The winners of the fourth annual Minimalist Photography Awards have been announced, and continue to back up the idea that less can sometimes be more.
The non-profit competition, initially created by B&W Minimalist Magazine and now in its fourth year, is designed to “recognize, reward, and expose talented photographers all around the world and introduce them to the professional photography industry.” The competition has continued to impress viewers with a celebration of everything “simple” proving just how important composition is to art.
The 2022 edition of the minimalist photography awards has grown with over 3,400 photographs entered for consideration in 12 categories from photographers located in 43 different countries.
The overall winner this year was Daniel Dencescu from Germany with his series entered in the Abstract category. Along with the honor and recognition associated with the competition, Dencesecu will take home $2,000 in prize money and be able to sell the series as an NFT.
“I want to describe the murmurations of starlings as an elegant dance. There’s certainly something mesmerizing in how these birds move – a vast, impromptu choreography, each bird part of something vastly bigger than themselves. The colossal organic shapes that form have an inherent beauty, but here we see many unexpected coincidences. Photographed all my murmurations series against a flat, cloudless sky the resulting images are undiluted. Sparse and beautiful, letting place for a lot of interpretations. The dawn cream color palette for my calligraphic photographs is based on the works of surrealist painter René Magritte and the master Irving Penn,” he says.
“I have spent more than 200 hours on the field chasing and photographing the starlings, all of the scenes are real. The term “murmuration” comes from the fact that thousands of wings flapping at once give a murmur-like sound. Grouping together offers safety in numbers – predators such as peregrine falcons find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands. The starlings also gather to keep warm at night and to exchange information, such as good feeding areas. I always search where their roosting site could be, this is where they perform their wheeling stunts before they roost for the night. There is no leader in a murmuration, the flock behaves as one single entity. To stay united through the different escape patterns, each bird tracks and mimics the behavior of seven neighbors. The group can adapt quickly by focusing on a fixed number of birds, becoming dense or sparse, splitting and changing shape. Starling murmurations occur mostly at dusk, when the birds gather together for the night. With these series I want to reveal the hidden beauty of common things shown from an unusual perspective of an elegant dance.”
Below are the winners of the remaining categories.
Photographer: Tamás Wachsler
Title: After a long day
Description: “Visitors of the Hungarian Parliament, after a strenuous walk have some rest on the roof of the visitors’ centre”
Photographer: Daniel Franc
Title: A river in Southern Iceland
Description: “This very very long black sand beach (you need to walk a trail for a couple kilometers from the nearest road to get there) is especially fascinating on gloomy days like this. Add the river and cover it with a bit of grass and moss in the late Autumn colors (which is September, in Iceland) and you get a truly ethereal scenery like out of this world.”
Photographer: Daniel Fisher
Title: Cluster One
Description: “This is an underpass to a road bridge made from precast concrete sections. I walk under it to work and the scale of it and how brutal it feels against the river and nature reserve surrounding it always surprises me. It looks especially sc-fi in the fog (from various angles) as it disappears into the distance.”
Photographer: Allen Koppe
Title: in Time
Description: “I have always been drawn to minimal uncomplicated imagery. I like the simplicity and balanced harmony of minimalist photography where elements are arranged in a manner that removes the noise and clutter of our everyday world and allows the unique subjects, shapes and forms to be revealed in quiet isolation.
With this series of works I have sought to create a pictorial fable, a myth where the imagery sits between reality and the imagined.
The use of collage and the re-assembling and layering of photographic elements helps to shape the narrative. These images are a contemplation of isolation, a depiction of a surreal, future world where majestic animals are seemingly lost amongst the remnants of the human juggernaut.
The power of the works can be found in their representation of the sanctity of nature, the beauty of the natural world and its vulnerability to the environment impact that human’s have on the planet.”
Photographer: Natalie Christensen
Title: Last Night I Dreamt I Knew How to Swim
Description: “The first pool I remember was the one I fell into as a small child. It was at an apartment complex that my young parents lived in. I recall falling in, opening my eyes, and seeing the color of the water and the reflection of sunlight shimmering in my field of vision. My mother pulled me out. I was around four years old. Eventually I became a good enough swimmer and spent the summers of my childhood and adolescence in any pool I could find.
My parents were divorced by the time I was eight years old and I spent every other weekend with my dad. Back then he lived in apartment complexes; some of which had pools. My father would let my brother and me play for hours. And during the winter he would take us to hotels that had indoor pools. These stays helped us avoid the sense of loss.
My father’s business endeavors were prone to sudden changes. When times were good, he lived in luxurious homes; the best ones had pools. But when the tides would turn, the moves came abruptly. There were 11 homes in 10 years. And sometimes the pools went dry.
I came to learn that the presence of a pool was a distraction from how impermanent things actually were. Underneath, there loomed an impending sense that everything could be lost. Stable could quickly become unstable, and suddenly we were in over our heads. Yet the pool was always seductive. There was a comfort in the stillness of its waters, albeit a calm that couldn’t be trusted.
Now, I look at pools as windows into my past, and insights into my present. Beyond their surfaces, the depths of my discoveries are seemingly infinite.”
Photographer: Tara Workman
Title: Simple Elegance
Description: “Like most of us, sand dunes have been shaped by their environment, but we all have different sides and moods we show. With this collection I have chosen to highlight the dunes’ graceful curves and their softer sultry side. Each image in its abstractness has its own unique story to tell and through their subtle lines and curves they exude both simplicity and elegance alike.”
Photographer: Martin Annand
Description: “an impromptu photoshoot at the huts”
Photographer: Brian Kosoff
Title: Night Series
Description: “Keeping my self busy on clear nights. Film captures.”
Photographer: Guido Klumpe
Title: Small additions
Description: “A Series of juxta positions in our urban environment. Here, I was all about the little details that turn a mundane scene into something completely new.”
Photographer: Benjamin Briones Grandi
Description: “This series is a representation of our inner landscapes using composite photography. The work is inspired from two sources: One is “The Mansions”, written by St. Teresa of Ávila. The second inspiration comes from the mechanisms used by the human brain to integrate memories, to dream, and overcome traumas. The images are a result of playing with perspective, time, scale, and colors. It is a construct made out of pieces from real places put together using imagination and dreams. A rather healing combination.”
Photographer: Fredrik Gille
Title: Dancers in Black & White
Description: “Dancers in this series: William Dugan, So-Yeon Kim, Madeline Woo.”
To see all of the winning images for each series as well as the additional finishers, be sure to visit the full 2022 Winners Gallery on the Minimalist Photography Awards website.
Image credits: All photos credited individually, used courtesy of the Minimalist Photography Awards.