Discover the results of The Independent Photographer’s Portrait photo competition!

American photographer Dan Winters was the Competition Judge. Known for the broad range of subject matter he is able to interpret, American artist Dan Winters is widely recognized as one of the most acclaimed portrait photographers of his time.

His iconic celebrity portraiture has won him over one hundred national and international awards from American Photography, Communication Arts, PDN, The Art Directors Club of New York & Life Magazine. In 2003, he won the 1st place World Press Photo Award in the portrait category and was honored by Kodak as a photo “Icon” in their biographical “Legends” series. Throughout his career, he was also awarded the prestigious Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography.

After receiving photos from more than 60 countries, the Portrait competition was designed to discover the most powerful and captivating images of today’s portrait photography.

“The work submitted is of the highest caliber, each image is worthy of note. It was difficult to assign a numerical order to the images, however, such as the charge. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and found inspiration in working with these photographs.” – Dan Winters

More info:

Angelika Kollin – 1st Prize

Image credits: angelikakollin

Prize: $1000

Title: ‘Hold me ‘till I go’
Part of a story about the battle through the last stages of cancer. ⁠

Feedback from Dan Winters:
“This photograph deeply affected me from the start and as I worked through the judging, I repeatedly came back to it. We often use references when describing photographs. “Painterly” is often used, but the mere light and shadow interplay as a photograph’s sole justification is not enough. This image, however, is rife with catharsis and deep emotion. W. Eugene Smiths’ “Minamata” comes to mind. I have a knowledge of the context from the caption, and I do sense the urgency and fleeting nature of the image. There is a palpable urgency, a desire to not only resist imminent demise, but also a desire to shepherd one until the end.”

Justin Keene – 2nd Prize

Image credits: justinkeene

Prize: $600
Title: ‘Quaid’ – Cape Town, South Africa
Queezy is a young musician part of Cape Town’s emergent queer culture. The project challenges traditional documentary methods of representation and gender in South Africa.

Feedback from Dan Winters:
“This portrait is spectacular. As a viewer, I immediately sense the reluctance of the subject to fully reveal himself or herself. The photograph feels as though it was made in a safe environment, but the subject seems to be haunted by the stigma of gender orientation. I sense the subject’s desire, but also a deep apprehension to be fully revealed. The color palette is sublime and the powerful use of diagonals heightens the image’s energy. Perfection.”

Simon Martin – 3rd Prize

Image credits: simon-martin

Prize: $400

Title: ‘Award Ceremony’ – Cadet collects seat bases up after award ceremony, UK

“Being a teenager is a daunting experience, we may see it as trivial now, but it can play a huge part in the person we become. With the British education system continually having its funds cut and the price of University increasing I wanted to look at other sources of education and influence for the 13 – 18 years old. The Royal Marine Cadets is an after-school program that uses the ethos of the Royal Marines to train young adults to complete various tasks. As much as the activities are mainly military based, the skills they learn are not solely intended to produce young soldiers but, instead, confident young adults. Leaving the cadets with the ability to achieve personal goals in the different walks of life they choose to follow. From series Cadets”

Feedback from The Independent Photographer Editors:
“Whatever a photograph may be, it is always about the relationship between the subject and the photographer. Here the viewer appears to be tolerated yet not exactly welcome, which genuinely enhances our curiosity. Adequately framed, we understand the young cadet’s ongoing duty. However, the crooked tower of hats and the body position reminds us of the young boy wearing the uniform and contrasts with the concept of rigorous military training – it is touching and well-composed.”

Angelika Kollin – Finalist

Image credits: angelikakollin

Title: ‘Martha is our future’ – Cape Town, South Africa
“Emmanuel, a Malawian immigrant and day laborer resides in one of the numerous townships of Cape Town. Emmanuel is portrayed holding his 2 years old daughter Martha. Emmanuel’s only dream is of a better future.”

Claudia Caporn – Finalist

Image credits: claudiacaporn

Title: Mother at mulesing time – Australia 2019

“Women in agriculture are very rarely recognized or appreciated. Throughout the world, western discourse and stereotypes paint farmers as strong, white males. Before 1994, women in Australia weren’t legally allowed to list their occupation as ‘farmer.’ Instead, they were merely seen as unproductive ‘silent partners’, ‘domestics’, or even just ‘farmer’s wives. But even after the legal status of women in agriculture was changed, women on farms remain invisible, being severely misrepresented, undervalued, underestimated, and dismissed.

Despite being a key factor in Australian agricultural production, women are given little public recognition in the industry. This photograph is part of my ongoing series portraying the many women who are workers in the Australian agriculture industry. This is my mother. She is a wife, a mother of four daughters, a school teacher, AND a farmer. Together with my father, they own and farm an 18,000-acre property, cropping wheat, barley and lupins and running over 5000 sheep. She is photographed here on an early, misty winter’s morning as we prepared for mulesing (the removal of excess wool around the buttocks to prevent deadly flystrike) our new seasons lambs.”

Erminando Aliaj – Finalist

Image credits:

Title: ‘Behind the Mask: Sara Coletti, Nurse’ – Lombardy, Italy

“The project is a series of portraits of health workers in the Poliambulanza Hospital in Brescia, Lombardy, during a break or at the end of their working shifts. The need to portrait doctors, nurses, and health workers during the emergency, spouts from my desire to acknowledge them as people, revealing their faces, which normally hide behind the protection aids, nearly transforming them into abstract figures, icons of an Institution rather than humans.

They’ve been called “angels” or “heroes”, in the attempt to describe the vital importance of their commitment, but maybe those superhuman terms hide the inability to face such an intensely dramatic human experience. Behind the mask, a face, a gaze, a facial expression, tell us, more than words could do, about the lives spent underneath this battle. The common engagement in giving service during the emergency strengthens the human side of the relationships among the health workers as well as the patients, overcoming differences in their roles, backgrounds, and life paths. Behind the mask, there are no hierarchies nor divisions, but spontaneous solidarity between individuals.

The portraits could become a useful piece of witness, maybe even after the emergency, when all of this will be over, to help to rework our individual and social storytelling which will inevitably leave us with scars, wounds, and mourning, but also a need for social and personal change and a greater level of awareness.”

Justin Dingwall – Finalist

Image credits: justindingwall

Title: ‘The changing winds’

“In life, we have to wear many hats. Each hat requires something different from us and impacts how we interact in our world with other people. Each has its own set of expectations and obligations. Each represents a piece of our divided self, with our many identities, which is often sliced up neatly. The hats represent the many different roles and tasks that we have to perform and take on.”

Laura Pannack – Finalist

Image credits: michelle-marshall

Title: ‘Baruch’ – From the series ‘Burrata’

“At the age of 16, Baruch chose to leave his Orthodox Jewish community and to study at university. The dramatic and challenging decision forced him to question his identity and future.”

Lidewij Mulder – Finalist

Image credits: lidewij-mulder

Title: ‘Stories About My Grandfather’

“A portrait of my grandmother in her bedroom. She kept telling stories about my grandfather, who passed away five years ago. My grandparents have been together for over 60 years and were the perfect example of a team. When my grandfather got cancer, my grandmother did everything she could to take care of him. She can’t sit still, she can’t stay in one place, but she turned all of that around, so she could take care of him.”

Michelle Marshall – Finalist

Image credits: laura.pannack

Title: ‘Extra-Ordinary Rituals’ – UK
“Shot with Slovenian Fashion Artefact Designer, Jana Zornik”