19 May 2020

What 2020 Mobile Photo Prize Judges Look For In The Submissions

19 May 2020 - Written by PhMuseum

Photographers Sarker Protick and Piero Percoco, and Photo Editors Francesca Marani (Vogue Italia) and Kate Bubacz (BuzzFeed) give us some useful insights on their expectations for the open call.

© Gaia Vettori

As we remind every year, it's quite useful to get to know the judges before preparing your application. Their career tells you about their photography experience. Their work tells you about their vision, taste, and philosophy. Here you can learn more about them and get some inspiration to prepare your images to this year's open call for mobile photography.

Judge Francesca Marani works as Photo Editor for Vogue Italia. She has extensive experience in reviewing images also thanks to Photo Vogue, a community of 180,000 photographers who submit daily to contribute to the magazine's content. When asked about her expectations for the submissions' review she underlines a particular focus for images that could make her reflecting on the role we all have in our community. "In a time of unprecedented crisis - she explains - 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."

This unprecedented times have seen artists working from home, with many engaging in visual correspondences. Judge Sarker Protick is an image-maker, teacher and curator who already experienced this practice years ago, curiously using a mobile device. His debut book Astres Noirs is indeed a visual dialogue with photographer Katrin Koenning where they both used mobile phone cameras to capture their everyday in an impulsive and almost obsessional way. "I look forward to see the nuance of everyday, the monotonous, intimate details in the privilege of social distance and solitude" says Protick commenting on his expectations for the call.

© Emily Ross

Judge Piero Percoco is also a photographer whose practice has seen him taking advantage of the immediacy and discretion of mobile devices. “Taking pictures with a smartphone has always been my attitude - he explained to us. It's part of me, of my shy and impulsive way of doing things. However, the definition of mobile photography has always been a bit restrictive in my eyes: I don't believe in categories, but in intentions. I photograph with my smartphone out of necessity. It's a narrative mode that is part of a deep personal process, not a fashionable habit. When looking at photographs, I value the energy they convey, the story they reveal, whether it's an impactful scene or a simple bucket on the floor." Considering that this year's theme is Inside: Home, Family and Community in an unprecedented historical moment it's likely that many of us recurred to the same impulse to document everyday life in lockdown.

Working as a Senior Photo Editor for BuzzFeed, Kate Bubacz started talking about the crisis weeks ago. She likely had time to reflect already on the visual poetic beyond it while carrying ahead the new experience of working from home like most of us. Her recommendation is straight and embodies those elements that often make a shot special. "I am looking for work that highlights the extraordinary in everyday moments: images that are both aesthetically well-done and allows for an interesting narrative."

Mobile devices are the main vehicle through which we document our everyday life. Now that you know more about the judges and their thoughts, you are welcome to join this visual conversation with the images you have felt natural taking in these months. We hope that our open call will be an important occasion to reflect and leave a visual document of these unprecedented times.


The PHmuseum 2020 Mobile Photography Prize is now open for submissions. The 2nd edition of the open call is dedicated to a single theme: INSIDE - Home, Family, and Community in a Historical Collective Moment. Learn more and apply at

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