2023 Open Call Winners

Photo Oxford Online Exhibition


The world is in flux - everything is changing at almost every level of our daily lives. The jurors for this year's Open Call were looking for work that documented ‘personal inventories of experience’ which ties in with the Festival’s theme - ‘The Hidden Power of the Archive’.

We wanted to see how the world looked to our entrants right now. Fresh, energetic and connected to the great themes of our age: identity, climate change, Covid, sexuality, the domestic landscape, work (or lack of it), inflation, power (and shortages of it) and democracy for starters. But what is in their ‘personal inventory’ that speaks to their recent experience? We asked to see tomorrow’s archives being formed today.

We welcomed photographers from over 60 countries who submitted 9,000 images. Our stellar panel of jurors selected the following images. As well as being exhibited online here, these images are also on show at The Yard, Modern Art Oxford from 4 April to 14 May 2023.

2023 Open Call Jurors:

Alicia Colen, Director, Howard Greenberg Gallery, NYC

Matthew Finn, Photographer

Jermaine Francis, Photographer

Emily Graham, Magnum Cultural Commissions and Partnerships and Photographer

Kalpesh Lathigra, Photographer

Andrée Latham, Curator, Digital Content, Modern Art Oxford

Phillip Roberts, Bodleian Library Curator of Photography

Project winner

Congratulations Simen Lambrecht, with his project, The Art of Living Twice:

Rereading the letters my grandma had sent me before her terminal cancer diagnosis reconfigured the landscape I escaped from as a teenager. The stillness of the fields and small winding roads between them had never been interesting to me. Neither were the traditions, rituals, habits and people. Until she died. This project is about the memory of her, my grandma, who lived 82 years in the same village, and our relationship.

Follow @simenk.lambrecht

Margriet © Simen Lambrecht
Picknick © Simen Lambrecht
© Simen Lambrecht
© Simen Lambrecht 
© Simen Lambrecht
Rollator © Simen Lambrecht 

Project runners-up

Shou-An Chiang


My project uses self-ethnography research and analogue photography to attempt to trace the rich yet complex cultural history of Taiwan post-colonialism, exploring such issues as the family role in Taiwan society, women's history and the food culture, collective memory as well as the impact of the mass media evolution. Through the skills taught by my grandmother, I reproduce these memory-filled boxes using photographic paper. Throughout specific darkroom techniques, I preserve every fold and fingerprint of the origami in light and shadow. In this way, while the photograph is perceived as an embodiment of memory, it also stands as a testament to Tsuá-kheh-á rich historical culture, raising crucial questions about cultural disappearance under the new media and the role of women in Taiwan's history.


© Shou-An Chiang, Tsuá-kheh-á, 2022
©  Shou-An Chiang, Tsuá-kheh-á, 2022

Kavi Pujara

This Golden Mile

This Golden Mile documents the migration histories of Indians over successive waves of migration from the State of Gujarat India to one neighbourhood in Leicester. Made over 5 years as Britain pivoted toward anti-immigrant popularism, it attempts to redefine the city as I moved back to the neighbourhood I grew up in after 30 years away. The waves of Indian migration to Leicester have taken many routes: Some came directly from India in the 50s. In the 60s and 70s, Indians arrived from East Africa, including many, like my parents, from Uganda, after Idi Amin expelled them in 72. In the 2010s, Indians from former Portuguese colonies in Gujarat settled in Britain by way of their EU passports. I was born in the 70s, just 10 mins from the Golden Mile. It was a time when overt acts of racism, being spat at or chased by the National Front was normal, when being told to ‘Go back home’ was everyday. It's why I escaped the city after I turned 18. That same prejudice and bigotry was echoed decades later in the language of pro-Brexit campaigns just as I returned to the city with my young family. Making pictures here has been a way to reconnect with the community I grew up in, which as an adult, I felt I no longer knew.


© Kavi Pujara, This Golden Mile, 2022
© Kavi Pujara, This Golden Mile, 2022

Vincen Beeckman

Inside Diary

For more than two years Vincen Beeckman has worked with the group of creatives, who are considered to be outsider artists, at La S Grand Atelier in Belgium. His intention was one of profound curiosity. He wanted to understand the creative process of artists who are diagnosed with mental disability and are considered not capable of surviving on their own in a complex and competitive world of today. 


