Belgian photographer Kevin Faingnaert has won the 2017 ZEISS Photography Award for his project, “Føroyar,” a series about life on remote and sparsely populated villages on the Faroe Islands (an archipelago located between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean). The prize includes more than $3,100 US to complete the project. Faingnaert will also receive over $12,700 in lenses from ZEISS.
Faingnaert is a social documentary photographer whose work focuses on small groups and communities that are removed from mainstream culture. His work on the Faroe Islands began in February 2016. About the islands, he says, “Villages are slowly dropping into decline as more and more of their inhabitants are emigrating from the islands in pursuit of greater opportunities. In these clear and pristine landscapes, where villages with populations as low as ten huddle together on the edge of cliffs, I tried to reveal a community hanging on firmly to their roots and traditions, while underlining that one day these villages must inevitably disappear.” Claire Richardson, Picture Editor at Lonely Planet Traveller and a judge for this year’s competition, said in a statement, “There is a wonderful completeness to Kevin’s series…. look closely at this unforgiving and wild environment and you realize that these are ordinary people living in extraordinary circumstances, hanging on at the edge of the world.”
Now in its second year, the ZEISS Photography Award is a collaboration between the World Photography Organization and ZEISS. The theme of the 2017 competition is “Meaningful Places.” This year, the competition received over 31,000 images submitted by 4,677 photographers from 132 countries.
The judges also recognized the work of nine other photographers: Anna Filipova, Bulgaria/ UK; Mario Adario, Italy; Christopher Roche, UK; Sonja Hamad, Germany; Ben Bond Obiri Asamoah, Ghana; Frederik Buyckx, Belgium; Nicholas White, UK; Fabian Muir, Australia and Nicky Newman, South Africa.
The work of both the winning and shortlisted photographers will be shown in London as part of the Sony World Photography Awards and Martin Parr–2017 Exhibition at Somerset House from April 20 to May 7.
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