Photo competition reveals the hidden beauty of the concrete jungle

Concrete in Life 2021 photo competition winner
(Image credit: Mario Pereda/Business Wire)

Concrete is not usually known as one of the most photogenic subjects in the world, but a the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) photo competition aims to show the building material in a new light. 

Over 13,500 entries from around the world were submitted to the competition by professional and amateur photographers world wide in this year's competition, Concrete in Life 2021.

Agung Lawerissa was named the overall winner for his enticing photograph of children playing football on the shore in front of the iconic Merah Putih Bridge – which connects the Leihitu Peninsula and the Lei Timur Peninsula in Indonesia.

Concrete in Life 2021 Overall Winner (and Urban Concrete Category Winner)

Overall Winner (and Urban Concrete Category Winner): Agung Lawerissa Merah Putih Bridge in Indonesia (Image credit: Agung Lawerissa/Business Wire)

Entrants were tasked with capturing what concrete means to people around the world across four categories – Urban Concrete, Concrete Infrastructure, Concrete in Daily Life and Sustainable Concrete. Photos ranged from urban scenes to playparks, from beautiful architecture to essential transport networks, and from the modern wonders we can see to the hidden infrastructure often out of sight.

The new sustainable concrete category was added for the 2021 competition to showcase how concrete is used to underpin sustainable communities across the world. The competition to celebrate concrete coincided with the launch by the GCCA of a global industry commitment and roadmap for net zero concrete by 2050.

The winners of the photography sustainability category were Hakan Çöplü in the amateur category, for his compelling photograph of a man scrambling across a sea defense in Turkey; and Rahmad Himawan in the professional category, for his stunning photograph of rice fields in an agricultural area of Indonesia with a small concrete road, enabling key farming activities to take place and supporting the community to thrive.

The overall winner takes the top prize of $10,000, with each of the category winners receiving $2,500. 

Sustainable Concrete Professional Winner: Rahmad Himawan Kemumu, Indonesia. (Image credit: Rahmad Himawan/Business Wire)

Sustainable Concrete Amateur Winner: Hakan Çöplü Sea defences, Istanbul, Turkey (Image credit: Hakan Çöplü/Business Wire)

Concrete in Daily Life Professional Winner: Niyazi Gürgen Village in Anatolia, Turkey (Image credit: Niyazi Gürgen/Business Wire)

Urban Concrete Professional Winner: Michael Sidharta The Interlace, Singapore (Image credit: Michael Sidharta/Business Wire)

Concrete Infrastructure Professional Winner: Sara Goli Chitgar Complex, Iran (Image credit: Sara Goli/Business Wire)

Urban Concrete Amateur Winner: Mario Pereda Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre, Avilés, Spain (Image credit: Mario Pereda/Business Wire)

Concrete in Daily Life Amateur Winner: Amri Arfianto Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, UAE (Image credit: Amri Arfianto/Business Wire)

GCCA CEO Thomas Guillot said: “The winners of the competition have shown beautifully how closely we live and interact with concrete. Some of the photos were spectacular and some focused more on the everyday, and how concrete enables our lives across the planet.

“Concrete will play a key role in our sustainable future, so we are thrilled the competition captured the imagination from almost every corner of the world. We give our thanks to all those who entered and congratulate our deserved winners.”

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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.