Reports on the HPA2009

Published date: 2009-11-10    Clicks: 4550

Launched from last September, the Humanity Photo Awards 2009 (HPA2009) attracted the entry of photographers from 78 countries and regions and participants from 108 countries have signed up for the contest. After three rounds of evaluation, HPA 2009 ended with 5 Grand Awards, 13 Jury’s Special Awards, 48 Documentary Awards and 100 Nomination Awards. On July 24, 2009, the HPA press conference was held in Paris, and the Award Ceremony was held in Guangzhou on September 16.

Collection and preparation period:

1.In-depth interview is prerequisite to folklore photography.

As it becomes convenient for the Chinese to travel abroad, some participants delivered their works that reflected foreign culture. For example, one participant sent a set of photo that was showing a German truss house. The photos were well taken yet it was a pity that it reflected only the exterior rather than the inner frame of the house. We advocate the shooting of local customs because it is easier to develop connections.

President Shen Che has repeatedly mentioned that photographers should know the shooting techniques by heart so that they could manage their cameras handily and accomplish what the heart wishes.

2.Serial reports need to be carefully designed.

Serial reports for competition is different from the ones commonly used for documentation. They should be well structured. It is important for a serial report to be carefully designed in plot and vary in photographic techniques and perspectives in order to stand out from the others.

3.To make a mountain out of a molehill adds to the depth of the work.

The Jury’s Special Award winner “Plough” is a model in this art. Photos in this photo set were taken from many areas in different times. The photographer chose the plowed land, the farmer, and the farm cattle from different places to present the theme of plough. Various techniques were also applied in the presentation. The problem with other photo sets is that they usually lack a theme. There was a photo set that reflected the winter activities of peasants in Northern China. It is a good theme, but the photographer failed to make deep research on the theme and thus made the photos look superficial. Therefore, it is essential that every photo taken centers on a common theme.

The award giving period: the joy in sharing.

During the three days from September 15 to 18, 2009, distinguished guests, jurors and photographers from 30 countries and regions gathered in Guangzhou to attend the award giving ceremony, and more importantly, to communicate with each other.

1.For more photographers to enjoy the joy of sharing.

The past HPAs had only one Grand Award. However, the purpose of HPA is to call for more participation in documenting culture, especially endangered cultures. Thus this year, the HPA committee reformed from one Grand Award to six, each for a special category.

As HPA organizer, we want more than award giving. It is our expectation that folklore photographers gather together, communicate with each other and bring together their experiences for the further development of folklore photography. Thus we put the final round of evaluation just right before the ceremony and let the jurors and photographers communicate with each other directly; we also sent plane tickets to the award-winning photographers as invitations to the ceremony. The six Grand Awards, several Jury’s Special Awards and the unknown reward were the special gifts.

2.The best opportunity for the photographers to share various cultures.

66 Documentary Awards and above awards winning photographers arrived for the ceremony from around the world. They brought with them more than their award winning works, but also other works, future plans and ideas. Mutual understanding and the passion for life surpassed language barriers and communications never ended.

Sharing occurred not only among the photographers. Many folklore photographers became friends with their subjects. The photographer of the award winner “The Cry over Fish” visited the fishermen he took photos of before going to the ceremony and told them about the good news. The fishermen mentioned the disappearing fishing traditions, which deepened the feeling of responsibility in folklore photographers.

3.To arrange the awarded photos album in accordance with culture.

The last HPAs arranged the awarded photos in the photo album in a traditional way, that is, one final award followed by the first and second prizes. However the HPA 2009 changed this pattern to arrange the photos in accordance with different cultural areas divided by UNESCO such as the Arab States area, Africa, Latin America & Caribbean, Europe & North America, and Asia & Pacific. In addition to the cultural-geographical sequence, the awards and the photographers’ names also help sort the awarded works.

To present HPA’s cultural value and increase its audiences, we reedited the awarded works and added to them the cultural backgrounds. For example, the awarded work “The Best Dress” was renamed “The Prettiest Tiv Dress”; the Jury’s Special Award winner “Folk House in Central Hunan” was renamed “Wood Frame House”.

The photo album of HPA 2009 included over 1,600 awarded works that were taken by photographers from over 40 countries and recorded the folk cultures of more than 50 nations. To make it convenient to carry and to save cost, we tried lightweight paper for the first time, which both met the need of the book and contributed to environment.

Many HPA participants value more the opportunity to take part and learn than the award itself. Their works, awarded or not, are important components of the world folklore photo gallery. One of the biggest achievements of HPA is the establishment of a stage where photographers can communicate with each other and open their horizon.

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