Photo Oxford Open Call Winners
Photo Oxford Open Call contest winners “celebrate women in all of their diversity, behind the camera and in front of it”
The organisers of Photo Oxford 2020 are proud to announce the results of the photography festival’s Open Call contest. The 40 entries, 20 each in the Experts’ Choice and Crowd Results categories, are extremely varied in content, style and artistic approach, yet all, as declared by the judging panel, “embody the spirit of the festival theme, Women and Photography: Ways of Seeing and Being Seen.”
In an incredible response, 330 photographers from the UK, Europe, the US, Australia and Asia took part, submitting 1,055 entries to the Photocrowd platform which hosted the contest, their works attracting 153,332 public votes.
Responding to the diverse array of entries and the images they selected, the expert judges collectively stated:
“The jury felt that the diversity and thought-provoking subjects of the selected works embody the spirit of the 2020 Photo Oxford festival Women and Photography: Ways of Seeing and Being Seen. The women in the photographs range from a young slave’s descendant in an empowered pose, to 72-year-old Janet, who until recently lived as a man, to a cancer patient contemplating her body,” adding:
“Some of the photographic subjects look back at the photographer confidently and others ignore them deliberately; the images vary greatly in style and concept; the photographers are based in different countries, and they include women as well as men, of different ages. Like the festival, the awarded works celebrate women in all their diversity - in front of the camera and behind it.”
The 40 selected works will be exhibited for public view at arts organisation OVADA in Oxford for the duration of the Photo Oxford 2020 festival (subject to Covid-19 restrictions), October 16 to November 16 2020. There will also be an online exhibition. Prizes in the Expert Choice category include a portfolio review with Alamy, and a place at a Photo Oxford open discussion with members of the judging panel (subject to Covid-19 restrictions).
Summary of top winners for each category:
The top ten Expert Choices are summarised below, and an additional 50 images were shortlisted or commended by the judges (click here for details of all works in the category, with reviews, artists’ stories and bios, and email email@example.com for image files):
1st Elisa Moris Vai, National Narrative - Christelle
National Narrative - Christelle Photo © elisa
The work is part of a series mixing documentary and fiction to reflect on the space left in French society for the descendants of slaves. Working from 18th Century paintings depicting the families of wealthy ship owners and industrialists, the fictional pictures question the legitimacy of that wealth.
Judges’ remark: Judges’ remarks: The woman in the chair is proud and the impression is one of empowerment. It seems that we have a fine example of a collaboration between the photographer and the subject, making way for a performative element and the convocation of history.
2nd Emma L Wilson, Janet dressing as a bride
Janet dressing as a bride From the series _Dammit Janet I Love you_ Photo © Emma L Wilson
From the series "Dammit Janet I Love you" Janet's dream is to find and marry the perfect man. Much of her time is spent preparing for this momentous event.
Judges’ remark: This series challenges perceptions of class and gender in modern day Britain and is a powerful reminder of the physical and emotional challenges that transgender people face on a daily basis.
3rd Ron Evans, A Woman of Independent Means
A Woman of Independent Means Photo © Ron Evans
Judges’ remark: This photograph conveys a strangely surreal and mysterious atmosphere, while raising questions about portraiture, female identity and the photographic medium.
4th Lauren Foster, Mum and I in bed
Self Portrait as a Victorian Woman in Mourning Photo © Sue Ridge
The top ten winners are below (click here full details of these plus the shortlisted images which have been selected for exhibition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for image files):
1st Mirja Maria Thiel Lilly and Waltraud from the series ‘All This Love’
Family of Three Photo © cathlinm
About the Photo Oxford Open Call contest
Photographers of all genders and from any kind of photography practice were invited to respond to the theme, Women and Photography: Ways of Seeing and Being Seen, as widely as possible. The challenge was to interpret the theme in an original, imaginative way.
The judging panel included the acclaimed British artist Cornelia Parker, Dr Lena Fritsch, the Ashmolean Museum’s curator of modern and contemporary art, Taous Dahmani, PhD Fellow, the Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris, Katy Barron, the Michael Hoppen Gallery photography curator and senior director, Alamy stock photography agency commercial director Alan Capel, and Sian Davey, fine art photographer and humanist psychotherapist.
Global photography platform Photocrowd hosted the competition and the Crowd Results category was through its online community.
Prizes for images selected by the judging panel included £750 cash, three years’ no-fee Alamy membership, one portfolio review with a senior member of the Alamy content team, one year’s top-tier membership of Photocrowd, and a place at an open discussion/workshop with members of the judging panel (subject to Covid-19 restrictions). The Crowd Vote winner received £250 cash and similar additional benefits.
The top 40 photographs will be exhibited for public view at arts organisation OVADA in Oxford for the duration of the Photo Oxford 2020 festival (subject to Covid-19 restrictions). Photo Oxford will meet the costs of printing and exhibiting the works.
All 40 winning photographs will also be exhibited online, accessible through the Photo Oxford and OVADA websites, and promoted by Photo Oxford to its extensive online communities.
Photo Oxford 2020 October 16 to November 16, 2020 in various venues and public spaces across Oxford and online. The festival celebrates Women and Photography: Ways of Seeing and Being Seen. Exhibits and events across the city will explore the achievements and challenges for women, both behind and in front of the lens, including the problems of representation, women as photographers, collectors and curators, and photographic techniques. The festival also coincides with the centenary of women graduating from the University of Oxford.