Worth a Look: Magnum’s Expression Award Finalists

The twenty finalists of the first Magnum Expression Award were just announced. This year’s theme was “Communities” and received submissions from over 170 countries and territories, and few of the finalists are ‘usual suspects’. There is a lot of interesting and fresh work in here by a lot of photographers I haven’t heard or seen work from before, which is always terrific. I think this is a great start for a very promising award. Tune in on October 23 when they announce the winner of the $10,000 grant and other prizes.
Though I like much of the work selected, I’m particularly enthralled with Andy Spyra’s work from Kashmir. I met Andy a couple of weeks ago as he traveled through Belgrade on assignment and he had interesting stories of how this work came together, his motivations and the process of making the story. The pictures will probably be divisive for many people, they’re full of motion and ambiguity, harsh shadows and exploited light, but they’re undeniably powerful.
May 2009, India, Jammu and Kashmir, Kashmir, Srinagar. (c) Andy Spyra
Great to see a photographer taking huge chances and doing it his or her own way, something I’m really inspired by. These are risky photographs, an experimentation, and most work very well. Now to see how he can push it further, and where it’ll take his pictures and stories. Maybe soon we can get a little conversation up here with him.

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