LIFE FRAMER: SELECTION OPEN CALL-JUDGED BY by Katherine Oktober Matthews -the Chief Editor for GUP Magazine



We’re delighted to present the results of our latest open call for entries! There was no explicit theme or lead and you were free to investigate everything, and to capture anything.  The theme was judged by Katherine Oktober Matthews -the Chief Editor for GUP Magazine, an international quarterly print publication and online platform for art photography, where she has worked as a contributing writer since 2011.

You can discover the winning images below and join the discussion on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Congratulations to all the talented photographers featured and thank you all for your support. Diane Arbus once said that a picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know. Let’s see what secrets we can uncover…

1st Prize – Sian Grahl – 2nd Prize – Stephanie Braun- 3rd Prize – Philip Nix

Honorary Mention – Emmanuel Monzon

Here’s what the team had to say about your image: “This is a tightly composed image – the photographer spotting the tonal harmony and clean, organised geometry of this urban highway scene. It’s another great example of the beauty in the banal that photographers such as Sinziana Velicescu and Guillaume Tomasi are building a name creating. Why it works so well though is that there is more than just an aesthetic pull. The photographer presents us with nothing that isn’t man-made, and strips the scene completely of the human life it has been built for (even the advertising billboard is blank). The result is, in our view, a comment on the futility of our existence, and elevates above simply a pretty image into something much more interesting”.


First Prize: Sian Grahl

“This has such an immediate and beautifully sensuous impact. Straight away it’s got power from colour, shape and texture — it just breathes with life and emotion. What’s fascinating to me about this image, as I keep looking at it, is the contrast between the ambiguity and sharpness expressed. There’s something deeply mysterious about it, yet there’s a large amount of information portrayed, and perfect sharpness. The flora feel so feminine and rich, with lots of individual shapes and bright colours, and there’s even wonderful detail on the woman’s body from just tiny textures in the woman’s areola and on her collarbone. The smoke could’ve so easily be an unwelcome or kitsch element — it’s often used or even overused in performative photography — but here, the slight pinkish color and its flow from the woman is just so elegant. All these elements together work to create something magnificent to view, both zooming into details, and out again to see the full picture. Beautiful.” – Katherine Oktober Matthews.

Second Prize: Stephanie Braun

“What I like about this image is that it triggers something that I often associate with mindfulness: playful curiosity. This image makes me smile, in a most basic way, and it’s important to remember that even serious photography and art can and should engage our pleasure, our happiness, our joy, our sense of play and wonder. The photograph has a great collection of textures here, from the sneaky hairless cat, to the reflective foil, to the tree bark, to the wire mesh behind it, to the leaves and the clouds against the blue sky. There are so many things here that I want to touch — but can only look at — and that’s something that keeps me looking, and present in the image.” – Katherine Oktober Matthews.

Third Prize: Philip Nix

“I love this image for its sense of freedom — which is somehow both understated and bold at the same time. These three boys riding bareback through the high grass, two of them barefoot, present us with a call for natural simplicity, for quiet companionship and slow adventure. I like that the landscape is full of detail, yet it’s not obvious where it was taken. This lets the image take on even more of a metaphoric or symbolic meaning, while never losing the individuality and specificity of the boys themselves. For example, the slight flexed position of the closest boy’s bare foot, curved upward just a touch, gives that tiny detail of a genuine gesture of personality. The horse tails breezing backward feel so light and airy — set against the grass, which kind of visually mirrors the tails, it all feels very free. And because one of the boys seems to be looking at us, another one looking over his shoulder in our direction, it kind of makes clear that we’re a part of it, too.” – Katherine Oktober Matthews.

Winning photographers: Sian Grahl, Stephanie Braun, Philip Nix, Hugo Aymar, Frederik Buyckx, Ole Marius Joergensen, Robin Alysha Clemens, Mateusz Skora, Christophe Coenon, Joelle Janssens, Simone Rossi, Emmanuel Monzon, Barbara Traver, Thomas Friedrich, Sasha Asensio, Gabriele Duchi, Astrid Verhoef, Todd Darling, Mariano Silletti, Roberto Deri.