The World Photography Organisation announce KyeongJun Yang (South Korea) as the winner of the fifth annual ZEISS Photography Award. Responding to the brief Seeing Beyond: Discoveries, Yang won for his series Metamorphosis, exploring the immigrant experience. Also announced are the nine shortlisted photographers.
For this year’s brief, photographers were asked to submit a series of works focused on the theme of discoveries that transform our everyday lives. These could range from personal revelations to scientific and technological breakthroughs or ideas that led to social change. In Metamorphosis, Yang presents a series of black & white images comprising portraits and still life each depicting or representative of Julie Chen, a young woman who emigrated to the USA from Mainland China at the age of twelve following her parent’s separation.
Each photograph is paired with Chen’s writings and quoted dialogue related to her experiences as an immigrant, feelings of loneliness and conflicted sense of identity. For Yang, currently an international senior journalist student at the University of Texas at Austin, Chen’s experiences strongly link to his feelings of isolation and strangeness while also echoing those of many others.
As the 2020 winner, Yang receives €12,000 worth of ZEISS lenses of his choice and €3,000 to cover costs for a photography project.
Commenting about his win KyeongJun Yang said: ‘Winning this award still feels like a dream. I am glad not only because I’ve won, but also because now I know I’m not the only person who likes my images. I’m happy my photographs have been enjoyed by others, somehow they don’t seem as lonely anymore.’
Talking about this year’s submissions and the winning work, judge Max Ferguson, Photo Editor, said: ‘The use of subtle, personal images of the subject (Julie Chen) lets us get a glimpse into the life of a young Chinese American woman. The closeness and the quietness of the images is what allows us to see and think more about what is going on here. For me, this work stood out from the other submissions we judged as it was clear that although, these were documentary photographs, there was a conceptual underpinning to them which opened up more questions than answers and made for a more engaging reading of the work.’
This year’s ZEISS Photography Award shortlist is:
Luisa Dörr (Brazil)
Robin Hinsch (Germany)
Jorritt T. Hoen (Netherlands)
Tadas Kazakevicius (Lithuania)
Stefano Sbrulli (Italy)
Magdalena Stengel (Germany)
Alexey Vasilyev (Russian Federation)
Pan Wang (China Mainland)
Alena Zhandarova (Russian Federation