Not-So-Ordinary Rocks & Oysters: Photography 2021 Competition Winners

When taking a photo, the smallest addition or change, like some colorful lighting or a wide-angle view, can really take a picture from oridinary to extraordinary. That’s what these award-winning photographers form our Photography 2021 competition did, and the results speak for themselves!

We are surrounded by rocks, whether in nature or in the form of building material and as such we don’t think much about them. American photographer Michael Schoenfeld challenges that mindset with “Ordinary Rocks” (above). A Gold-winning still life series produced during Covid lockdown, Schoenfeld wanted to give the rocks a “poetic allegorical personality”, which he achieved with his selection of rocks and his use of colorful light.

In the first image, the rock is cast in bright shades of purple and indigo light with touches of pinks and oranges. The grooves along the bottom are pronounced, catching your eyes and making you follow them from end to end, while the orange crystal also catches your attention with how it stands out against the dark blue background and purple body. The other images of the series do the same thing, providing multiple things to look at and reconsider regarding these mundane natural objects.

American photographer Todd Wright also used his time during the pandemic to great effect. Shot as a personal project for his portfolio, “Ruby Salts Oyster Co.” (above) won Silver in our 2021 competition. He was trying to find outlets for his creativity that were still safe given everything that was going on. As such, he contacted an oyster company on the eastern shore of Virginia and spent the day with them as they harvested oysters from their beautiful farm that is right on the Chesapeake Bay.

What helps make the picture is the angle and viewpoint Wright takes the shot at. Going for a wide-angle shot, he catches not only the men at work but also their surroundings, with trees at the left and in the background and rippling water that catches the clouds above, and a greenish overall tone makes the setting feel peaceful and the work rewarding.

Want to see more award-winning pictures? Check out our Photography 2021 archive. And don’t forget to submit your best photographs to our Photography 2022 Award competition.

Author: Graphis

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