1st Place Award in the “Nothing Is Better Than Real Life” category (Fall 2021). Photo by Julia Matthews (United States).

Nothing Is Better Than Real Life – Award Gallery

Single photographs that reflect authentic, unscripted moments in everyday life. This category is wide open to give photographers the opportunity to explore all aspects of family.

We are proud to share with you the award-winning photographs from our 10th international competition celebrating the very best in documentary family photography.

Award winners were chosen during the final round of judging recorded live from our three judges’ locations at the time in Miami (USA), Victoria (Canada) and Denver (USA). The final round of judging in its entirety was subsequently streamed online over three days from January 24th-26th, 2022. Viewers had the opportunity to watch the unfiltered discussions and constructive feedback as winners were collectively chosen by esteemed judges Carl-Philippe Juste, Jenna Shouldice and Kirsten Bethmann.

The following award-winning photographs have been through two rounds of critical review and selection. Congratulations to the winners!

Top 10 awarded photographs by Julia Matthews, Enrique Escandell, Katarzyna Cypryś-Ławniczak, Polina Subbotina, Rafael Nascimento, Ana Raquel Pimentel Pratas, Monique Olive Costa Lara, Ewelina Strzelczyk, Maggie Devereux and Shirley Hu.

Honorable Mention photographs by Cat Leedon, Frieder Kremer, Jenna Hobbs, Lisa Chen, Sabine Doppelhofer, Sofia Moraga and Sven Berger.

(click or tap an image to view award details)

Our preliminary round guest judges evaluated every single submission we received and selected thirty or less of their favourite photographs per category to move forward to the live-judging round as finalists. Our deepest thanks to Irmina Walczak (Poland), Julia Chang-Lomonico (United States) and Zun Lee (Canada) for their hours of dedication during this process. Congratulations to these photographers who were nominated as finalists for consideration during the final round of live judging.

Finalist photographs by Abida Vanessa, Alexandra Bagley, Alice Chapman, Allyson Klein, Amanda Dalby, Amy Fuqua, Ana Backhaus, Ana Raquel Pimentel Pratas, Andrea Brum-Oome, Azure Bielefeldt, Bruna Pontual, Camila Mendonça, Chinlop Lepcha, Christine Whelan, Claudia Zaffaroni, Denisa Manaskova, Derrick Hicks, Diana Hagues, Dipanjan Chakraborty, Dorota Kozieradzka, Elena Bykhanova, Elika Hunt, Elise Barraly, Emma Collins, Ericka Kreutz, Erin Byrne, Erkin Bolzhurov, Gerrit De Heus, Grit Hartung, Hilde Roaldsnes, Huang Luning, Ina Esch, Jena Love, Jenna Hobbs, Jennifer Nobriga, Jessica Hodgson, Joni Pereira, Julia Kojeder, Julia Matthews, Julia Völzow, Juliette Fradin, Loren Haar, Łukasz Grzybowski, Maria Ofelia Arzate Vazquez, Markus Morawetz, Matthew Coomber, Megan Lefebvre, Min Mohd, Moira La Plante, Nadja Arold, Natasha Guettel, Patrícia Faustino, Patrizia Galliano, Polina Subbotina, Raquel O’Czerny, Rebecca Lewis, Roberto Simões, Sarah Esposito, Sarah Harris, Sarah Marsden, Simona Dietiker, Simone Scarano, Sonja Stich, Stephanie Kamstra, Sylvie Redmond, Tasha Ford, Tobias Löhr, Ugnė Poloudina, Viet Van Tran, Yanchuan Wang, Yousef Masoud and Zuzanna Jach.

(click or tap image collage to a view larger )

Re-watch the live judging for this category

Stream on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast.

Did you submit to our Fall 2021 Call For Entries? If so you will be emailed with a unique promo code to access the archive for free! If you did not submit and would like to watch/rewatch the judging a purchase option is available.

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