Syngenta Photography Award 2015 Winners Announced
The winners of the Syngenta Photography Award 2015 were announced last night at an awards ceremony at Somerset House, London. The Berlin-based American photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz was selected as the winner of the Professional Commission category, and German photographer Benedikt Partenheimer was announced as the winner of the Open Competition.
In response to this year’s theme of ‘Scarcity-Waste’, Mustafah Abdulaziz was selected by an international jury chaired by photography writer and curator, William A. Ewing for his ongoing Water series – a photographic exploration of a natural resource in crisis. Shot in India, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, the project has received support from United Nations, WaterAid, and VSCO, amongst others. In addition to the US$15,000 cash prize, Abdulaziz will receive a grant worth US$25,000 to complete a new commission in which he will extend his study on the depletion and misuse of water in his home state of California.
The second prize of US$10,000 in the Professional Commission has been awarded to Rasel Chowdhury (Bangladesh) for his project ‘Desperate Urbanization’, and the third prize of US$5,000 went to Richard Allenby-Pratt (UK) for his series ‘Consumption.’
Benedikt Partenheimer received US$5,000 for his winning image in the Open Competition. Shijiazhuang, AQI 360 is a panoramic shot of the barely visible Shijiazhuang skyline disappearing in its own air pollution. Taken from the series ‘Particulate Matter’, the acronym AQI used in the title of the photographs stands for "Air Quality Index" and indicates the degree of air pollution – in this case 360, which is a ‘hazardous’ level.
The second and third prize in the Open Competition have been awarded to Camille Michel (France) and Stefano De Luigi (Italy), who received a cash prize of US$3,000 and US$2,000 respectively.
Karen Irvine, jury member and host of tonight’s award ceremony, said: “There were a great number of rigorously executed photographic projects submitted to the Syngenta Photography Award this year. Our first place winners, Mustafah Abdulaziz and Benedikt Partenheimer share not only a common occupation but also a deep engagement with humanity. Mustafah Abdulaziz’s photographs not only document the water deficit but also illustrate its human impact in very personal, intimate portraits. Benedikt Partenheimer’s image was chosen as the winner of the Open Competition for its remarkable ability to tell a full story in one photograph, that of the acute air pollution that is enveloping major cities after rapid development. I am delighted to have been part of the team that has honoured these talented photographers with the Syngenta Photogr aphy Awa rd, a prize that is helping to raise awareness of pressing issues such as resource scarcity and global waste.”
The photographs by the six finalists will be included in The Syngenta Photography Award ‘Scarcity-Waste’ exhibition at Somerset House from 11 March – 10 April 2015.