related to by almost anybody. Great composition just screaming, “This is a place I have visited!”
The Shortlist (in alphabetical order)
Adam Gillespie (USA) – Two Years in Iraq
Belinda Scott (Australia) – Power of the Huayhuash
Ben Hogarth (Australia) – Living with the Suri Tribe
Bogdan Comansecu (Romania) – Ancient Crafts in Transylvania
Brett Star (Australia) – A View of the City Jakarta
Catherine Lara (USA) – enVision
Charlene Winfred (Australia) – International Indian Finals Rodeo
Franc Pallarès – The Nomads of Kham
Ivana Visilj (Croatia) – An Afternoon in Sarajevo
Jasmine Hoey (Australia) – As seen by me
Marcelo Quiñones (Mexico) – Tarahumaras
Mary Ann Macatigbac (UAE) – A Life of Fishing
Matt Paish (UK) – Children of Pyongyang
Nicolas Grundy (Australia) - Mueller Hut, New Zealand
Patrick Roy (Canada) – The art of Kushti wrestling
Ralph Emil Espada (Philippines) – Wawa Dam
Robert Brienza (New Zealand) – The Locals of Muriwai
Shu Yeung (Australia) – Sydney University Gymnastics Club
Simon Ward (UK) – The streets of Istanbul
Suzie Colledge (UK) – Meeting Lillian Murphy
Thomas Brown (Australia) – Sight & Soundless
Troels Kølln (Denmark) - Guatemala
Victoria Bergallo (Argentina) – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
Final Thoughts from Jason Edwards
I am exhausted! We had a record number of entries and my thanks go out to the judging panel for their enormous efforts in selecting the broad range of finalists for me to examine and pull apart. Likewise, I also judged a larger number of entries in parallel with the increased size of our event.
My first thought and this has become an annual occurrence, is how I wish I could take many people with me. This is the bittersweet irony of the Scholarship and my heart breaks for those entries that must be culled as the judging process progresses. If it is any consolation the passion that goes into your work does not go unnoticed.
It is truly inspiring to see how determined people are to do positive things in the world with their photography and how much it means to them. It is also humbling that so many people wish to share my experiences and knowledge, thank you! I have commented over the years that we have formed quite literally, a community of photography lovers and this year our community grew again. The support everyone showed for the entrants was wonderful and I’m heartened by the genuine praise people offer to other photographers all with varying levels of skill and experience.
So here are a few thoughts from this year’s judging. There was a far greater diversity in subject matter and locations and the story telling was more honed. The captions were better but for many this still let them down. As I’d previously posted “I love this shot!” Is not a caption it’s an opinion, especially when it’s about your own work!” Also, a Title is not a caption, it’s a Title!
The essay still seems to confuse many people even some of those who were selected for final judging. Never use your 1200 character essay to post links to your other images; you are being judged on the ones that you submitted! Read the guidelines and what I am asking for. Seriously, it’s about YOU so that should be easy, but also about what you hope to gain from the overall experience and from me.
As in past years the use of postproduction techniques killed many submissions. Some people overly treated every image, others just one or two. This is the one competition on the planet where your ability with a computer will not guarantee you success. Don’t use post-production pre-sets to make your images look like they were shot on film, go out and SHOOT ON FILM! Just because someone made it to the final round does not mean the level of treatment was acceptable only that I marked them down for it when I took over the judging.
This is a learning scholarship, a chance for an amateur photographer to learn new skills and build on existing ones. It’s not an opportunity for professional photographers to get more kudus when their sales are down. That sounds brutal and it is. I’m desperate to find the right person who will get the most out of my time and learn from me whilst I create material for a variety of National Geographic divisions. I’m working; it’s not about me standing there whilst you shoot a story! Finalists were removed from contention if we deemed them to be professional or if we felt they would not benefit in the way we hoped from the Scholarship. Winning the Scholarship is not simply a matter of selecting the best imagery but in finding the individual we felt would benefit the most from time spent with me.
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. 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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