PHLEARN MagazineIntroducing the Industry’s Most Incredible Up-and-Comers: LensCulture’s Emerging Talent

Introducing the Industry’s Most Incredible Up-and-Comers: LensCulture’s Emerging Talent

To provide a platform to some of the inspiring artists creating remarkable photography around the world, LensCulture introduced the Emerging Talent Awards five years ago. This year’s contest drew hundreds of submissions by photographers from more than 150 countries and a variety of age groups, covering a wide range of themes and subjects in fresh, memorable ways.

After reviewing all the applications, LensCulture’s international jury of photography experts selected their top 50 artists to include in the LensCulture 2018 Talents Exhibition. The installation runs from December 12 to 20 at Klompching Gallery in New York City. From those 50 winners, each of the eight jurors selected one standout artist to be awarded special distinction and a cash grant. Here are the eight juror’s picks:


© Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Juror’s Pick, LensCulture Emerging Talent 2018

Aaron Vincent Elkaim’s work was chosen by Alexa Becker, acquisitions editor with Kehrer Verlag Publishing. According to Alexa, his piece Where the River Runs Through addresses significant issues, like environmental degradation, while maintaining a “beautiful aesthetic.”


Refuge of Sinners. © Diego Moreno, Juror’s Pick, LensCulture Emerging Talent 2018

Diego Moreno found inspiration in his family’s own dark secret to create a series that juror Simon Bainbridge – editorial director of the British Journal of Photography – describes as “extraordinary.” Using familiar Catholic symbolism representative of past sins, Diego depicts complex and unsettling scenes.

United Kingdom

© Alice Mann, Juror’s Pick, LensCulture Emerging Talent 2018

Alice Mann was selected by MaryAnn Camilleri, founder and director of The Magenta Foundation and Flash Forward Festival. Drummies, Alice’s series depicting female drum majorettes in South Africa, “celebrates the diversity and inclusion of black women in sport,” MaryAnn said.


Freezing Land 01. © Ronghui Chen, Juror’s Pick, LensCulture Emerging Talent 2018

Ronghui Chen’s Freezing Land showcases Chinese youth coming of age in a remote industrial community. LensCulture’s own Editor-in-Chief Jim Casper, who selected the work for special distinction, describes the images as “fresh, honest, and poignant – with tiny details that carry a lot of weight.”


Progress? © Leah Kennedy, Juror’s Pick, LensCulture Emerging Talent 2018

Leah Kennedy’s series Progress? explores the connection between humans and their environment with a result that is both beautiful and thought-provoking. Selected by Caroline Wall, director of Robert Mann Gallery, the photographs showcase Leah’s “exquisite sense of composition, color palette, and concept.”

United States

© Barbara Peacock, Juror’s Pick, Emerging Talent 2018

Barbara Peacock was the jurors’ pick of Steven Evans, executive director of FotoFest International. Her series, American Bedroom – Reflections of the Nature of Life, stood out to him “by virtue of its strong visual composition, conveyance of intimacy, and rigor in her approach.”

United Kingdom

Birth of Venus. © Bastard Turpin, Juror’s Pick, LensCulture Emerging Talent 2018

Bastard Turpin – a partnership of Kai Bastard and Bill Turpin – creates conceptual pieces that inspire debate and discussion. Anna Goldwater Alexander, WIRED’s director of photography, chose the pieces particularly because of the “delicate nature” of the work.


When in Rome. © Marta Blue, Juror’s Pick, LensCulture Emerging Talent 2018

Marta Blue was the personal choice of Roy Kahmann, founder and owner of Kahmann Gallery and GUP Magazine. He said he selected her work because it “holds one of the most important features of great photography” – it leaves him with questions. Each image feels like a film script, where the viewer is able to imagine the rest of the story.

These up-and-coming talents – and the rest of this year’s winners – are using photography as a medium to tell compelling stories about some of the most pressing issues in today’s society. Through their provocative, beautiful work, they help us appreciate other cultures and experiences – as well as giving us an opportunity to explore more familiar themes in a different way.

To see the rest of the inspiring photographers who made the top 50 of LensCulture’s Emerging Talent contest for 2018, visit the website. And, if you’re hoping to earn a spot as a future winner, check out the call for entries for submissions to LensCulture’s current contest, the Black & White Photography Awards.

Jessi Gowan

Jessi Gowan is an award-winning writer and photographer who specializes in rural landscapes and fine art abstracts, with a focus on form and composition. Her photography has been included in a variety of publications, as well as in exhibitions in Canada and the United States.

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