HUMAN — NATURE
2023 Open Call Winners Announced
Kranj Foto Fest’s Open Call on the theme of “Human – Nature” has received an incredible response, with 656 entries from 90 countries across six continents. We would like to thank all the participants for submitting their projects.
After carefully reviewing all 656 entries, the jury, consisting of Bertan Selim (Founder of Vid Foundation), Dominique Hildebrand (Photo Editor at National Geographic Magazine), Michael Famighetti (Editor at Aperture), Michaela Bosáková (Independent Curator at Month of Photography of Bratislava), Barbara Čeferin (Founder of Galerija Fotografija and Board Member of Kranj Foto Fest), Ciril Jazbec (Photographer and Board Member of Kranj Foto Fest), and Fernanda Prado Verčič (Director of Kranj Foto Fest), has decided to award 20 projects: one winner, one special mention, and 18 shortlisted.
We congratulate all the selected photographers! For those who have not been chosen this year, we encourage you to apply again in 2024. Please scroll down to get to know all the photographers exhibiting as part of the programme of Kranj Foto Fest 2023.
Amina Kadous (b. 1991, Egypt)
Series “White Gold”
According to the jury, Amina Kadous submitted an intelligent, multilayered project that connected her family’s history with larger cultural, economic, and environmental concerns. “White Gold” directly relates to the theme of Human – Nature for several reasons, representing an intersection between a personal narrative, a country’s history, humanity, and the environment. The project is unique in that it is both photographic and research-based, and Amina has a distinctive point of view exploring a family’s transformation through the lens of cotton.
Amina’s cotton threads extend back three generations. Her great-grandfather was a silk and wool merchant in Egypt and was among the first to lead the initial stages of the popular textile manufacturing trade in his city. Amina describes her project as follows: “The story of cotton is a story of human seed, a reflection of Egypt and myself. Through this work, I aim to reconnect and recollect what is left of our withering seeds of cotton, exploring what used to be one of the most important industries embedded in our collective fabrics. It is an ongoing project that aims to open up discourses around land use and preservation, origin, and memory.”
By observing Amina’s work, whether through the photographs she takes or when she transfers family photos onto handmade cotton paper, we gain insights into how the cotton industry has impacted her life and how a significant part of the issue she tackles arises from nature itself. In that sense, “White Gold” speaks to all of humanity, and awarding Amina’s work is a recognition of her incredible capacity for linking different aspects, resulting in such a solid project.
Kaya & Blank
Işık Kaya (b. 1990, Turkey) and Thomas Georg Blank (b. 1990, Germany)
Series “Second Nature”
“Second Nature” by Kaya & Blank showcases cellular transmission towers disguised as trees in Southern California, USA, in a unique and surreal manner. Its artificiality and beauty are intriguing yet unsettling, prompting vital discussions about the relationship between humans and the environment.
The duo further elaborated on their project: “With the uprise of mobile devices, the infrastructural needs of the telecommunication industry have exploded, and since the 1980s, cell towers have started to fill the planet. The scenery changed dramatically when an antenna was transformed into an artificial pine tree for the first time in 1992. Since then, this kind of camouflage has evolved into a global phenomenon. Our series depicts these artefacts of the digital age as, in Amy Clarke’s words, a ‘societal preference for “fake” aesthetics over “ugly” reality’.”
The jury awarded “Second Nature” an Honourable Mention for its thought-provoking aspects and a dystopian perspective. It compels us to consider important questions, such as “What will nature look like in the future, and how will we coexist with its artificiality?”