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Open call: the curated selection

5 years ago

We are pleased to present the curated selection of 18 projects from the inaugural Der Greif and the World Photo Organisation open call. Directed towards emerging artists working in the medium of photography, this opportunity attracted 1.157 photographers who submitted a total of 10.119 images.

Submissions were judged by Mike Trow, curator, editor and chair of the Professional competition of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards.

"Contemporary art photography is a tricky beast. What makes a photo story an art piece or something that stands alone? There are a myriad of theories but for me, and I hope you may feel something the same, the best art photography challenges norms and forces us to confront notions of existence and history, of uncomfortable sexuality, of the nature of liberty or repression and a myriad of ideas that photography can shine a light on," says Trow.


He goes on to say that he thinks the pieces chosen here give a roundup of where he feels contemporary photography succeeds. "Some of the selected works are by established artists and others not so much, but they all have a view of reality that gives us genuine food for thought. I know I may have missed many worthy pieces and to those artists who feel aggrieved, I apologize. But my choices here reflect some of my beliefs and a desire to broaden my understanding of the medium. Some are deeply emotional, dealing with notions of personal surveillance, others are about the body,  science and just the bizarre imagination made real. I hope this selection causes some debate - and it's legitimate to disagree with the choices. But I also hope this gallery manages to avoid cliche and is visually vibrant and stimulating - and also witty.  "The works all speak to me in different ways, very much in the way we like different music at different times and depending on the emotional state we are in.

Trow finds that to be able to look through so much work from around the world, by photographers who believe in what they do, think deeply about what it is they want to say and then to be able to execute the ideas so well is a privilege: "I found it very challenging mentally to have to make decisions on such personal work. The process of editing down made me question much about what is to like something and why. I like all the submissions here very much and because they are quite varied I have no particular favorite. But Der Greif is such an excellent and brave magazine to bring this work to the fore. It creates debate and gives great value to modern photography outside of our daily diet of retouched perfection and throw away images. They work with so many terrific curators and artists and I am fortunate to be a small part of this. Doing this gallery in conjunction with the World Photography Organisation will, I hope,l bring this work to a wider global audience and drive artists to push and experiment more with their practice."


1. ashes to ashes_ by Noémi Szécsi

Noémi Szécsi was born in Budapest, where she is currently studying at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. Szécsi was a finalist at the 2018 Breda Photo Talent Program and at the 2018 Budapest Projekt Gallery, BPF Nights: To Infinity and Beyond.


2. Body Editor by Ewa Doroszenko 

Ewa Doroszenko (b. 1983) is a Warsaw-based artist whose creative practice employs a mixture of painting, photography and digital media. She earned a Doctor of Fine Arts degree (Painting Specialization) from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. Ewa Doroszenko is a winner of the Competition for the Fait Gallery Brno 2016; Young Lynxes Competition 2018 - Contemporary Lynx; DEBUTS 2018 - doc! photo magazine; Debut 2018 - Lithuanian Photographers Association. She is a beneficiary of many residency programs, including: Klaipeda Culture Communication Center (Lithuania 2017), Atelierhaus Salzamt in Linz (Austria 2016), The Island-resignified in Lefkada (Greece 2015), Kunstnarhuset Messen in Ålvik (Norway 2015), Foundation AAVC Hangar in Barcelona (Spain 2014), Fondazione Del Bianco in Florence (Italy 2006). Ewa Doroszenko is a participant of many group exhibitions and festivals, such as Transmission Arts Festival Athens, FILE Electronic Language International Festival in Sao Paulo, Interference Festival in Gdansk, ISEA International Symposium on Electronic Art in Vancouver, IN OUT Festival in Gdansk, GENERATE! Festival for Electronic Arts in Tübingen, The Wrong New Digital Art Biennale in Rio de Janeiro, among others. Her photographs have been featured in publications and blogs such as Der Greif, Vice, NEO2, The Forumist, YET magazine, The Calvert Journal, Daily Serving, Metal, Flat Magazine, Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography.


