Portraiture is quite different to almost any other form of photography. Capturing the essence of a person in freezeframe poses a unique set of challenges, not least the complex, ever-changing nature of your subjects. The inaugural International Portrait Photography Awards showcase the best of this difficult discipline, pitting amateur and professional portraitists around the world against each other for a $10,000 prize pool.
These are our favourite entries from the awards, from French fashion shoots to the tribes of Ethiopia…
People of the River – Jatenipat Ketpradit, Thailand
A portrait of a family of the Karo tribe, including father, mother, two brothers and two sisters. The tribe live along the Omo River in Ethiopia, and place a heavy emphasis on ornate body art and headdresses.
Portrait of my Grandmother – Md Saud Faisal, Bangladesh
This hard-hitting shot depicts the photographer’s grandmother holding up a portrait of her younger self, shortly before her death during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Task At Hand – Jarrod Vero, Australia
A fisherman struggles against the swell and his reel on a stormy day on the New South Wales coastline in Australia.
A Golden Moment – Kari Dahlstrom, United States
A portrait of a traditional Kazakh eagle hunter at the Eagle Festival in Western Mongolia. For generations, these horsemen have trained falcons to hunt hares, foxes and other small mammals.
Classic Beauty – Maria Presser, Argentina
Taken in her studio in Buenos Aires, photographer Maria Presser set up this shot to imitate the classic oil paintings often found in art galleries.
Shibari Pond – Charlotte Bories, France
Just one photo from a fashion shoot conducted in a fish pond in France, this image takes its inspiration from the Japanese erotic art of shibari.
The Mundari Cattle Herder – Josef Burgi, Switzerland
This image shows a poor cattle herder looking over his flock in the fledgling nation of South Sudan.
Temple Visitors – John Powers, United States
John Powers captured this image as two novice monks wandered the corridors of their temple one sunny afternoon in Myanmar.
Red Chili Picker – Sujon Adhikary, Bangladesh
Women root through thousands of chilies to ruin any rotten ones before sending the crop to market. The radio is playing religious songs to keep them occupied while they work.
Wait, Let Me Take A Selfie – Nancy Flammea, Australia
This heavily stylised photo argues that the self-indulgence of social media has always existed, simply in different forms for different generations.
Tribal Identity – Zay Yar Lin, Myanmar
A young Suri boy in Ethiopia paints his face with white clay, surrounded by the braceleted hands of women.
Kebabiyana – Debdatta Chakraborty, India
Taken in a small alleyway in the Kashmiri capital of Srinagar, this photo shows a street vendor slow-cooking kebabs over a charcoal fire, as the town comes alive in the early evening.
Praying With Fire – Azim Khan Ronnie, Bangladesh
Devotees pray with oil lamps and burning incense during the Rakher Upobash festival at the Shri Shri Lokenath Brahmachari Ashram Temple in Narayanganj in Bangladesh.
The Man Of Golden Fibers – Azim Khan Ronnie, Bangladesh
This Bangladeshi worker isn’t wearing a giant, golden wig. He’s carrying around 50 kilograms of jute – a heavy, flax-like fibre often used to manufacture high-end rugs, and other products that require tough, weighty thread.
The Mystical Stare – Sanjay Patil, India
A lavishly decorated dancer performs as part of the Theyyam festival in the Malabar region of Kerala in Southern India.