Critiquing the Winners of the 2021 iPhone Photography Awards

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The winners of The 2021 iPhone Photography Awards are here. After reviewing thousands of photographs, sent in from photographers across 140 countries, the judging panel made their decisions. The standard was high, and the winners are evidence of that. “Congratulations to all the winners and their astute observations, sometimes moving and subtle, other times witty and surprising… always insightful,” wrote IPPA founder Kenan Aktulun. In this article, we will look at each of the winning images and offer our thoughts.

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Istvan Kerekes: Grand Prize Winner of The iPhone Photography Awards

Working out of Hungarian, Istvan Kerekes took the top prize with this image he shot on his iPhone 7. The photograph consists of two Transylvanian Shepherds, holding what looks to be two lambs.

We appreciate the overall balance of this photograph. We like how one shepherd supports his lamb over his shoulders, while the other holds his tightly in his arms. The pair of men look hard-worked and tired, but they’re still going strong. There’s a simplicity to this photograph that makes it pleasing to view. A worthy winner of the grand prize! We’re curious about how this would’ve worked as a square crop.

Sharan Shetty: First Place Photographer of The iPhone Photography Awards

The first place award goes to Shara Shetty of India. She used her iPhone X to create this beautiful moment of bonding between a man and his horse.

The narrative that plays in our mind goes like this: A man and his horse, lost in the middle of nowhere, with still many miles to go before reaching civilization. They’re exhausted from travel and deflated by what’s ahead. The pair come together, offering support and compassion. It’s a beautiful photograph by Shetty, and worthy of first place at The iPhone Photography Awards. We wonder how a slightly different angle may have looked.

Dan Liu: Second Place Winner

So we’re in space, right? Maybe on Mars? That’s how it feels when looking at this photograph made by Chinese photographer Dan Liu.

We love this photograph. Despite the vast amounts of space surrounding the astronaut, we don’t feel a sense of isolation. Instead, we feel freedom. And the color tone here is gorgeous, especially the hazy blue sky. Our eyes are immediately drawn to the single person amidst all the sameness in the image.

Jeff Rayner: Third Place Winner

Sometimes, when a photo is made up of only the essential ingredients, there’s no need to complicate the scene. That’s what’s happening in this image: good light, a simple composition, and a young child, freely expressing herself. Cover that in a classic black and white aesthetic, and you’ve got yourself a superb image.

Kudos to Los Angeles photographer Jeff Rayner for using the fundamentals to create this worthy third place photograph.

Congratulations to the Winners of The iPhone Photography Awards

Winning a photography competition isn’t easy. To create a photograph that stands above the rest takes a lot of skill, time, and effort. The four photographers above are extremely skilled. And while awards shouldn’t define them, the winners should take confidence from this that they’re talented photographers with great standing in the industry. We look forward to seeing what they have to offer in the future.

Do You Create Photography with Your iPhone?

If you missed out on this year’s iPhone Photography Awards, don’t worry, there will be another one next year. In the meantime, why not show us what you can do with your iPhone camera? We’re always happy to shine a light on talented photographers. You can use the above form to submit your work. We look forward to seeing it!

Lead image by Dan Liu. All images used with permission.

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