PhMuseum 2020 Mobile Photography Prize - PhMuseum

PhMuseum 2020
mobile photo prize
See all the results

© Alessandro Gaja

Thank you to all the applicants of this 2nd edition! Our best congrats to all the awarded photographers!

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A visual memory
of these days

Mobile devices are often the main vehicle through which we document our everyday life. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, with this open call we aim to understand how such an unprecedented situation is redefining the relationship with our home, family and community. Which are our own personal and collective feelings and expectations? Which are the defining values of this historical transition and how we can get out of it stronger and wiser? Below you can see many images that try to give an answer to these questions as selected by our independent juries. Images that tell about these months and suggest our hope for the future. Images that together are defining a collective memory and hopefully will become an inspiration for the world after the crisis and the generation to come.



Mobile Photo Of The Year /

Alessandro Gaja
£2,000 plus promotion on the PhMuseum channels

"Alessandro Gaja's image depicts an ordinary, intimate moment. A family sitting outside in the sun, having lunch together, while the little girl is playing just around the corner. The edge of the circle created a small world within the image, a world of their own, somehow distanced from the larger world. Just like that, the image of one family becomes a universal image. A moment we long for, as if through this image we are looking to the past, how simple normality was, in our day to day lives." - Sarker Protick

"When I saw Alessandro Gaia's photo I recalled the muffled and alienating feeling of the pandemic period. It would be trivial to just mention so, yet I think that many times the sensations are so strong that it becomes difficult to explain them. This is one of the most fascinating things in photography as far as I'm concerned. Moreover, having a better look at the image, I noticed a kind of bubble in the bottom left corner. If you look carefully inside of it you can see something that recalls bacteria or a virus! I find this photograph very complete and sensational on many levels, and it fully describes the feeling that almost all of us experienced during this pandemic." - Piero Percoco

"I love the perspective on this domestic scene — the long lens and the slight distortion lend a surreal feel to the voyeurism, as though one is looking at family life from a planet far away. It makes an otherwise ordinary scene feel like a moment out of The Twilight Zone, which is very apropos for the current moment." - Kate Bubacz

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2nd Prize /

Vikesh Kapoor
£1,200 plus promotion on the PhMuseum channels

"Vikesh Kapoor's photography is a poetic and graceful vision that stages vulnerability, the vulnerability that characterizes us as human beings. The one we share with the natural world that is not something separate from us but an essential part of our lives." - Francesca Marani

"Vikesh Kapoor's image is a complex photograph. On one hand, it is serene and in peace with the green grass and white flowers. One could almost feel the wind caressing them. On the other hand, the death of the deer with its bent neck is unsettling. The photograph profoundly evokes this duality. It shows the strength of nature and at the same time what humans have done to nature, almost saying everything about the planet today." - Sarker Protick

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3rd Prize /

Elena Haliczer
£800 plus promotion on the PhMuseum channels

"This is an image with a lot of layers — it feels futuristic and childlike, it has the composition of a formal portrait and a fleeting feeling, as though the photo was taken in passing. The normal connection between subject and viewer is disrupted by the fact that the subject is himself viewing some unknown escape or future that we cannot see. The elements of awkwardness within the composition of this frame only enhance it — the way the corner of the table points to a gap of skin between socks and trousers, which creates an artificial color line between the yellow walls and table and highlights the contrast to the red cushions, the blue in the walls and his shirt." - Kate Bubacz

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Honourable mentions /

The independent jury comprising of Francesca Marani, Kate Bubacz, Piero Percoco and Sarker Protik also awarded 9 honourable mentions for the Mobile Photo Of The Year category:

Collective Feature on BuzzFeed News /

Kate Bubacz, Senior Photo Editor at BuzzFeed, handpicked a selection of photographs from the open call to be published on BuzzFeed News, a global news organization providing original online reporting and video programming across Netflix, Facebook Watch, Twitter, Snapchat, and more.
View the full feature here

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3 Individual Features on GUP Magazine + Yearly Subscription /

Since 2005, GUP Magazine aims to connect communities around contemporary art and documentary photography. Their Editorial Team has chosen 3 photographers among all of the applicants who will be granted an online individual portfolio feature plus a yearly subscription to the printed magazine.

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3 Individual Features on Yogurt Magazine /

Yogurt Magazine is a visual arts magazine and curatorial platform focused on contemporary photography. Francesco Rombaldi, Luigi Cecconi and Yogurt editorial team will select 3 photographers from all the submissions to receive an online portfolio feature.

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Collective feature on How To Spend It /

How To Spend It has been part of the Financial Times newspaper for more than 40 years and is now widely regarded as the benchmark for luxury lifestyle magazines. Rasha Kahil, Creative Director and Katie Webb, Photo Editor will feature a selection of photographs from the open call on the magazine's website and 100,000-follower Instagram account.
View the full feature here

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Online Feature on C41 Magazine /

C41 Magazine will pick 5 of its favourite photographers from the contest submissions and will write a dedicated article on their projects on the website.

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Collective PhotoBook /

PhMuseum's Team will select up to 200 images that will be published in a limited edition photobook. The publication will be the second title of a series of volumes aimed at exploring mobile photography. Here you can see the first volume, published with images from last year's call.

Winners announced! See all the results and order your copy.

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Collective Exhibition in Italy /

PhMuseum's Team will curate a collective exhibition at PhMuseum Lab in Bologna, Italy in May 2021. The event will be accompanied by the book presentation.

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1st Prize

Poulomi Basu

What can stimulate more conversations, controversies and reflections than an image pretending to summarize the issues, trends and energy of a year? To your mobile devices and to the judges' opinion the difficult sentence.

"PhMuseum's Team will select around 200 images that will be published in a limited edition book. The publication will be the first one of a series of volumes that will be released on an annual basis with the aim of immortalize on paper the ephemeral images describing the phenomenon of the last few years."

Poulomi Basu, judge of the PHM 2018

© Poulomi Basu


What we did last year

This open call is meant to be inclusive and stimulate a reflection on how mobile photography is influencing the medium and becoming part of our everyday life. Join our collective project as many professional and amateur photographers did last year.

A collective exhibition in Bologna, Italy during art week

More than 400 people joined us for the opening of the show co-created and produced with Spazio Labo'. The show had more than 3,000 visitors and was accompanied by a book presentation with Erik Kessels and Chiara Bardelli Nonino (Vogue Italia).

Read more

Our first book on mobile photography

Familiar Stranger is our first photobook on the subject, featuring 200 images from the 2019 open call. Self-published in January 2020 with original texts by Erik Kessels and PhMuseum Director's Giuseppe Oliverio, the volume is the first of a series. All the images of the current open call will be considered for the next volume, to be published in March 2021.

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© Sandra LazzariniSandra Lazzarini

In a time of unprecedented crisis, we are forced to re-think the relationship with ourselves and the Other, to grapple with fears, limits and ultimate existential concerns. I am hoping to see images that allow me to reflect on the sense of belonging to a family/community in a moment of isolation and the role played by camera phones in the communication of this collective experience. Francesca Marani, Judge and Photo Editor at Vogue Italia


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