A Glint of Gold + Blooming Mania: Photography 2021 Winners

Details matter in photography. If you want to create texture, contrast, or set a scene, you need to pay attention to what’s in the frame and how everything looks together. With their discerning eyes, this week’s winning photographers show how even the smallest detail can change a photograph.

Joseph Saraceno is a Canadian commercial photographer and Graphis Master who found his passion for photography as a teenager before gradually nurturing it into a thriving career. Now, Saraceno has been able to work with numerous major publications and companies around the globe. In his Gold-winning work, “Doré” (above, left), Saraceno was commissioned by the Italian fashion publication La Botanica Magazine to showcase a collection of the season’s newest jewelry for the magazine’s spring issue. Styled by Wilson Wong, this particular image from the editorial is of the 18k gold “Anish” bracelet from the contemporary jewelry brand Gaviria. Placed against deep blue marble blocks and an emerald green background, the set’s aqua jewel tones pair gorgeously with the shiny bracelets. The stylistic decision to balance the bracelet’s wavey body with the straight and smooth lines of the blocks, along with the angle the photo was taken, elevates the bracelet’s design and gives the image an ambiance of luxury and sophistication. 

The Voorhes is a photography studio founded by Adam Voorhes and Robin Finlay which specializes in still life photography for both the commercial and fine art industries with past customers including Apple, Bombay Gin, Bacardi Rum, Credit Karma, Frito-Lay, GLAMGLOW, Hearst Media, Kraft/Heinz, and Puma. Their Gold-winning image “Mania” (above, right) is an editorial image styled and photographed for an article published by Scientific American that discusses how mania is now being considered a mental illness in its own right, rather than exclusively a symptom of bipolar disorder. In a fresh take on depicting mental health, Finlay and Voorhes decided to gather a bunch of flowers and arrange them to come out of a marble bust, creating a lush, colorful, multi-textured composition. The image is a beautiful and sympathetic representation of the common feelings people experience while they’re in a manic state, which often includes bursts of creative energy, high levels of euphoria, and increased spirituality.

The third image this week is a Silver-winning entry that’s also from The Voorhes. This still-life piece, “Fine Dining” (above) was shot as part of a set for digital magazine Popular Science for their “Noise” issue. The photos were created to accompany an article about how restaurants really are becoming louder than ever, and as such, the team wanted to capture the idea of a noisy restaurant in a silent image. The scene is framed as the immediate aftermath of a meal: bits of food are left on the plates, drinks are left half emptied, and napkins and silverware lie scattered and discarded. The scene encourages you to imagine the idle sounds of a restaurant, from the chatter of patrons to the clinking of glasses. The scene is colorful yet mundane, save for the far right side of the image, where a bouquet of microphones sits at the center of the table. This juxtaposition of an unusual sight framed as just another part of the scene brings home the point that we’ve become complicit in the rising noise in restaurants, treating it as another part of the experience of eating out. 

You can check out the full collection of our Photography Annual 2021 winners here. To enter our current photography competition, click here.

Author: Graphis