© Vincen Beeckman, Inside diary 2022
© Vincen Beeckman, Inside diary 2022

Owen McCarter

The Three Eyed Fish

The river winds through the hills like a caught snake. Its dark body, twisting back and forth. Its mouth is always open, always swallowing. I remember when we made our own fishing rods and caught trout in the bend by the old church. We returned home beaming, holding their lifeless bodies like treasured silver. It was then that we learned more about our river, that we had killed the animals, but we could not eat them. That the mud around our ankles and on our arms was contaminated sediment. Like a day in English class we memorized new vocabulary: superfund site, bioaccumulation, Polychlorinated Biphenyl. The list went on and on, but one word stuck out. My grandfather had recently died because of this word, so I knew it. Cancer. This project centers on the Housatonic River and pollution caused by the General Electric superfund site at the river’s source. 


© Owen McCarter, Housatonic River, 2022
© Owen McCarter, Housatonic River, 2022

Lydia Goldblatt

Mother Tongue, from the series Fugue

Mother Tongue comprises text and images drawn from a larger body of work, entitled Fugue, made between 2020 and 2022, ongoing. Fugue draws on mothering as a central theme, and is driven by the need to explore fundamental themes of intimacy, claustrophobia, love and loss. The series is prefaced by the loss of my own mother, and the experience of becoming a mother myself. Mother Tongue is one of a number of lyrical passages that I have written for the series, exploring the narratives underpinning, but not described, in the images. Here, I have interwoven a small constellation of images with the text as an integrated artwork.


© Lydia Goldblatt, Mother Tongue, from the series fugue, 2022
© Lydia Goldblatt, Mother Tongue, from the series fugue, 2022

Giulia Parlato


Through Diachronicles (2019-2022), artist Giulia Parlato critically investigates the key role played by archaeology and the museum space in constructing our historical knowledge, as well as photography as an evidentiary tool. Her series of images is presented as a visual archive of fragments and works of artistic and cultural value, sites of historical interest, excavation diaries, dioramas, and museum displays. The entire project, in fact, skilfully mixes document and fiction: authentic artefacts, objects purposefully created by the artist, as well as historical fakes, are offered to our gaze and placed in situ, in irrelevant contexts or even within photographic sets.


© Giulia Parlato, Diachronicles, 2022
© Giulia Parlato, Diachronicles, 2022

Wolfgang Schwan

Ukraine's War

In early January, 2022 I travelled to eastern Ukraine for the first time with the intention of covering an environmental story. Instead I found myself covering daily life in the trenches of Donbas for the next two months. Over this time I developed a deep appreciation for the hospitality and generosity of Ukrainians. I decided to stay once the war broke out on Feb. 24 and work covering breaking news and daily life throughout 2022. This story is an overview of my coverage spanning eight months in Ukraine in 2022.


© Wolfgang Schwan, Ukraine's War, 2022
© Wolfgang Schwan, Ukraine's War, 2022

Ioanna Sakellaraki

The Seven Circuits of a Pearl

The Seven Circuits of a Pearl is a journey through the early Australian pearling industry; one of explorers, forced labour, piracy, shipwrecks, cyclones, death, wealth, secrecy and power. The story begins on the Torres Strait Islands of Far North Queensland and continues on the Western Australian coast, where people for thousands of years have shared a sense of fascination with pearls and pearl shell as objects of desire and personal adornment, combing the waters of the ocean in search of these precious gems which unlike others are the products of living animals; the mollusks. Like another living vessel of refracted time and memory, the archive of the journeys for pearls sails me back to the journeys of my late father as seen through his own personal archives during his time as a sailor and later on marine engineer in the faraway lands he explored. Driven by curiosity and captivated by the trove of an image of a woman with a pearl necklace found in them, I begin the journey towards the painful discovery of my father’s ex-wife and mother of a half-brother I have never met.


© Ioanna Sakellaraki, The seven circuits of a pearl, 2022
© Ioanna Sakellaraki, The seven circuits of a pearl, 2022

Single image Winner

© Anne-Sophie Guillet, Single-image winner

Congratulations Anne-Sophie Guillet, with her winning image, Nick and Martin, from her series Together:

Anne-Sophie Guillet suggests that we change our perceptions and attitudes toward emotionality, friendship, and sex as we relate to others and ourselves. She questions social injunctions - the heteronormative codes that weigh on us and regiment our lives and relationships.