3. Aqueous by Elina Ruka

Elina Ruka lives and works in Latvia. Her artistic interest centres upon examining the human relationship with water and photographic medium, questioning the knowledge on both subjects and juggling between reality and illusion. Ruka is also interested in culture, especially linguistic and symbolic aspects, looking at details that bring us together or make it difficult to communicate. She has received her MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago (2016) and is recipient of Fulbright Fellowship, Follett Merit Award and Albert P. Weisman Award at Columbia College Chicago, Jānis Grundmanis Postgraduate Fellowship for Study in the U. S., Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation artist award and has been funded by State Cultural Capital Foundation of Latvia numerous times. Ruka's work has been published in Aint-Bad magazine (2017), Latvian Photography Yearbook (2013) and Generation of Place: Image, Memory and Fiction in the Baltics (2011). Her work is part of Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, and the Zuzāns collections. She has exhibited in Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Denmark, France and the United States and numerous online exhibitions. Elina Ruka has taught photography at Latvian Culture College.


4. Ikigai by Rafa Raigón

Rafa Raigón was born in 1976 in Cordoba, Spain. In 2009 he moved to Berlin with his family. The difficulty to perform in German made him pick up a camera to illustrate that what he could not express due to the language barrier. Since then, being completely self-taught, he has developed his work and skills through festivals such as PA-TA-TA in 2012 held in Granada, “full-contact” within the festival SCAN 2012 in Tarragona or EI AWARD in Braga 2015. His work has been exhibited in Berlin in 2014 and 2015, Croatia 2016, Lecce, Italy, in September 2016, Granada 2017 and Postdam and Krakow in 2018.


5. Reaction (2017) by Olivia Malena Vidal

Olivia Malena Vidal is a Swiss artist living and working between Geneva (CH) and Amsterdam (NL). She obtained a Masters in Translation in 2015 at the University of Geneva and then studied Photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. She mainly questions the medium of photography through performance, collages, painting and text. She is particularly interested in the image world and in the relationships photography can build with other media. GUP Magazine selected her as one of the 2017 New Dutch Photography Talent. She received the Experimental Film Award from the Amsterdam Film Festival for her short film "The Lady on the bed" (2016), was shortlisted for the Athens Photo Festival and shortlisted for the Artifact Prize 2018. She has also completed two artist residencies, one in Leipzig (Germany) and one in Gstaad (Switzerland) and has recently exhibited at the Center of Contemporary Art in Geneva.


6. Shame by Lana Kudinova

Lana Kudinova lives and works in Moscow. Since 2008 she has been engaged in photography, since 2016 – videography, since 2018 - video art. The organizer and the participant of group exhibitions in galleries and museums of Moscow (Gallery of Classical Photography, Vauxhall Center, Photo center on Gogol Boulevard, The State Darwin Museum, The Central House of artists on Krymsky Val, Zverev Center of Contemporary Art), nominee of the Russian photographic competitions. In 2015-2016 lecturer and supervisor of diploma works of students of the faculty of photography in IGUMO (Moscow). She graduated from the School of modern photography, "Doc Doc Doc" (St.-Petersburg).



7. 21 22 23  by gidon levin

Gidon Levin is an Israeli artist and graduate of the Bezalel school of arts in Jerusalem. He was born in Ukraine in 1983 and after moving to Israel at a young age served as an IDF soldier where he draws much inspiration for his artwork. Gidon’s style of photography is characterized in its modesty as well as the mystery that is created in his photographs. In Gidon’s words, “what goes through my head during photography and in general, is a lot of silence, quietness, preoccupation with death and everything related to that.” Gidon is strongly influenced from his days in the military and uses his memories from his time serving in the paratroopers unit as well as what is happening there today to create his art. The relationship between photography and sculpture is another characterization of Gidon’s artwork, as he believes there is a strong connection between the two. Similarly, his photography is always done slowly, as it takes time for him to find what he is looking for. He almost never photographs people, as he feels he has more control over inanimate objects. Perhaps the one feature that stands out the most in Gidon’s photographs is their clean lines and minimalist aesthetic. What is undeniable is however neat and simple his photographs may be, their bold message comes across and resonates with viewer in an impactful way.


