Metamorphosis - Honorable Mention Photo Series (Spring 2021). Photo by Li Ling Phua (Singapore).

Photo Series – Honorable Mention Gallery

We are proud to share with you the award-winning photographs from our 9th 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 Berlin (Germany), Florida (USA) and California (USA). The final round of judging in its entirety was subsequently streamed online over three days on June 28-30, 2021. Viewers had the opportunity to watch the unfiltered discussions and constructive feedback as winners were collectively chosen by esteemed judges Song Tae Chong (United States), Kristin M. Young (United States) and CW Griffin (United States).

The following award-winning photographs have been through two rounds of critical review and selection.

Congratulations to the winners!

Honorable Mention – Photo Series


Photo Series by Li Ling Phua (Singapore)

Larry, my husband, is a photographer. He first discovered his cancer in 2012. In a way, cancer was what gave him the courage to finally pursue photography as a career in 2018. In August 2020, a day after our younger daughter’s first birthday, my husband received news that the tumour in his nasal cavity had grown and was pushing against his right eye as well as his brain. Within weeks, with few options available, he had to make a difficult decision to undergo a major surgery. The surgery would remove the tumour, and most likely also his right eye – the eye he shoots with. Leading up to the surgery, we grieved for his right eye and found acceptance. When he woke from his 14-hour surgery, his surgeon told him that they had managed to remove the tumour without removing his eye. He was angry, but mostly afraid, that saving his eye also means they left traces of cancer behind. While they managed to keep his right eye, his face and vision are no longer what they used to be. These days, he shoots with his left eye. Occasionally, he is gripped with fear that the cancer may find his good eye. This surgery changed Larry in both tangible and intangible ways. The cancer remains a part of him. Nevertheless, he forges ahead, ever evolving. For 12 days, Larry who’s usually documenting life for families put his camera away, so I picked it up to bear witness to his.

Honorable Mention – Photo Series

Hotel mamma e papà”

Photo Series by Giorgio Pincitore (Italy).

This Hotel, these days, is empty. I’m used to big numbers: I have two sisters, a brother and two granddaughters who often pass (and stay!) around these parts, attracted by those important and constant presences that are my father and my mother. The two nephews wander around the house, Sister 1 arrives with them and often goes without, Sister 2 arrives punctually for lunch and dinner, Brother passes quickly, gives a greeting and goes. Now, unfortunately, that’s not the case. We see my nephews on video call, Brother wears a uniform and prefers not to see our parents, Sister 2 lives in front of this “hotel”, but works in a pharmacy, so she too has decided not to come here anymore and see you only from the window. My father, unable to go out, goes to the terrace to take his four steps, my mother cooks and does her crossword puzzles. Sometimes they go to the balcony together. And I am here, with my camera, witness to the slower passing of time and which seems emptier, to tell what has now become a typical day, here, at our home. Unfortunately, now we have to make sacrifices, overcome personal needs to protect ourselves and others, renounce those gestures of affection that we used to give ourselves before, and look for other ways to feel close. It’s hard but we think how nice, then, when we meet again … when this hotel will be populated again as before and we will no longer be afraid to hug each other!

Honorable Mention – Photo Series

Quarantine Chronicles”

Photo Series by Jill Farrar (United States).

Life during quarantine gave us the chance to slow down, look around, explore, struggle, feel stuck, frustrated, grounded and free. These are photos from that period.

Honorable Mention – Photo Series

Mamas Hair”

Photo Series by Frederikke Brostrup (Denmark).

Maria got breast cancer. She and her husband Hans decided to have their two boys joining the day, that they had to say goodbye to her beautiful hair. It was very important to them that the boys witnessed the change, so they wouldn’t get scared of her new look. Today she just finished her chemo therapy and she is going to be totally well.

Honorable Mention – Photo Series

Naughty Cells”

Photo Series by Marijn Fidder (Netherlands).

Childhood cancer has a lot of impact on the child and the family. However, they often encounter incomprehension. People do not know how to make the subject open for discussion. They overload the sick child with attention or the contact is avoided. That while a family needs support and distraction. Naughty Cells shows the remarkable resilience of children. The courage and the urge to live.

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 Manu Rigoni (Brazil), Mikaela Martin (United States) and Ranita Roy (India) 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.

Ala Buisir, Alex Blanco, Anna Grevenitis, Bela Varadi, Bertha Wang, Ciro Battiloro, Courtney Yates, Diana Feil, Elie Monferier, Elizabeth Libert, Emily Fisher, Erinn Springer, Ewelina Strzelczyk, Francesco Pennacchio, Francisco Gomez Villaboa, Gaby Sweet, Gloria Salgado Gispert, Haakon Sand, Hannah Reyes Morales, Jeroen De Bakker, Julia Matthews, Katharina Kemme, Kazuhiko Washio, Keili Tees, Kristin Schnell, Kristine Nyborg, Mirjam Stenevik, Oliver Vedast, Renata Dangelo, Ric Francis, Robin Rayne, Sara Paolucci, Sarah Mei Herman, Saskia Albers, Stefano Azario, Stephanie Schwiederek, Susan White, Victor M. Perez, Vijay S. Jodha and Lou Bueno.

(click or tap image collage to a view larger )

Re-watch the judging for this category

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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.