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The winners of the inaugural Africa Photo Awards have been announced at a gala event held at the Keyes Art Mile, Johannesburg. Pretoria-based Hein Waschefort walked away with the title of Photographer of the Year for his fine-art image Where the Moon and Tusks Collide. This dreamscape composition blends together photographs of elephants, the moon, clouds and landscapes, taken by Waschefort over a number of years

Fine Art winner. Hein Waschefort, Where the Moon and Tusks Collide.Fine Art winner. Hein Waschefort, Where the Moon and Tusks Collide.

The Africa Photo Awards is a non-profit competition that showcases the best photography from the continent. The spirit of this competition is centred around collaboration and community building through an alliance between photographers, in order to produce a unique, all-encompassing collection of African photography by African photographers.

The competition and subsequent exhibition also celebrate the classic photographic print, with all images on display printed as genuine silver halide prints on FUJIFILM Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper, produced by Q-Photo ProLAB to international printing standards.

Category Winners

Overall, the Africa Photo Awards received 1580 entries from 15 countries across the continent. There were nine categories for which photographers could enter, with the category winners as follow:

Abstract:                         Elizabeth Cook, Doooown
Conceptual:                    André Badenhorst, Silvablack 01
Editorial:                        Takumi Wada, Untitled
Fashion:                          Linda Orsmond, Night
Fine Art:                          Hein Waschefort, Where the Moon and Tusks Collide
Land & Urbanscapes:   Udo Kieslich, Milky Way
Portraiture:                     Thina Zibi, Mother
Wedding:                         Carlien Haywood, Untitled
Wildlife:                           Elize Labuschagne, The Jackal Strikes Again

Abstract Winner. Elizabeth Cook, Doooown.Abstract Winner. Elizabeth Cook, Doooown.
Conceptual Winner. Andre Badenhorst, Silvablack.Conceptual Winner. Andre Badenhorst, Silvablack.

Each of the category winners were in contention for Photographer of the Year, and it was Waschefort who was awarded the overall prize by the panel of judges. Waschefort won an all-expenses paid trip to the largest photographic event in the world, Photokina 2020 in Cologne, Germany. Moreover, he also walked away with a FUJIFILM X-H1 mirrorless camera, with battery grip and lens, to the value of R30 000; a QPhoto ProLAB printing voucher worth R5 000, as well as an INSTAX SQ20 camera and film to the value of R5 000. Each of the category winners won a R2 000 printing voucher from QPhoto ProLAB, and an INSTAX Mini 9 camera and film worth R1 400.

The panel of judges for the Africa Photo Awards consisted of 13 of the top photographers on the continent, including photographic greats such as Dennis da Silva, Themba Hadebe, Neo Ntsoma, Michael Meyersfeld and Jodi Bieber. Entries to the competition were received from across Africa, including Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, amongst others.

Editorial winner. Takumi Wada, Untitled.Editorial winner. Takumi Wada, Untitled.
Fashion winner. Linda Orsmond, Night.Fashion winner. Linda Orsmond, Night.

Exhibition now on

 All of the top ten photographs that made it to the shortlist of each of the Africa Photo Awards categories are on display at 21 Keyes Avenue at the Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank, Johannesburg. This stunning exhibition will be open from 7 November until 30 November and is available to view free of charge.

The photographs were printed on FUJIFILM Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper by QPhoto ProLAB, designed to produce exclusive, high image-quality colour prints. The exhibition allows the viewer to engage with images on a level that a digital copy could never match, providing evidence that printed photographs remain superior.

Land and Urbanscapes winner. Udo Kieslich, Milky Way.Land and Urbanscapes winner. Udo Kieslich, Milky Way.

A stunning showcase

For overall Africa Photo Award winner, Waschefort, the award came as a pleasant surprise. Describing the winning photograph he said, “I think the most important singular element of this image is my laptop and Photoshop®. This is just a fun Surrealist compilation inspired by Salvador Dalí.”

Dennis da Silva, adjudicator of the judging panel was quick to praise the category winners and noted that a competition like this is long overdue in both South African and the continent. Talking about Waschefort’s winning image he said, “The concept is fantastic and fitting for what is happening to the environment. Also, the execution is exceptionally good – the balance between contrast, colour and density. There’s a real depth of art in the image.”

Deon Brits, General Manager of the Photo Imaging Division at FUJIFILM South Africa, believes the Africa Photo Awards will only grow in stature. “It is a privilege for FUJIFILM South Africa to be a sponsor of the inaugural event. With the immense wealth of photographic talent on the continent, we believe the Africa Photo Awards will help to shine a light on the best photographers in Africa to help bring them to international attention,” Brits noted.

The Africa Photo Awards would not have been possible without the TMRW Gallery providing the use of the space for the gala event and exhibition, while the Professional Photographic Society of South Africa also promoted awareness of the competition.

The Africa Photo Awards exhibition will be on display at the 21 Keyes Avenue at the Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank, Johannesburg, and is available to visit free of charge until 30 November.

Fans of photography are further encouraged to vote for the People’s Choice FUJIFILM Award. Here they can pick their favourite photograph from those on display at www.africaphotoawards.co.za, to stand a chance to win a FUJIFILM X-T100 mirrorless camera and lens.

Portraiture winner. Thina Zibi, Mother.Portraiture winner. Thina Zibi, Mother.
Wedding winner. Carlien Haywood, Untitled.Wedding winner. Carlien Haywood, Untitled.

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