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Australian wins 2021 Minimalist Photography Awards

Sydney fine art photographer, Allen Koppe, has won the 2021 Minimalist Photography Awards for his five image series, On Route.

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The Minimalist Photography Awards are labelled as a non-profit association, which aims to ‘recognise, reward and expose talented photographers all around the world and introduce them to the professional photography industry’.

But first, what exactly is ‘minimalist photograph’? It’s not exactly clear. There are 12 categories, with something for just about everyone, including photographers who wouldn’t consider their work ‘minimalist’.

Never mind! It’s the second time in its three years of running that an Australian has won the international contest, with Koppe triumphing over 3700 entries captured by photographers from 39 different countries.

‘For my series “On Route” I wanted to try something new, something different,’ he said. ‘I wanted to challenge myself and discover a technique that had been sitting in the back of my mind for several years. I wanted to move forward and take what had merely been a concept, an idea, a thought process and make it into a visual reality.’

Koppe is a cinematographer and enjoys a career in the film industry, while also working as a photographer.

‘I love film’s collaborative nature, but for pure creative freedom, I am fascinated by the solitary world of landscape photography,’ Koppe writes in his website bio. ‘I particularly enjoy finding ways of adding a level of graphic symmetry to the landscape. The resulting artworks are somewhat ambiguous, leaving room for you – the viewer – to explore and interpret in your own way.’

The Minimalist Photography Awards are run by Iranian photographer, Milad Safabakhsh. Click here to see all category winners.

Photo contest criteria

Organising group: Minimalist Photography Awards
Status/Objective: Award ‘minimalist’ photography.
Entry fee: US$15/$20 per entry
Prizes: US$2000
Sponsors: None.
Judges: Nick Moore, creative director at British Journal of Photography; Paula Tognarelli, curator at Griffin Museum of Photography; Peter Ibsen, owner of Sunday-S Gallery, Craig Whitehead, street photographer; Milad Safabakhsh, founder of contest.
Number of entrants/submissions: Over 3700.
Categories: 12 categories
Exposure: Promoted online by contest organiser through press release and online gallery, in some cases a printed exhibition.
Affiliations: Partnerships with media companies, including Griffin Museum of Photography
Transparency: Appears transparent for a basic online photo contest, with the founder’s name attached.
Communication: Contact Us page featuring a contact form.
Estimated Gross Revenue: If half entries were US$15, and the other US$20, the contest would gross US$64,750.
Copyright standards: ‘Copyright and all other rights remain that of the photographer.’
Something else: The contest is structured like a for-profit photo contest, but it claims to be a non-profit association. ‘Entry fees cover the cost of prizes, exhibitions, administration, and promotion’. (And a little something for the organiser, we would suggest!)
Overall rating: This is a stock standard online photography contest targetting the niche area of minimalist photography. The jury panel is of a high quality, and it’s clear who is running the contest and how to contact them. No major areas of concern. Although it would be fascinating to learn how the +US$60K revenue is spent, and whether a large portion of that goes to administration salaries.

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