Announcing the 2023 APA Awards Series Winners!

Mon 14th Aug, 2023

By APA Admin

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View all the images from the winners by clicking on View Gallery.

APA is thrilled to announce the 2023 APA Awards Series Winners!

First Place: Erik Isakson's No Excuses

Photoshoot for The Wall Street Journal, featuring athlete Zion Clark who is training to be the first American to make both the Olympics & Paralympics in 2024, competing In wrestling & wheelchair racing. Zion was born without legs & lives by the mantra: “NO EXCUSES”. He holds multiple Guinness World Records, including “fastest man on two hands” covering 20 meters on his hands in 4.78 seconds. I absolutely loved working w/ Zion on this shoot & can’t wait to see what he accomplishes next!

Bio: Erik's love for photography began when he was 11 years old when he received a Sports Illustrated subscription which included a free camera. Changing the f-stops from cloudy to partly cloudy, and then even to sunny was all the sophistication he needed to test it out the first time photographing Shamu on his family vacation. From there, as they say, the rest is history.

Second Place: Cagla Demirbas's Media Omitted

Media Omitted is a series of cross-processed double exposures that show the "what-if"s of a relationship – a tasteful mismatch that retraces what went wrong. A chemical solution as a temporary solution for a relationship doomed to disappear – contrasting with the very medium of analog photography.

Just like the short-lived relationship itself, the analog camera he gifted to me was broken. It was only when I took it to get it repaired that I realized he forgot a half-used film inside. I had to make a grim choice – I can use the film and find my own images double exposed with the ones I was trying to forget.

The film was long expired like us and if I wanted my shots to survive, I had to try the cross-process method by developing my diapositives with negative film chemicals, and ultimately treating them as negatives, and hope for the colors to turn out.

The vibrant pink tint in the images almost attempts to revive the lack of romance and excitement in the failed relationship. From depicting a cold bedroom paired with a close-up of a woman’s thighs, to the places never visited; the photographs ultimately reveal serendipity – two travelers who could only meet in the middle after going separate ways. A mantra almost too cliche to repeat: Some people are better when they are apart.

Bio: Cagla Demirbas (b. 1997, Ankara) got her BA from Istanbul Bilgi University’s Media and Communication (2020) and Film and Television (2022) departments as a salutatorian and a valedictorian, respectively. Inspired by psychodynamic psychotherapy and the history of analog photography, her work acts like a "backup memory" that deals with serendipity and parapraxes found in the everyday rhythm of life. Her work “Media Omitted” (2022), a series of cross-processed double exposures that show the "what-if"s of a relationship, was nominated for Best Landscape at Head On Photo Awards in Sydney, Australia. The same work was exhibited at Month of Photography Denver, Pinakothek der Moderne, Mall Galleries, Der Greif Guest Room, ZIRKA – Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Raum- und Kulturarbeit, LoosenArt, Mixer Arts and Swanfall Art, while being shortlisted by the Gallery of Photography Ireland for their Galleries Without Walls programme. Her photography has been featured in various platforms like the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Photopia Cairo, TRT World, Docu Magazine, and Contemporary Istanbul. She also worked at exhibitions that were displayed at Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, Copenhagen Photo Festival, Getxophoto Festival Internacional de Imagen, Sakip Sabanci Museum, Milli Reasurans Art Gallery and performed at Verzasca Foto Festival for a photo-performance based on the Double Portrait (Cemre Yesil, 2021) artist book.

Third Place: João Coelho's Resilient Mothers

This series intends to depict the inner strength and resilience of Angolan women. They are burdened with responsibilities and duties that are not shared by their husbands or their children's fathers. Every day they face a hard work from sun up to sun down to be able to feed their children. Despite these circumstances, they manage to play the role of mothers in an exemplary way, keeping their children close to them while working, breastfeeding them in the most adverse environments and showing open and sincere smiles even under the enormous weight of fatigue and of an uncertain destiny.

Bio: I was born in Angola 56 years ago but the war of independence in that country forced my family to restart their life in Portugal, where I completed my law studies. After practicing law for a few years, I worked in banking and finance. In 2007, responding to a strong call from my homeland, I returned to Angola to work on auditing and consulting projects focused on social development. I have always had a great attraction for the arts and the passion for photography definitely emerged with the acquisition of my first camera when I was around 20 years old. Although I published several articles in Portuguese travel and leisure magazines, photography was dormant for long years due to the demands of my work. The return to Angola, with the daily coexistence with the sounds, smells, and colors of Africa, awakened in me an enormous desire to portray people and tell their stories, stories of survival, dignity, and also of an admirable resilience. Sensitivity to the human condition thus characterizes my work. More than presenting a mere photographic work with aesthetic beauty, my great objective as a photographer and a person is to transmit emotions, feelings, and to call attention to the inequalities and the strong asymmetries that still exist in today's world.

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