A long, long time ago Whalebone had just produced a print magazine and created some hand-crafted clothing in Montauk, NY. Then we bought a van and things went from there.
Along the way, Whalebone was privileged enough to be able to spend time and do projects with some amazing humans.
Turns out that many of the humans were people that walked around with a camera in their hands. The more time we spent with photographers from all over the world, the more it became apparent that we weren’t doing enough to honor these storytellers. And this goes for photographers of all skill levels. Their enthusiasm, approach to life, and work ethic outpaces many others and their reward is often very little for one image. You see where this is going and we’ll get to the photo contest in a few lines. But we’re not very comfortable saying what is and what is not a quality photo because, and we’re likely biased, many of the images that make their way to Whalebone often have a sense of delight, humanness, and inspiration.
Thankfully, when we came to the conclusion of doing a photo contest a handful of amazing photographers (and just incredible individuals) agreed to be on the judging panel: Walter Iooss, Morgan Maassen, and Danny Clinch. Then we reached out to some brands that we think are doing good things in the world and asked them to be involved and B&H Photo, JUST Water, Montauk Brewing Co., Huckberry, Urban Armor Gear and JuneShine wrote us back and said, “Hey, that sounds pretty great.” So now you know how we built the idea of this Photo Contest. Thousands of entries came into whalebonephotocontest.com from 33 different countries over a three-week span. We’re honored and humbled. Hopefully, we didn’t screw up too many times in our first attempt at this. Now there is a Photo Issue of Whalebone Magazine that you can hold in your hands.
Note: Winners from each category took home $4,000 respectively with finalists in each category receiving $500. $25,000 in total cash prizes has been allocated with a good portion from entry fees delivered to support No Kid Hungry COVID-19 relief efforts.
Matt Power | Sunset Barrel | @mattpowerphoto
“I took this photo after living in the Philippines for a couple of years. I always had this shot in mind at a particular surf spot. The wave breaks perfectly in line with the sunset for a shot like this to happen. I was simply waiting for all the elements to align; sunset, clean swell, clear water and a talented surfer. I was so happy when I saw this on my camera after a long, long time trying.”
Finalists: Janessa Anderson, Karim Iliya
See all the Finalists and Honorable Mentions in WATER here.
Zay Yar Lin | Nomadic Life | @zayyarlin84
“The largest population of Bactrian camel lives in Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Camel has been the only livelihood for local Gobi nomads. They use camels for transportation, wool, meat and local festivities. People in the Gobi Desert region of Mongolia live a nomadic way of life and migrate few places in their desert region year-round using their camels.”
Finalists: Joe Baumann, Ross Draper
See all the Finalists and Honorable Mentions in ADVENTURE here.
Svetlin Yosifov | Woman Mursi | @picsvet_photography
“The African tribe of Mursi people is isolated in Omo Valley, South Ethiopia near the border with Sudan. Their lives being a combination of brutal reality and amazing beauty. Suffering from extreme drought in the past few years has made their lives cruel and sometimes dangerous, but has not left a single mark on their traditions. What was really appealing to me as a photographer, was to capture and recreate the perplexing nature of their culture and way of life. Living among them gave the sense of extreme authenticity and at the same time felt like an illusion. Their faces filled my passion for capturing pure, untouched souls of a culture on the brink of extinction.”
Finalists: Azim Khan Ronnie, Zay Yar Lin
See all the Finalists and Honorable Mentions in HUMAN here.
Shivesh Ram | Tossing a Fishing Net
“The Cormorant Fisherman of China are iconic and photographed by many tourists. But living and working in China for a decade, my objective was to learn about them socio-culturally and as people (my basic Mandarin Chinese skills from living there helped). Now elderly, and having been made obsolete by Modern China’s fishing fleets, they ironically make more money from tourist pictures than fishing ! As they talked about their traditional techniques, only the youngest brother of the elderly group could still toss a heavy fishing net. As he threw, I was drawn to the emotion, character, and residual strength in his face, so I decided to freeze the motion and action of his throw in a tight shot, using a 120mm zoom. I love the layers and textures in the image – the net, his clothes, the birds and iconic Karst mountain scenery often seen in paintings.”
Finalists: Sydney Gawlik, Alain Schroeder
See all the Finalists and Honorable Mentions in MOTION here.
Zay Yar Lin | The Game of Jumps | @zayyarlin84
“When I visited the Hsinbyume Pagoda in Sagaing in Dec 2019, I noticed some novices playing on the wavy curves of this wonderful white pagoda. The scene is so eye-catching as the novices wearing red robes and the white pagoda contrasts with the blue sky behind. I decided to take some shots and asked the novices to keep playing and jumping for a while. I used a fast shutter speed to freeze them in the right moment.”
Finalists: Gabriel L’Heureux, Jimmy Wilson
See all the Finalists and Honorable Mentions in JOY here.
Muhammad Amdad Hossain
Summer in 35mm special section