A captivating celebration of global beauty took home the top honor at the 2023 Creative Photo Awards, hosted by the Siena Awards. “Aesthetics from Africa” features a mesmerizing portrait of African-American model and influencer, Sonia Barbie Tucker, captured through the lens of Chinese photographer Frank Zhang. This breathtaking image triumphed over submissions from photographers representing 133 different countries.
In addition to Zhang’s remarkable achievement, nine category winners were also recognized. Notable among them is American photographer Patty Carroll, who claimed the Series category with her project, “Anonymous Women: Domestic Demise.” This series of images humorously delves into the societal pressures women face in their quest for domestic perfection.
The Creative Photo Awards shine a spotlight on the profound artistic potential of photography, demonstrating how artists can not only document the world around them but also expand the boundaries of creativity.
You can view all the winning images at the “I Wonder If You Can” exhibition, taking place in Siena, Italy, at the Palazzo Pubblico from September 30 to November 19, 2023. If you’re unable to attend in person, you can still enjoy a selection of our favorite images and explore the complete gallery on the Creative Photo Awards website.
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#1 Photo Of The Year: Aesthetics from Africa by Frank Zhang
The world of beauty has witnessed the celebration of diverse aesthetics. For a long time, the fashion industry’s perception of beauty was seen through a Eurocentric lens. However, in recent times, African American model and influencer Sonia Barbie Tucker, originally from Ghana, has been showcasing the rich and vibrant aesthetics of Africa.
#2 Open Theme – 1st Classified: Sound of light and glass by Iwona Czubek
The photo was taken in 2022 using the “Haruhisa camera,” which was designed and constructed by the Japanese photographer Haruhisa Terasaki. It is a great honor for me to have the opportunity to use this camera. Terasaki is known for his unique method of photographing, which he refers to as new pictorialism. This image is projected onto a dry plate and captured with a digital camera.
#3 Open Theme – Runner Up: Still life with oysters and artichoke by Hester Blankestijn
#4 Open Theme – Highly Commended: Oranges by Paolo Mascagni
#5 People – 1st Classified: The girl with the spiky hairstyle by Giorgia Corniola
The girl with ebony skin frees herself from the chains, and some of them remain attached to her, as she escapes. In the gesture of liberation, the shapes of her hairstyle and neck take on elongated forms.
#6 People – Runner Up: Scent of Texas by Ziesook You
#7 People – Highly Commended: Suzhou Chronicle-Idyll by Du Yi
#8 Animals/Pets – 1st Classified: “White Beauty” by Lurdes Santander
I aimed to capture the elegant movement of a horse in a free rein jump, experiencing the sensation of the snow beneath its feet and its inherent desire for freedom, much like humans yearn for it. This moment was extraordinary, and I persisted through several attempts on my camera to find that elusive shot, a challenge many photographers face.
#9 Animals/Pets – Runner Up: Tango by Pedro Jarque Krebs
#10 Animals/Pets – Highly Commended: Djaxx by Pieter Clicteur
#11 Architecture – 1st Classified: Capital Gate Tower Abu Dhabi by Frank Loddenkemper
The Capital Gate Tower in Abu Dhabi was captured in a unique moment from a moving bus. As we traveled on the highway during late afternoon, the sun’s rays cast a mesmerizing glow, creating the perfect lighting for the shot.
#12 Architecture – Runner Up: The rear window of the Guggenheim by Soraya Sampedro Bores
#13 Architecture – Highly Commended: Circles by Margit Lisa Roeder
#14 Wedding – 1st Classified: The cake kid by Steven Herrschaft
I captured this photo during a beautiful summer wedding in the red wine region of Germany. The majestic Castle on the hill was stunning, and the moment I captured was fleeting yet magical. Sometimes, as a photographer, you need to be in the right place at the right time to create art.
#15 Wedding – Runner Up: Generational Harmony by Samuele Ciaffoni
#16 Wedding – Highly Commended: Last rain by Krzysztof Krawczyk
#17 Nature & Landscape: 1st Classified: Spirit of the Universe by Peter Lik
Capturing this image took patience and perseverance. It started with the search for a single tree amidst a lavender field at sunset. Then the wait for the night sky to unveil its beauty. Combined with a second, long exposure, the light invisible to the naked eye, revealing a truly enchanted world.
#18 Nature & Landscape: Runner Up: Flock by Zdeněk Vošický
#19 Nature & Landscape: Highly Commended: Tracks by Tomas Tison
#20 Advertising – 1st Classified: Spotless Elegance by Cheraine Collette
Featuring a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing from 1955, this photograph was captured at the private collection of Museum METROPOLE Druten in the Netherlands. It prompts us to ponder how humankind would have been and still be without the presence of the natural treasures that inspire us to dream and surpass our limits.
#21 Advertising – Runner Up: Red by Andre Boto
#22 Advertising – Highly Commended: Black on Black by Yuliy Vasilev
#23 Fine Art – 1st Classified: Human Skull by Alexander Sviridov
A black and white surreal photo-art piece featuring several female models whimsically blending together to form a skull. Symbolizing the defiance of mortality, the composition conveys a powerful message of unity in the face of death, evoking reflection and challenging perception.
#24 Fine Art – Runner Up: Can not see by Haruka Nishizaki
#25 Fine Art – Highly Commended: Horror Movies Story by Hardijanto Budimanv
#26 Series – 1st Classified: Anonymous Women: Domestic Demise by Patty Carroll
The subject is the conflation of woman and home. A lone woman is surrounded by her domestic objects, activities, and obsessions. The still-life narratives created in the studio for the camera comment on the mania of collecting, accumulating, and decorating a home. In the series, the woman is overwhelmed by her possessions, leading to disaster and mayhem. Growing up in suburbia provided the basis of my work. I photographically create worlds that critique and satirize claustrophobic expectations of perfection that women continue to face, despite contemporary life and careers.