The 2022 International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards (ILPOTY) has announced the results with Chilean photographer, Benjamin Briones Grandi, claiming the title.
Briones’ winning portfolio is of four images from the norther coast of Chile’s Atacama coast. The first word that comes to mind when looking at his images is ‘minimalist’, a term validated by Briones’ website bio.
‘Early in his career, Benjamin developed a conceptual approach to his work, producing minimalistic surreal landscapes using photography. A carefully crafted aesthetic, his unique perspective in the use of the medium, and a concept-based methodology led him to numerous awards and world wide recognition.’
ILPOTY’s other top award is the photo of the year. This goes to US photographer, Martin Broen, for his picture, Flooded Cave, captured in Yucatan, Mexico.
This year ILPOTY founder and Chairman of Judges, Peter Eastway, has acknowledged how the contest parades both surreal and realistic landscape photography. ‘We’re constantly amazed at the lengths photographers go to, whether physically in the landscape or creatively in post-production.’
The winning images often spark discussion about how much post-production is appropriate in landscape photography. Time Out describes the winning images as ‘mind-boggling’ and fairytale-esque, and New Zealand’s The Herald writes they provide ‘otherworldly views into a planet you might not recognise’.
Briones’ minimalist approach is world’s apart from the epic signature-style snow-capped mountains of regular ILPOTY winner, Dutchman Max Rive. Although both Briones and Rive are known to heavily edit their work.
‘Influenced by visual arts and christian mysticism, I create what I call inverse photography: images that represent an interior state more than an exterior subject,’ writes Briones in his artist statement. ‘My techniques to obtain my pieces range from straight photography to complex composite work. Using all the available digital tools, I mimic memories and dreams, playing with perspective, time, and colors. Each art work is made out of pictures from real places, put together using imagination and dreams.’
ILPOTY judge, David Burnett, states the contest runs ‘a difficult knife edge between simplicity and complexity, but more than anything this year, the pictures seemed to reflect a very intense personal response by the photographers to their subject and its treatment’.
The opposing side’s argument is how can a landscape photo that accurately depicts a location compete with pictures that are ‘fairytale-esque’.
It’s a debate with no end in sight. Here’s a selection of winning images.