28 July 2020

Alessandro Gaja Claims the PHmuseum 2020 Mobile Photo of the Year

28 July 2020 - Written by PhMuseum

The iPhone binocular image taken from the 9th floor of a building portrays a family having lunch during the lockdown in Italy. See all the results and learn more about the judges motivations.

© Alessandro Gaja - PHmuseum 2020 Mobile Photo of The Year 1st Prize

The second edition of the PHmuseum Mobile Photography Prize dedicated to a single theme - Inside: Home, Family and Community in an unprecedented collective moment - saw Italian photographer Alessandro Gaja claiming the first prize thanks to an iPhone binocular image taken from the 9th floor of a building in Milan, Italy. Judge Sarker Protick motivated the independent panel's decision: "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."

"When I saw Alessandro Gaia's photo - added judge Piero Percoco - 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."

© Vikesh Kapoor - PHmuseum 2020 Mobile Photo of The Year 2nd Prize

The Mobile Photo of The Year 2nd prize was assigned to American photographer and musician Vikesh Kapoor for a photograph portraying a dead deer in the tall grass. Francesca Marani expalined the choice: "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."

On a similar page were the thoughts of judge Sarker Protick that commented: "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."

© Elena Haliczer - PHmuseum 2020 Mobile Photo of The Year 3rd Prize

The photo of her dad using VR glasses granted the Mobile Photo of The Year 3rd Prize to American photographer Elena Haliczer. Judge Kate Bubcaz motivated the panel's choice: "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."

To see all the awarded photographers please visit - there you will also find the images that will be featured on BuzzFeed News, C41 Magazine, FT How To Spend It, GUP Magazine, and Yogurt Magazine respective platforms. For what concerns PHmuseum's second curated photobook on mobile photography, and the respective exhibition in Bologna, we will announce the respective selections between September and November, so stay tuned!


Mobile devices are often the main vehicle through which we document our everyday life. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, the PHmuseum 2020 Mobile Photography Prize aimed to understand how such an unprecedented situation is redefining the relationship with our home, family and community. To learn more, see the results, and join our next open calls please visit

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