Tuesday, 8 May 2018

POV: The Human World Photo Contest | Winning Entry

Photo © Supriya Biswas | Courtesy The Human World
The Human World photography contest just announced its overall winner; Supriya Biswas with the above monochrome photograph, and four honorable mentions namely Thigh Wanna, Shoeb Faruquee, Robin Yong and Edoardo Agresti.

The Human World photography contest is organized by Matteo Vegetti, an Italian photographer, and is in its fourth annual iteration. 

As one of the contest's judges, I was gratified that the winning image was one of my top choices...and I'm glad the remaining judges on the panel seemed to have thought so as well. By the way, these judges are Diane Durongpisitkul, Jing Chen, Kim Hak, Sarah Trevisiol, Probal Rashid, and Gunarto Gunawan...a truly international panel representing the USA, Thailand, China, Cambodia, Italy, Germany, India and Indonesia.

My blog's readers may be interested as to the reason for this photograph being one of my top choices...and in all candor, I struggled with the decision and wavered a few times. My primary impulse insofar as photography is concerned is to follow Sebastiao Salgado's credo and to only take pictures (and like photographs) that illustrate the nobility of human beings.

My initial glance at this photograph was a rather negative one...I took it as something akin to a "poverty porn" image aimed at generating sympathy from the contest judges...but as I reflected more on it, I discovered more details that -to the contrary- ennobled these two men.

The apparent companionship between the men, not only in their handicap, but by sharing a newspaper since I imagined the one on the right reading the news to the one on the left, made a compelling story. Had they been soldiers in a conflict in which India was involved? Were they living in the same neighborhood? The details jumped at me...such as the leg prosthetic with the sandal obviously belonging to the man on the right, while the one without footwear was that of the man on the left. The reader was half-way through the newspaper...was he reading cricket scores? Do they live in an ashram for veterans or their in own homes...or were they laborers/farmers who lost their legs in accidents? One of them reads English...how does this level with my assumptions?

And what's going on with the cat and puppy? They mimic the head positions of the two men.

One could imagine a thousand short stories from this photograph...this slice of time...this instant when everything fell into place.

Despite all handicaps, life goes on. That is why this photograph got my vote.