This year’s Pride Photo Award is a selection of images which are a testament to a global search for truth, but also our human curiosity to understand life itself.
Kennedi Carter’s Nichelle Flexing (USA) is this year’s winner in the Singles category. Her work is mesmerizing because it unapologetically serves us truth. The image shows vulnerability, while making a statement of human endurance and strength. A tender and intimate portrait captivating one single moment of that truth.
The jury discussed preconceived notions of gender fluidity – femininity and masculinity – triggering curiosity to know more about the subject: Who is Nichelle? A black human being conquering fear in these times of conflict and on-going oppression of the black body. The deeper you look, the more layers of meaning seem to naturally unfold. A testament of how visual language can not only give identity meaning, but can also lead to misconceptions.
Kennedi Carter challenges the viewer’s prejudice and expectation. The image is a sign of the times we live in, yet at the same time, it is timeless. It is an image rooted deeply in the narrative of the history of the black queer body.
Sumi Anjuman’s Somewhere Else Than Here (Bangladesh), is this year’s winner in the Series category.
This series (15 pics) stands for the subtlety of conveying hidden stories, representation and identity in spaces where being different is simply not permitted. Her work is a beautiful, poetic, and creative expression of the sensitive aspirations and dreams of many LGBTQI+ in Bangladesh and beyond who are prohibited to love – freely.
Sumi’s inner world immerses us in a richness of archetypes of our imagination. These same archetypes, very often, try to influence our moral perspective on the world and sometimes, unjustly, standardise our perception of the LGBTQI+ people into dichotomies, or binaries.
Sumi’s work reality shows how softness in approach can be as powerful as a political statement. We are made aware that Life is vulnerable and often hidden; we are invited to choose our own truth, an invitation for curiosity to dig deeper to make sense of a world in confusion and in need of more such inner reflection.
The jury would like to also give a special mention
to two individuals:
SINGLE: DeLovie Photography, Uganda
Anna, from The Quingdom ~ In Transition
SERIES: Martin Wannam, Guatemala/USA
Both works give us a glimpse into specific queer communities in Guatemala and Uganda – depicting many forms of sexual and gender expression, in a very no-nonsense way. The mesmerising images of beauty, elegance, power and hope, sit on the backdrop of a context where sexual identity may put your life at risk.
They communicate: Courage. Don’t compromise.
DeLovie and Wannams’ reality define the ‘+’ in the LGBTQI+ construct. It is especially relevant in our search for truth, but also our human curiosity to understand life itself.