Johannesburg based photographer Marc Shoul has snatched first prize in this year’s internationally acclaimed Winephoto 2011 photography contest, with his series of work titled “Brakpan”(work-in-progress).
The Winephoto contest, which derives its name from its origins as a wine specific photography completion, has evolved over the past eight the years to become a respected platform for showcasing of works about the contemporary world, explored each year from the dynamic annual theme’s perspective. The competition focuses on the different ways of viewing and using photography for purposes of documenting, interpreting, storytelling or just recording. The 2011 edition was themed ‘Renaissance’ – focusing on something that has experienced a sure change of destiny as a result of an event. This year’s competition received 512 entries from 474 participants from 54 countries –a total of 4887 pictures.
Shoul’s winning series (still a work-in-progress) is an expose currently conducting of ten black and white images (40cm x 40cm) printed on Multi-grade V1 FB Fibre matt photographic paper, portraying life in the once prosperous mining town of Brakpan situated on the East Rand of Gauteng. The series can be viewed at www.winephoto.it [hi-res images available on request].
“I take photographs to record things others may miss or overlook. Photography is medium-conveying information, which I am able to use to expose, communicate, engage, understand and learn from the people and situations I seek out,” says Shoul. “Brakpan is like going back in time; so many aspects of the town remind me of old images I have seen of South Africa. Despite all the changes in nearby Johannesburg, Brakpan still goes about its business in much the same way it did before. The town does not seem to have benefited from its gold rush glory days. However with modern developments such as the Carnival Mall and Casino, situated just kilometres from Brakpan , many of the major chains and retail shops have moved to the mall and, as a result, the town centre has been left untouched and undeveloped. Yet modern day influences are evident all around which is aptly captured in my work, making the series an ideal entry for this year’s Renaissance themed competition.”
Since its inception in 2004 Winephoto has been regarded as one of the most original and competitive platforms for photographers to show their work. This is mainly due to the high standard of judging by a jury of renowned photographers and photo editors from agencies and magazines from around the world covering many different avenues of photography.
The 2011 panel of judges comprised of David Alan Harvey (photographer, Magnum Agency), Kent Kobersteen (former Director of Photography National Geographic Magazine), Antonin Kratochvil (photographer, VII), Alex Majoli (photographer, Magnum Agency), Ute Noll (photo-editor, gallerist, OnPhotography), Arianna Rinaldo (photo-editor, OjoDePez, D-LaRepubblica). The jury selects the twenty strongest bodies of work and from these five winners are chosen.
Winephoto Co-founder Diego Orlando explains: “We strive to bring photography closer to people that normally are not exposed to this medium, so that they may see different angles of the world through this unique window. Our contest is well respected, well know and fully international, but the awards ceremony is based in Italy, with wine remaining a key part of the contest, thanks to the free wine-tasting of about 400 wines from all over the world on offer at our awards ceremony.”