20 Inventive Photographers to Follow from the 2014 Source-Cord Prize

Takashi Arai
Click through on each credited photographer to view the full series and read the artist statements. First Place: Takashi Arai's "Exposed in a Hundred Suns"
Familymart,​ Matsukawaura,​ Fukushima, January 10,​ 2012; Daguerreotype
© Takashi Arai
Andrea Gruetzner
Second Place: Andrea Gruetzner's "Erbgericht"
Erbgericht 4; Archival Pigment Print, wooden frame
© Andrea Gruetzner
Sebastian Collett
Third Place: Sebastian Collett's "Vanishing Point"
Untitled
© Sebastian Collett
Renhui Zhao
"A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World" A small population of white rhinoceroses in Africa has evolved to have horns so small that they are barely visible. Experts believe this could be due to years of hunting individuals with large horns. The remaining rhinoceroses with smaller horns left to breed will eventually created a whole new hornless generation.© Renhui Zhao
Diane Meyer
"Berlin" Plants,​ Former Offices Of The State Secret Police, 2012; Hand-sewn archival ink jet print© Diane Meyer
Christian Lutz
"In Jesus Name" Untitled© Christian Lutz
Marta Giaccone
"Be still, my heart" Jess,​ 19,​ Scarlett,​ 2 Jess had her first daughter, Faith, when she was 15. The father was her long-time boyfriend but before the baby was born he left her and has never wanted to have anything to do with either mother or child. At the moment Jess is fighting in court with her mother over guardianship for Faith. Then came Scarlett. Jess is currently trying to figure things out for herself before getting back into a relationship with Scarlett's father. Cardiff, Wales, UK, 2014© Marta Giaccone
Holger Kilumets
"Maps & Territories" Kodak Anniversary Beach Ball© Holger Kilumets
Priya Kambli
"Priya Kambli" Dada Aajooba And Dadi Aji© Priya Kambli
Felipe Russo
"Centro" Centro 21© Felipe Russo
Antoine Bruy
"Scrublands" Julian Working On A Bathtub,​ Sierra Del Hacho,​ Spain,​ 2013© Antoine Bruy
Matthew Thompson
"Instance" Instance10© Matthew Thompson
Charles Roux
"Fictitious Feasts" The Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka. Austrian novella, 1915. After having been transmuted in some strange insect creature, Gregor Samsa discovers his new tastes in matters of food : garbage. His beloved sister serves him rotten vegetables, old cheese and other awful items on a newspaper.© Charles Roux
Sam Contis
"Deep Springs" Arbor© Sam Contis
Alfonso Almendros
"Family Reflections" Honesty© Alfonso Almendros
Thomas Brummett
"Light Projections" LPVariation #​4; 3 8x10 unique camerless silver gelatin prints© Thomas Brummett
Simon Roberts
"The Last Moment" Rain On The Parade,​ Manchester,​ 2013© Simon Roberts
Jolanta Dolewska
"Lay next to me, I'm already in bed" Spots© Jolanta Dolewska
Emilia Moisio
"Vieraalla Maalla (In a Foreign Place)" Vieraalla Maalla 03© Emilia Moisio
Dominic Hawgood
"Under the Influence" I Command You To Get Out, 2014​; LED light panel + Duratran (Diasec mounted) + 3mm Aluminium Frame + Arduino controlled LED strip (backlight)© Dominic Hawgood

With editorial budgets shrinking across much of the industry, awards have increasingly become a means by which photographers gain exposure and showcase new talent. In the profusion of photo contests today, some are more beneficial to the photographers than others, which may work more in the interest of the organizer, and the work anointed can range from generic and predictable to thoroughly impressive and unexpected.

This week, UK-based Source magazine, a quarterly journal of emerging contemporary photography, announced the winners of the second annual Source-Cord Prize, a notably varied selection of work by photographers of which many may never have heard. Here we're featuring 20 inventive imagemakers that really caught our attention from this year's shortlist, including the top three winners who took home $10,000, $1,000, and $500 respectively.

The four judges, two from the UK, one from Japan, and one from Germany, culled through more than 900 submissions from 231 countries and discuss the process in this audio recording. They note, as critics are quick to point out in the aftermath of an award or list, the surprising level of influence one's background, nationality, and gender has on what attracted them to particular bodies of work.

"One of the things that struck me was when I saw what the other people had selected I thought, my God, did I see that piece of work?" says John Duncan, co-editor of Source. "Some of them seemed to completely pass me by and I must say, having the other pieces of work pointed out to me was useful in terms of going back and reconsidering."

According to the jurors, over 90% of the work they had never seen before and the overall standard of quality was very high.

"Maybe I have expected more works being, like, clearly art photography," says Stefanie Grebe, the German curator, in the audio recording. "I was amazed to find more than 60 works worth showing and it was heterogenic work from many categories of photography that I didn’t expect—journalism, documentary, staged work, metaphotography, retrotrends… all kinds."

See all of this year's finalists and their full series on www.cordprize.com.

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