Credit - From top left: Owen Harvey; Maria Louceiro; Ryan Schude; Sonali Ohrie; Frederik Rüegger; Mohammad Rakibul Hasan; Aixiao Li; Mehri Jamshidi; Persia Campbell; Zelle Westfall
TIME and the
American Society of Media Photographers are pleased to announce the winners of our Global Photographic Portraiture Competition: “The Human Element."
Over 2,200 images were submitted across five categories, with the winning images shot by photographers from 9 different countries including Bangladesh, Poland, and Iran. The images, accompanied here by captions provided by the photographers, celebrate the diversity of the human experience while touching on themes that unite the world at this moment in time — including climate change, gender identity, loss, and love.
With gratitude to the
contest judges and everyone who took the time to submit their work and show us their corner of the world, we present the winners of "The Human Element." Owen Harvey — Winner: Best in Show (Portraits in the World) Title: David Fuentes; Caption: A matador trainee sits at the table in his grandfather's home, surrounded by his grandfather's artwork. David has been born into a multi-generational bullfighting family. Fulvio Bugani — 2nd Place: Portraits in the World Title: S/He; Caption: Gender is a complex and personal thing, and for many people, identifying as fluid allows them to express themselves in ways that they were previously unable to. My portraits of gender-fluid people in Havana, Cuba, is a testament to the power of self-expression in the face of adversity. It is a project about freedom. Despite the discrimination that they face, the members of this community continue to proudly express themselves in a way that pushes boundaries and challenges traditional gender norms. Cuba is a country of contrasts, and the gender-fluid community is one of the many thriving and dynamic aspects of its cultural landscape. This image shows Lio and Camy in an apartment in Vedado, on April 2, 2023, in Havana, Cuba. Maria Louceiro — Winner: Portraits of Family Title: Mayila & Marlene; Caption: Finding home in the embrace of chosen family. Mehri Jamshidi — 2nd Place: Portraits of Family Title: The Retrospective of an Ordinary Family; Caption: By focusing on capturing portraits of my own family, I have discovered profound layers of human suffering. Photography has placed me in a position of self-discovery, where the medium itself acts as a mirror reflecting my emotions. It blurs the lines, making it challenging to see the images through my camera lens as tears well up in my eyes. It’s a vulnerable experience that connects me deeply with the subjects I photograph, allowing me to capture their stories with authenticity and empathy. Aixiao Li — Winner: Portraits of Influence Title: Wig in the Bathroom (from the series “I Am with Me”); Caption: When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, I was forced to stay at home for a long time. While everyone began to maintain social distance, I wanted to get in touch with people in reality. I started to explore the mostly unknown private spaces of strangers. We chatted and did everyday things together, and they lent me their clothes and accessories so I could ‘be them.’ A tacit understanding between my subjects and me was, ‘When I give you a sense of security you need to keep me safe.’ This kind of private connection involved exchanging so much personal information that we started to ‘become’ each other. André Ramos-Woodard — 2nd Place: Portraits of Influence Title: You should already know; Caption: I made this picture of me and my husband to remind myself that even when I have no faith in myself, I can always rely on him to be by my side. When I can't carry my heart, he always carries it for me. He's my muse. The title of this piece reminds me that I've always got an amazing support system. I love you, José. Sonali Ohrie — Winner: Open Category Title: Mother's Journey, 001; Caption: This image features Sonali Ohrie's mother donning her wedding dress post-divorce, marking a pivotal moment. The narrative unfolds from a strict Hindu-Punjabi upbringing, where exploration was confined to a 'safe' marriage. Now, liberated from an arranged union, Sonali's mother navigates a world previously deemed too perilous for a lone woman. The ongoing series explores her journey towards freedom, self-discovery as a single mother, and redefining 'home' after it fractures. Persia Campbell — 2nd Place: Open Category Title: 2006 - Reminiscences from the border; Caption: When the war against the cartel began in Ciudad Juárez in 2006, many of us took refuge in our private spaces. While public spaces were being taken over by terrorism and violence, we made our homes a safe haven as well as an involuntary confinement. This image represents duality and contrast. The interior is fully decorated in pastels in representation of our border aesthetic, which is based on the commercial exchange with the United States. The interior decor simultaneously becomes a metaphor of the border life and the American Dream, a superficially perfect life. The violence, public spaces, and the war on drugs are displayed on the television placed in the room, depicting the active role of the media on the strategies of terrorism that affect everyone that lives in this city. Ryan Schude — Winner: Series Title: Also On View: Unique and Unexpected Museums of Greater Los Angeles; Caption: Portraits of people associated with a selection of 63 under-appreciated museums in the greater Los Angeles area. The museums highlighted share an aspect of history and culture for the region and subject matter they represent which might otherwise go unseen. Ryan Schude — Winner: Series Ryan Schude — Winner: Series Ryan Schude — Winner: Series Ryan Schude — Winner: Series Ryan Schude — Winner: Series Mohammad Rakibul Hasan — 2nd Place: Series Title: The Blue Fig; Caption: Global warming's impacts are starkly uneven. Bangladesh exemplifies this disparity, suffering intensified natural