Judge's Choice Award selected by guest judge Mikaela Martin (Spring 2021). Photo by Sara Kolcsey (Hungary).

Judges Choice Awards – Gallery

We are proud to share with you the Judges Choice Awards from our 9th international competition celebrating the very best in documentary family photography.

Preliminary round guest judges Manu Rigoni (Brazil), Mikaela Martin (United States) and Ranita Roy (India) were asked to choose three photographs and one series that they personly believe deserve recognition.

Guest Judge Manu Rigoni’s Selections

AWARDED PHOTO SERIES

Photos by Sarah Mei Herman (Netherlands).

“Julian & Jonathan”

My most extensive body of work is “Julian & Jonathan: a series portraying the relationship between my father and my twenty-one-years younger half brother Jonathan. Since 2005 I have been photographing Jonathan alone or together with our father Julian. I am interested in the triangular relationship between the three of us. The memories from my childhood of the relationship with my father, are now in a way mirrored in Jonathan. By photographing him I try to approach our unusual sibling-relationship which I am part of at a physical distance. This work is very much about me, and this part of my family, as well as the relationship between a relatively older father and his son. The relationship between Julian and Jonathan used to be very close; they seemed to share a world which I was not entirely part of. Jonathan is nineteen years old now and is going through a very difficult time since his mother passed away last year. He shows even less of himself then he did before and seems to detach himself from everything and everyone, even from Julian.

Guest Judge Mikaela Martin’s Selections

AWARDED PHOTO SERIES

Photos by Enrico Genovesi (Italy).

“NOMADELFIA – a family of families”

Its name derives from the Greek terms nomos and adelphia, meaning: “Where brotherhood is law”. Nomadelfia is a communitarian population rather than a community, situated near the town of Grosseto in Tuscany (Italy). It is a small population with its own Constitution based on the Gospel. Founded in 1948 in the former concentration camp of Fossoli by Don Zeno Saltini, its purpose: to give a father and a mother to abandoned children. Words such as: Ties, intimacy, relationships, new worlds, seem to fit perfectly in this particular Italian reality that can be defined as a true and long-lived contemporary utopia. A place where human relationships, both private and collective, merge and become the main pillar of this model. Nomadelfia has its own history, its own culture, its own law, its own vocabulary, its own lifestyle and its own tradition. It’s a population with all its own components: men, women, priests, families and children. In the eyes of the State, it’s a civil association organised in the form of a working cooperative; in the eyes of the Church, it’s a parish and a private association of the faithful. In Nomadelfia, all possessions are shared. The economic resources come from work, from welfare contributions for the children in care, and from providence, largely through the apostolate activities: publishing, evening shows and meetings. In the spirit of evangelical advice, the population of Nomadelfia leads a life characterised by “sobriety”, i.e. on the basis of true human needs. In Nomadelfia, there is no circulation of money. There are no shops but just stockrooms. Foodstuffs are distributed to the family groups in proportion to the number of people and on the basis of the needs of the individuals. Even for clothing, the Nomadelphians use the stockroom, within the limits of their real needs.

Guest Judge Ranita Roy’s Selections

AWARDED PHOTO SERIES

Photos by Erinn Springer (United States).

“Home Is Where The Garden Grows”

Home is Where The Garden Grows is a story of life through loss. In May of 2018, my sister Julia, her husband Travis, and their two children, Keira and Liam, moved into our childhood home in northern Wisconsin. In January of 2019, Travis died by suicide. The fields and woodlands surrounding the house became both an oasis for recovery and cage of isolation. This series highlights the bonds of my family and the connection of mother and child, through the relationship between us and the earth we inhabit… I caught fireflies, crashed my bike, and climbed trees in the same yards where Keira and Liam play. The land that has forever surrounded my memory with innocence and freedom now contains the unimaginable pain from the events of an undiagnosed mental illness. This event that changed my family forever does not define us. It shapes our understanding of what it means to be together and alive. Such grievance has opened my eyes to a new depth of human experience, one that coincides with the development and discoveries of children who know nothing of death and spirituality other than the nature they explore. This ongoing, ever-evolving portrait of my family has become my way to grasp irreversible events, accept the notion of time, and attempt to understand life through the beauty and death that is inherently part of every living being.

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The spring 2021 call for entries was made possible with support from the following sponsors:

The Documentary Family Awards is an international competition in search of the insightful and meaningful ways that documentary photographers explore the interpretation of family.