PDN Curator Awards

PDN Curator Awards

Deadline: May 21, 2019
Entry fee: $45 for a single or series entry (2–6 visually related images)
Prizes: $200, $500 gift cards from B&H, valuable prizes

PDN is seeking emerging fine-art photographers for The Curator, an annual competition that will culminate in a group show in New York City. Six winners will exhibit their work in a summer show with an opening reception. Their work will also be published in the Fine-Art Issue of PDN (August) and in a gallery on pdnonline.com, promoted to our network of more than 460,000 followers.


  • Portraits
  • Still Lifes
  • Abstract/Mixed Media
  • Landscapes
  • Urban Scenes
  • Student Work

Website: https://www.pdncuratorawards.com/

PDN Curator Awards 2018 Winners

A Place to Disappear, © Pablo Lerma, New York, NY, United States, Grand Prize, Landscapes Category Winner, PDN Curator Awards
A Place to Disappear
© Pablo Lerma, New York, NY, United States
Grand Prize
Landscapes Category Winner

“A Place to Disappear” is Lerma’s visual research-based project that explores landscapes that are absent of human interference. The series imagines a time when humans have disappeared from Earth but will come back centuries later. The project combines images of utopian landscapes with photographs of the same landscapes taken in the 19th century. “The physical, conceptual, and emotional junctions between these two groups of images serve to create a new narrative,” Lerma says. “‘A Place to Disappear’ suggests humans may transform their vanishing Earth into an open-ended utopian macrocosm to which they may return.”



Untitled Photographic Objects, © James Reeder, Brooklyn, NY, United States, Still Lifes Category Winner, PDN Curator Awards
Untitled Photographic Objects
© James Reeder, Brooklyn, NY, United States
Still Lifes Category Winner

Reeder reassembles and rephotographs images cut from old magazines and books. Many of the images he selects include pictures of hands in gestures and are taken from printed media about the history of photography, science and technology. Reeder’s series examines the relationship between digital and analogue as well as the duplicate and original. “The images are decontextualized in this staged studio setting and become open-ended, intersecting and looping back into the constant rush of visual information,” he says. “My photographs construct a disjointed and disorienting mashup based around the acts of seeing and doing, around gaze, gesture and the photograph.”



Vanishing Voices, © Paul Adams / © Jordan Layton, Lindon, Ut, United States, Portraits Category Winner, PDN Curator Awards
Vanishing Voices
© Paul Adams / © Jordan Layton, Lindon, Ut, United States
Portraits Category Winner

In an age where the number of languages spoken globally is shrinking, Paul Adams and Jordan Layton look to keep the spirit of historical languages alive by photographing some of the last native speakers of endangered languages. “By the next century, nearly half of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken on earth will likely disappear,” Adams says. Using a historical ambrotype printing process that produces the portraits on a silver plate, Adams and Layton create images that they say will “survive long after the subjects’ native languages have vanished.”



Of Breath and Dust, © Kaitlyn Danielson, Ridgewood, NY, United States, Abstract/Mixed Media Category Winner, PDN Curator Awards
Of Breath and Dust
© Kaitlyn Danielson, Ridgewood, NY, United States
Abstract/Mixed Media Category Winner

Danielson’s contemplative series “Of Breath and Dust” examines existence by visualizing the forms of her own breath. “The breath is our life source, its cycle resembling a miniature life and death, appearing and disappearing in a constant, undulating rhythm,” she says. Printed as ambrotypes—a variant of the wet plate collodian process—and produced on glass, the images function as both eternal and fleeting, macro and micro, celestial and earthly, Danielson notes. They are balanced precariously on each other in sculptural forms, she explains, “juxtaposing the notion of the photograph as permanent with the temporal nature of the body.”



Midnight Confusion, © Tod Kapke, Denver, CO, United States, Urban Scenes Category Winner, PDN Curator Awards
Midnight Confusion
© Tod Kapke, Denver, CO, United States
Urban Scenes Category Winner

Part of an ongoing project, “Midnight Confusion” is a combination of memories both real and imagined from Kapke’s experience growing up in the suburbs on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado.



Form and Emptiness, © Wentao Wei, Long Island City, Student Work Category Winner, PDN Curator Awards
Form and Emptiness
© Wentao Wei, Long Island City
Student Work Category Winner

Smartphones are an integral part of Wei’s life. “It’s the only tool I use to connect with my family and friends in my hometown overseas,” he explains. Inspired by the pixels that make up the screens of these devices, Wei created her series “Form and Emptiness” to explore and connect the past and the future as well as the virtual and the physical. To create the photographs, Wei manipulated the conventional darkroom process by exposing photo paper with an iPhone rather than negative film. “Through the experiments, I transferred pixels from the screen onto papers,” he says. The images in the series include an eye, water, wind, earth and fire which, he says, are the elements that form the universe, as well as the image of light. The name of the series is derived from The Heart Sutra, a text from a Buddhist scripture that says form itself is emptiness, emptiness itself is form. “My understanding of this teaching is that what you see in this world is not what it really is physically,” Wei says. “If we look close enough, the reality we perceive may transform into a totally different form.”



Fantasy Open Call – Festival PHOTO IS:RAEL
Fantasy Open Call - Festival PHOTO IS:RAEL


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