The 2021 Siena Creative Photo Awards, a global platform for artistic photography, has released the winners of this year’s competition recognizing and rewarding visionary artists using photographic processes and images.

This internationally prestigious contest, founded in 2015, honors contemporary unique visions and the photographer’s skills to translate them into exceptional and original work in 17 categories.

It “sits at the inventive and experimental end of the photography competition spectrum” and this year’s winning selections showcase evocative inspiration spanning plastic waves, freaky forks and amazing still lives.

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In this competition, everyone is free to use any technique. Only the final effect counts.

“Show us how you’re pushing the photographic medium, experimenting with different techniques or creative approaches to bring your ideas to life,” the organizers invite entrants. “We break all the rules, and we want you to break them with us by creating new trends in art.”

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The winning images for each category will be showcased at the exhibition “I Wonder If You Can” during the International Siena Awards Festival from October 23 to December 5 in the beautiful city of Siena, Italy.

The visual arts festival is an effort to bring people together from around the world who are passionate not only about photography, but global connection, cultural exchange and art as a catalyst for change.

“The Lake” (below) by Iranian photographer Masoud Mirzaei is the overall winner of the 2021 Creative Photo Awards and was selected among tens of thousands of images submitted by photographers from 137 countries.

Lake Urmia is the largest lake in the Middle East and the sixth-largest saltwater lake on Earth, located between the provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan.

The Experimental

This image represents the positive side of the spirit of adaptability of mankind: The people are real figures with apparently normal and peaceful lives despite existing in a habitat that is a disturbing-looking urban agglomeration. The work is made with many shots from which the photographic clippings are obtained and then composed in a single scenario using digital collage.

The photo combines the security of being at home with physical freedom. The houses are from Menton in France. The landscape is from the Island of Sylt in Germany. The full title is “When Claudine drinks coffee she often thinks of the sea.”

This picture is a surreal metaphor that explores people’s reactions when they lose a game. Some could get over it and some feel desperately down. “The image represents contradiction colors in my mind and my surrealism soul blurs the borders between fantasy & reality,” the photographer explains.

This shows the world as a sum of instants that, overlapping each other, merge to form feelings and memories, our own reality.

Nature is fighting a constant battle with global changes. Toxic rivers that seep from man-made mountains and jungles of tubes. The photo is one in a series dedicated to showing the constant battle between nature and humanity and to inspire future generations to preserve their natural heritage.

The image started as a shot of the birds roosting in a tree waiting for the photographer to fill the feeders. “I loved the silhouette of it, all branches and birds,” the photographer explains. “I completed one version of a shot that morning, and began to work on other shots with different treatments. This one presents a different mood with its darker quality and textured background.”

Open Theme

The image is from the ‘Losing our Minds’ series made at the beginning of the Covid-19 emergency, “when fear overwhelmed humanity, obliging us to reflect on the questionable and inappropriate exploitation of Mother Nature,” explains the photographer.

Inspired by an historical movie about a royal princess in the Joseon era 1392-1897 of what is now Korea. The princess is wearing a traditional outfit named Hanbok and the photographer mixes traditional elements with a surreal touch.

This is part of a series as visual commentary on the effects of human behavior on our oceans and seas. The intended message is exemplified through the recycled materials used to sculpt each “wave,” most notably plastic garbage bags.

The photographer explains: “This study of my friend, the jazz composer and pianist Django Bates, reflects the humor that underlies much of his work. The question is always: What goes on in the mind of a creative person? Here is a tongue-in-cheek answer with additional symbolism for the detectives. Most of the post-production was done in Photoshop, but I created the flailing dancing figures on the right in 3D software after a painting by the Surrealist, John Melville.

Still Life In Photos

The image is a tribute to Rembrandt and the light of his paintings, which is also ideal for a still-life photo.

This photographic idea represents the nature of selfish desire and shows favoritism to the wealthiest practiced in our society for a long time.

The architecture of the city of Dubai is immense, very modern and in rapid growth. In a more architectural perspective, the photographer created a sketch of the city with the Burj Khalifa building to scale, based on a photograph he took on the spot.

As nature wakes up, butterflies flutter about and the danger of a virus lurks. Everybody is asked to stay in their cages. Cultural and social life come to a standstill. If one looks superficially at this still life, it seems to be a peaceful scene. However, the image is full of symbols referring to the spring of 2020 and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The photographer created this image on the day the world reached the annual consumption of what the land gives us. In 2020, that occurred on August 22: “I don’t know what this year will be like. If we ‘eat’ natural resources as we do, we are destroying our home in the universe.”

Conceptual

Shot in Puan, Argentina, the image invites us to reflect on where to walk when no path seems clear. Or, is it that trapped in our thoughts, we are not able to see the infinite possibilities of the landscape?

The photo draws a line of contrast in the freedom of expression between different subjects. The pleasures of freedom in the two different scenarios are opposite but connected as the same generation is forced to exist in different worlds.

A hat can simply be a covering for the head. It can also be a lot more. ‘In a Hat-beat’ celebrates extraordinary stories created by ordinary hats. A very particular visual love letter to creativity, minimalism, humor, precision and fashion.

The image explores the concept of having to let go of something in your life — but how impossible that can feel as we’re so accustomed to holding on to things.

The concept of allowing children to play with minimal supervision provided the basis for this image. It explores the idea that kids who play independently build confidence and skills and manage their own feelings and behaviors.

Abstract

This work offers a symbolic homage to the fork, an everyday object that the photographer finds “sinuous, elegant, feminine and symmetrical, yet menacing and seductive.” The photograph is part of the project “The Fork,” bringing out the geometric, almost abstract qualities of this daily object.