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Françoise Callier, #SWPA Professional competition judge

7 years ago

Born in Ghent, Belgium, Françoise Callier has lived in Paris since 1983. She is currently the Program Director at Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops. She also curates for various festivals that help emerging Asian photographers and others show their work around the world. From 1983-1990 she was the photographer’s agent for Helmut Newton, Jean-Paul Goude, Max Vadukul and others.

Françoise is a member of the jury for the Professional competition of the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards.

Hi Françoise. Tell us about your time working with the likes of Helmut Newton, Jean-Paul Goude, Max Vadukul. What did you learn most during this period?

It was interesting because they had very distinct personalities and you could learn many different things from them.

How did you first get into the photography world?

I was born into photography. My father was in love with it, he was subscribing to at least 20 magazines from all over the world. I spent hours looking at them and came to understand the enormous power of photography. I still remember some images I saw when I was 6 years old, and that was very long ago.


Talk us through the day-to-day as Program Director at Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops. It must be exciting to work with such a variety of images and photographers

It’s my tenth year as program-coordinator at Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops. We have no theme at the Festival. The open call for submissions this year brought in work from more than ninety countries. It is exciting because it allows me to make great discoveries of new talent. What I find most interesting is the way in which some of the photographers engage with their subject: their intimacy and familiarity with the people and surroundings that they are photographing gives their work more depth and conveys more information.

Our goal is to bridge the divide between continents by providing exposure to emerging talent from all over the world. Our workshops have a special emphasis on young Asian photographers and some of the stories produced in the workshops end up travelling internationally. They have talent to begin with of course, but I believe that the festival and workshops give them a foot in the door.


What in particular are you looking for in a series when judging the Professional competition of the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards?

Good storytelling is important to me. I like being able to look at the photographs and understand what they are telling me without having to read the text description about them. I want the photographs to speak for themselves.

In your opinion, how can photographers maximize their chances of winning awards and prizes?

Of course they have to be technically good photos but they also have to tell a story with passion and heart…and they shouldn’t copy winners from previous competitions!

What excites you most about the photography world as we head into 2017?