disasters like floods and storm surges. Vulnerability is most evident in coastal regions, with millions dependent on the sea now imperiled by it. The Sundarbans Forest, a biodiversity hotspot, faces a double threat of rising sea levels and extreme weather. Residents confront submergence and displacement, harming sectors like fishing and farming and increasing health risks due to rising salinity. "Climate migrants" seek refuge in cities like Dhaka but face housing shortages. Urgent global climate action is needed to protect vulnerable communities and precious ecosystems like the Sundarbans. Solutions demand local resilience and international cooperation. Mohammad Rakibul Hasan — 2nd Place: Series Mohammad Rakibul Hasan — 2nd Place: Series Mohammad Rakibul Hasan — 2nd Place: Series Mohammad Rakibul Hasan — 2nd Place: Series Mohammad Rakibul Hasan — 2nd Place: Series Student Category Winners: John Rogers — Student Winner: Portraits in the World Title: Washington Grist Mill - A Step Back in Time; Caption: Replicating the sights, sounds, and dress of the 18th century, a miller demonstrates the technique for grinding corn and wheat at the George Washington grist mill and distillery near Mount Vernon, Virginia. Zelle Westfall — Student 2nd Place: Portraits in the World Title: Nick's Room; Caption: Nick is a self-taught 22-year-old taxidermist. Nick creates and mounts his pieces all in his apartment in Harlem. I asked if there was anything he would want people to know when looking at these images, he said “that these animals are my life.” Zelle Westfall — Student Winner: Portraits of Family Title: My Divorced Parents; Caption: This is a portrait of my divorced parents who clearly have a sense of humor. Thank you Mom and Dad! Christian Lee — Student 2nd Place: Portraits of Family Title: Uncle's Funeral, Rose Hills; Caption: The eldest son places a white rose on his father's coffin while gently holding his mother's hand. The youngest son walks up the hill following a moving eulogy he delivered prior to the burial. The image is selected from "Kinship," a series documenting my Korean American family as they attempt to navigate personal loss, intergenerational trauma, and the financial and emotional challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Zelle Westfall — Student Winner: Portraits of Influence Title: Ruby and Jewel; Caption: Jewel was one of the first friends I made in college. Through them, I met their girlfriend Ruby. Both of these talented artists have taught me of love. Through this friendship, I have learned of the sweetness that comes with healthy queer love. Lidia Vedder — Student 2nd Place: Portraits of Influence Title: Discord; Caption: I actually don't like labels and box thinking, because it suggests that there is a deviation. Still, it was nice to discover my own 'recipe.' Only then did I know why I often feel misunderstood. I am a Highly Sensitive Person and a High Sensation Seeker (HSP/HSS). This manifests itself in an inner conflict between boredom (understimulation) and stress (overstimulation). My antennae are intense and my head is a popcorn machine. I have a less conventional brain. As a director, I love control firmly, just like the common thread. On the other hand, I am curious about the unknown and long for total surrender. Complicated and almost impossible to explain. I would have to exchange my head with you, so that you understand me. Katya Ilina — Student Winner: Open Category Title: David; Caption: From "Rosemary & Thyme," a photo series that explores contemporary masculinity through body positivity, and celebrates the beauty of fluidity in physical form. Iga Mroziak — Student 2nd Place: Open Category Title: Ghosts; Caption: "Ghosts" is a multidimensional story about the truth; about who we are - and who we could be. What is an identity and how easy is it to fake? The beginning of the project was born from real memory problems that I have been struggling with for many years. While organizing the photos in my archives, I noticed that certain themes were repeated - one of them was people shown from behind. Their backs have become reference points in time and space for fading memory. Without encroaching on the privacy of the photographed object, I created a fragment of my own story from it. I decided to recreate - or create? - the faces with the help of artificial intelligence, which - like memory - uses existing resources to create a whole picture. And because I don't remember their faces, I'm able to believe the version created by AI. And suddenly the artificial becomes real. Grzegorz Piotrowski — Student Winner: Series Title: The Sisters Of The Hills; Caption: Barbara and Natalia are sisters from Poland living in the small village of Przybówka. Their immediate family is not just mom and dad. These are also (and perhaps above all) horses, sheep, goats, cows, pigs, chickens, geese, dogs, cats, and alpaca. Every animal has a name. Every one is important. Every one is part of the family. Every one is loved. They live in harmony with nature and what surrounds them. Grzegorz Piotrowski — Student Winner: Series Grzegorz Piotrowski — Student Winner: Series Grzegorz Piotrowski — Student Winner: Series Grzegorz Piotrowski — Student Winner: Series Frederik Rüegger — Student 2nd Place: Series Title: Horses and Caravans; Caption: In 2023 I started a documentary on the Traveler Community in England and Ireland. I traveled to horse fairs across the two countries to document this community living out their traditions. My goal is to offer an intimate and authentic portrayal of the lives of English and Irish Traveler communities, highlighting their rich cultural heritage, unique lifestyles, and the challenges they face. Frederik Rüegger — Student 2nd Place: Series Frederik Rüegger — Student 2nd Place: Series Frederik Rüegger — Student 2nd Place: Series Frederik Rüegger — Student 2nd Place: Series Frederik Rüegger — Student 2nd Place: Series Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.