View Anne-Sophie Gullet website

Single image runners-up

© Francis Augusto, Yasmin, 2022

Francis Augusto

In The Mirror

‘In the Mirror’ (working title) explores the relationship between the human body and the self, through photographic and audio mediums. The relationship between our body and ourselves is the most intimate and long-lasting relationship we have. It’s a connection that continually adapts the older we grow, reflecting different moments in our lives. Usually, the first thing we see, our physical form is a deeply ingrained facet of our identity. Altered purposefully by us or by uncontrollable circumstances, our bodies are often a result of our choices. In many cases, how we physically look depicts how we feel, how we treat ourselves, or how life has treated us. 


© Ole Brodersen, Untitled 2022

Ole Brodersen

Time by the Sea - Untitled

Walter Benjamin claimed that photography was in a special position when it came to reproducing the original and authentic. The photograph could, in fact, "by means of methods such as magnification or fast exposure, retain images which simply evade natural optics." The ability to see the invisible through photographic technology has resulted in a unique interplay between human and mechanical optics - an interplay dominating several scientific fields. I have worked with a series of triple exposures, taken from the shore to the sea, on Jomfruland (Virgin Land). The camera is in a fixed place through all the exposures, and the images will therefore, at first glance, be misleading. But gradually one will notice that they are made up of several layers with cloud formations and wave patterns.


© Antonina Mamzenko, Thalassotherapy 2, 2021

Antonina Mamzenko

Thalassotherapy 2

The term ‘thalassotherapy’ (using seawater for health benefits) is a long-lived practice that dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Sea swimming has been linked to stimulating the parasympathetic system which is responsible for rest and repair and can trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin, and reducing levels of cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’. It is sometimes said to be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild depression. 


© Hanna Wolf, Nourished, 2022

Hanna Wolf
Halifax, Nova Scotia


In 2022, my daughter suffered a significant birth trauma that caused her to be born without blood in her body. Immediately taken to special care, I was not only unable to hold her after her birth but spent several hours alone in a hospital room, unsure whether she was alive. Later we met through the walls of an incubator, where a stranger's blood was slowly pumped into her fragile body and her brain was being constantly monitored for signs of life.


© Anthony Gebrehiwot, The Power of a Hug, 2022

Anthony Gebrehiwot

The Power of a Hug

Gebrehiwot seeks to communicate without language in an intimate and vulnerable way: through photography, he portrays the vocabulary of race, masculinity, history, perception, and vulnerability.


© Matt MacPake, Breakfast at Nana's, 2018

Matt MacPake
Carlisle, UK

Breakfast at Nana's

I've been documenting both my daughter and son since the day they were born. This started as a concern over their family archive, would they have the shoe boxes of photographs I had to go through growing up? I wanted to make sure that still existed for them. In recent times I wanted to photograph my children as they grew. Dottie has speech and language difficulties due to a genetic disorder called Mowat-Wilson syndrome and my son Roo is awaiting an autism diagnosis but both are, for now, mostly unaware of these challenges and they don't let anything get in their way. Like all children, they take each step with curiosity, laughter and love.


© Julianna Foster, Untitled, 2022

Julianna Foster


Geographical Lore, salt mountain


© Lucy Bentham, This is me, then, June 10th 2022

Lucy Bentham
Bristol, UK

This is me, then

For the past couple of years I have had a balance disorder that is slowly leaving me, but only through utterly exhausting perseverance and hard work. Because of this, and extending the seclusion of COVID-19 lockdowns, I have been restricted to making work either at home or within a short walking distance, if I want to make work unsupervised in case I fall or panic. This image sums up each emotion I have struggled with during this time; fed up of feeling constantly terrified, I had heard that gardening goes some way to cure depression because of the microorganisms and bacteria contained in the earth, so I manually dug a huge hole in the garden to make way for a patio, swaying, the world moving, and, when I finished, I embraced that pile of dirt. Stubborn determination has got me through the past few years, and it got me through digging that hole, but I can't wait for the day I can relax, with no need to be so furiously determined to survive.


© Adrian Alarcon Sanchez, Big Hug, 2021

Adrian Alarcon Sanchez

Big Hug

In this picture we can see 4 queer bodies, giving each other love and affection. Queer intimacy is often read as depravation, but we as queer people we choose our family and we choose love and affection over the hate we experience out of our bubble. Often this kind of intimacy is read as sexual or romantic, these four people are just friends resting their bodies in the arms of each other. 


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View the full 2023 programme here