What Judges Expect from the Mobile Photography Prize Submissions

The judges of this first edition share their thoughts on the mobile phenomenon and offer useful insights to help you prepare your application.

© Giuseppe Oliverio

The turn of the new millennium marked the beginning of a series of dramatic changes involving photography. Digital innovations are continuously reshaping the way we approach it and invite us to reflect, if not reconsider, the traditional definition of the medium. While we were busy understanding these transformations, the advent of mobile photography paired with the boom of social media platforms has been changing the rules of the game even further.

What does it mean to be a photographer today? Will communication soon be solely visual? Shall we give more importance to the form or to the content? These are only a few of the questions that led to us giving life to the Mobile Photography Prize, an initiative aimed at engaging with this stimulating conversation and publishing a series of books to showcase and understand the phenomenon.

"Mobile photography continues to grow and develop at a phenomenal rate and has changed the way we take, make, and display photographs in the modern age" says Caroline Hunter, the Picture Editor of The Guardian Weekend magazine. "It's an exciting moment in the history of photography. For this competition, I'll be looking for creativity, originality, and emotion. I enjoy viewing images that allow me to connect on an emotional level as well as those that are simply beautifully and artfully created" she adds.

© Karim El Maktafi

Artist and Curator Erik Kessels alludes to how the photographer is still the key player in the game, underlying the importance of working on a concept or an idea to channel your creativity and imagination, rather than rushing in search of the technology-aided lucky shot. "Technology is a tool not a means" he explains. "You still need your own creativity to make beautiful and interesting photographs. It has opened a lot of doors but it’s neither Utopia nor Dystopia. You still need your own brain to put technology to good use." Chiara Bardelli Nonino, Photo Editor at Vogue Italia and L'Uomo Vogue, strikes a similar note, remarking in a few words that she'd "like to see people making pictures with their phone, not only taking them."

Argentinian visual artist Marcelo Brodsky looks instead at the big picture, leaving with us an important consideration for the future: "Mobile photography or the possibility of communicating with each other with images - of sending images instead of words to each other - marks a fundamental change in contemporary language. Language will never be the same after the violent irruption of photography as a central component in every day human communications." With people spending around three hours a day on social media, this future seems to have already arrived.

© Caspar Claasen

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The first edition of the PHmuseum Mobile Photography Prize is currently open for submissions. This year, the categories are #love, wanderlust, fashion, documentary, and (self) portrait. Apply now for £8,000 in cash prizes plus space in a 200-image photobook that represents the first in a series of publications dedicated to mobile photography. Learn more at phmuseum.com/mobileprize.

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