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Incredible portrait photography wins top prize at ZEISS Photography Award 2020

Incredible portrait photography wins top prize at ZEISS Photography Award 2020
(Image credit: KyeongJun Yang, Korea (Republic of), Winner, ZEISS Photography Award)

The World Photography Organization has recently announced the winner and shortlist of the fifth annual ZESS Photography Award. KyeongJun Yang from South Korea grabbed the top spot with his series Metamorphosis, which explores the immigrant experience through both still life and portrait photography. 

This year's brief asked photographers to submit a series of works focused on the theme of discoveries that transform our everyday lives. These could range from personal revelations to scientific and technological breakthroughs or ideas that lead to social change.

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Winner KyeongJun Yang shot a series of black & white photos that followed Julie Chen, a young woman who emigrated to the USA from Mainland China at the age of 12 following her parents' separation. Each image is also paired with quotes from Chen related to her experiences as an immigrant, feelings of loneliness and conflicted sense of identity. 

Yang commented on his win, saying: "Winning this award still feels like a dream. I am glad not only because I've won, but also because now I know I'm not the only person who likes my images. I'm happy my photographs have been enjoyed by others, somehow they don't seem as lonely anymore." 

KyeongJun Yang: "Julie shows one of her worst memories in middle school. 'I used to hate my mono lids. They defined me before I could define myself in this foreign country. I didn't want to stay as a foreigner.'" (Image credit: KyeongJun Yang, Korea (Republic of), Winner, ZEISS Photography Award)

KyeongJun Yang will receive €12,000 worth of ZEISS lenses of his choice and €3,000 to cover costs for a photography project. 

Judge Max Ferguson commented on the still life and portrait photography that Yang submitted, "The use of subtle, personal images of the subject lets us get a glimpse into the life of a young Chinese American woman… For me, this work stood out from the other submissions we judged as it was clear that although these were documentary photographs, there was a conceptual underpinning to them that opened up more questions than answers…"

Even though KyeongJun Yang's portrait photography scooped him the top prize, there were plenty of other exciting images that made the shortlist as well. Find out more at the World Photo website, or see more of the shortlisted photos below.

(Image credit: Luisa Dorr, Brazil, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award 2020)

(Image credit: Alena Zhandarova, Russian Federation, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award 2020)

(Image credit: Pan Wang, China Mainland, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award 2020)

(Image credit: Luisa Dorr, Brazil, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award 2020)

(Image credit: Alexey Vasilyev, Russian Federation, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award 2020)

(Image credit: Stefano Sbrulli, Italy, Shortlist, ZEISS Photography Award 2020)

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  • denniswilliams
    Truly underwhelming. Certainly defends the argument that top gear cannot save meh content.

    Unless of course "incredible" means something else in the author's native language.
    Reply