DEBUTS 2018: Jurors’ Picks

Taken from the Behind the Scenes series

Taken from the Behind the Scenes series

Sergey Melnitchenko (Ukraine), Jordan Gale (USA), Anna T. Pfeiffer, and Ewa Doroszenko (both from Poland) have been selected by the DEBUTS jurors as their personal picks from the group of 20 winners of this year’s edition of the project awarding the most talented emerging photographers in the world.

One of the novelties of this year’s edition of DEBUTS is a personal pick by each juror. The members of the jury were asked to chose one submission they considered the best. Sergey Melnichenko from Ukraine, whose application was indicated by two jurors: Elviera Velghe, director of the Museum of Photography in Antwerp (Belgium), and Peter Bauza, a photographer-documentalist from Germany, can be considered the greatest DEBUTS laureate. Here is what they wrote in their justifications:

“The submission by Sergey Melnichenko is my personal favourite because the quality of each photo project is very high. The three projects are three times different. But it proofs to me that the photographer may vary, but still keeps his skills on top. The projects overwhelmed me by their atmosphere that grabs me by the throat. Every project shows a high original potential with beautiful, rich photography. In ‘Behind the Scenes’ the photographer gets us an insight of an emotional aspect of burlesque theatre. It is very intimate; gorgeous photos with extremal colours and contrasts. Even though the theme of ‘Passengers’ is not complicated, the photos keep stuck in my memory. In the last project ‘Polaroids from China Part II Monochromes’ every photo is a piece of art. I love the way the photographer approaches a topic with an adjusted photographic style. Sergey has a sharp photographic eye, sensitive enough to get the composition right, the contrasts good and excellent narrative photos.” (Elviera Velghe)

Taken from the Polaroids from China: Part II - Monochromes series

Taken from the Polaroids from China: Part II – Monochromes series

“It was not easy to review, score, and then narrow down all the many brilliant entries, with a high standard. But among the many impressive submissions for the DEBUTS contest this year, the artist of ‘Behind the Scenes,’ ‘Passengers’ and ‘Polaroids’ was able to maintain a style, a story, and a narrative. Sergey Melnichenko has a bright and above-average language and is able to express his emotions and feelings.” (Peter Bauza)

Sarker Protick, photographer and World Press Photo winner from Bangladesh, has recognised submission by Anna Pfeiffer, a Polish citizen living in Italy, as his favourite one. He wrote about it:

“An approach of Anna Pfeiffer to photography is smart, intelligent and playful at the same time. I am impressed by the quality of her portfolio which consists of three different projects, all having an effort to reinvent from one another while still having a strong personal attachment to the subject matters. These body of works also has interesting possibilities to present in many different forms of book and exhibitions.”

Taken from the Braids, Red Curtains and That Walk in the Park series

Taken from the Braids, Red Curtains and That Walk in the Park series

The favourite of Isabella van Marle of the Unseen Amsterdam festival is another Pole – Ewa Doroszenko. In her justification one can read:

“I have chosen Ewa Doroszenko’s proposal as my favourite because it was the most outstanding and surprising one. I find it very clever how the photographer translates criticism on society in an artistic manner. The projects are reflecting on the meaning of images in the digital age. New technologies such as virtual reality and beauty apps are shifting our perception of what nature and beauty are. The proposal has a clear message and is creatively constructed. ‘The Promise of Sublime Words’ is my aesthetical favourite.”

Taken from The Promise of Sublime Words series

Taken from The Promise of Sublime Words series

The DEBUTS originator and editor-in-chief of doc! photo magazine quarterly, Grzegorz Kosmala, pointed to the application of Jordan Gale from the USA, about which he wrote:

“I am very impressed by the applications for this year’s edition of DEBUTS. Choosing the one was really difficult. My favourite is Jordan Gale, who although submitted only one project, delighted me with the sincerity of speech and the way of conducting his narrative. It takes a lot of courage to talk about yourself and your loved ones in this way, especially when their past is marked by dark episodes. The more I appreciate the fact that Jordan has allowed us into his world. His project is not only a story about the family, but also a picture of the contemporary American province.”

Taken from the It Is What It Is series

Taken from the It Is What It Is series

The laureates of the fifth edition of DEBUTS are: Kirsten Leah Bitzer (USA), Michele Crameri (Switzerland), Ilaria Di Biagio (Italy), Ewa Doroszenko (Poland), Jean-Félix Fayolle (France), Jordan Gale (USA), Ilias Georgiadis (Greece), Mirek Kaźmierczak (Poland), Paweł Łączny (Poland), Raj Lalwani (India), Camille Lévêque (France), Sergey Melnitchenko (Ukraine), Filippo M. Nicoletti (Italy), Valentyn Odnoviun (Lithuania), Anna T. Pfeiffer (Poland/Italy), Natalia Poniatowska (Poland/United Kingdom), Sergey Stroitelev (Russia), Gihan Tubbeh (Peru), Federico Vespignani (Italy), and Adam Wilkoszarski (Poland).

The first presentation of works of all DEBUTS winners and the premiere of the book will take place traditionally during the International Festival of Photography FOTOFESTIWAL in Łódź (Poland), which starts on June 21 and will last until July 1, 2018.


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