8. Under Surveillance by Christiane Zschommler

I was born in East Berlin, growing up in the 1960s in a block of flats behind The Berlin Wall, where I was a self-taught photographer. Later, having qualified and worked as a chemistry and biology teacher, I devoted all my spare time to photography. My improvised black and white darkroom was a refuge to me, a timeless world. I focussed on grainy black and white street photography taken on my travels through Eastern Europe. In 1992 I received a grant to teach German in London. I felt overwhelmed by the change and unlimited opportunities. While completing a BA in Photography at the University of Westminster in the mid-90s my approach to photography changed radically: instead of capturing images, I began to create them. For my degree I created a series of self-portraits through darkroom manipulation reflecting on the impact of growing up directly opposite The Berlin Wall. I worked as a freelance photographer and became involved in collaborative projects. Most of my photographs from 2013 to 2016 were taken on solitary walks. It seems this process acts as a catalyst for triggering memories. With my recent work I continue to focus on my experiences of totalitarianism, using kept notebooks, personal documents and government statistics as starting point. I create images by obscuring the content, following a process of layering or erasing parts of the document, then reducing them to fundamental shapes and forms until there is only a trace of the original page remaining.


9. The Poetics of Science by Sheung Yiu

Sheung Yiu is a self-taught independent photographer based in Hong Kong. His work explores the many facets of photography in contemporary culture, currently focuses on the use of photography in science. His work is featured on various online photo magazines such as Ignant, Lintroller, Oitzarisme, ‘get addicted to…’, SFMOMA tumblr blog and Fotografia Magazine. He was shortlisted for the Lucie Foundation Scholarship Program in 2015. He runs a tumblr blog (@Juxtaposter) and a website ( When he is not taking photographs, he writes about photography.


10. Cicatrici (Scars) by Silvia Bigi

Silvia Bigi was born in 1985 in Ravenna, Italy. In 2009 she gained a bachelor’s degree at the University of Visual Arts in Bologna and continued her studies with a Master’s degree at Centro Sperimentale di Fotografia Adams in Rome. She attended a course at the International Center of Photography, New York, and many workshops held by artists such as Guido Guidi, Silvia Camporesi, Saul Sagatti. With her research she explores photography as a language, its boundaries, as well as its connections with other media. Her work reveals the illusion of reiterations and automatisms which affects our life, with a focus on the point of meeting between nature and culture. She usually works on crossed-media projects, including video installations, textile and sound art. Her artworks have been exhibited in group and solo shows, nationally and inter-nationally. This year, the group show “Engaged, active, aware - women’s perspective now” which included her work, won the Lucie Awards as Best Exhibition 2018. She currently lives and works in Milan, where she is teaching photography.


11. Present Imperfect, Future Tense. Vol: 2. Atlantis by Susana Sanromán

Susana Sanromán (A Coruña) - She lives and works in London Spanish visual artist living in London and working in different media: Photography, Video-Art, Installation and Performance. Since completing her B.A. (hons) in Photography at the LCC, University of the Arts London. She has been involved in numerous international exhibitions and artist residencies in Europe, Asia and America. Her art work has been selected and shown in several Art Fairs over the years; Exposure 2015 at Louvre Museum, Venice Biennale 2017 and 2015, Tallinn Art Week 2018, NordArt 2016 & 2015, Art Takes Miami 2015 &2014, Interfilm Berlin 2017, CineMare International 2017 ArtCop21, Mar de Mares 2015, Spain Now 2015, 2014 & 2013, Futurising 2009 and Caja Madrid Generación 2008. She has been assisting internationally renowned artist Tom Hunter from 2008 to 2013. One year later,2009, her photographic essay ' Women looking at women: the female gaze' will be published. 12. Old Father Thames 2018 by Julia Fullerton-Batten


12. Old Father Thames 2018 by Julia Fullerton-Batten

Julia Fullerton-Batten is a worldwide acclaimed and exhibited fine-art photographer. Her more recent projects consider social issues, frequently covering controversial subject matter. In ‘Feral Children, 2015’, Julia re-enacts fifteen reported historical cases of feral children. Using child actors, her re-enactments illustrate the tragic circumstances in which children were rejected or abused by their parents, got lost or were left in the wild, and yet others were captured by wild animals. Fullerton-Batten was born in Bremen, Germany. Her early life was spent in Germany and the USA, but after her parent’s divorce she and her siblings moved to the UK. There she completed her secondary education, then studied photography. Subsequently she assisted professional photographers for five years before a first commercial assignment kick-started her career in 1995, and first gained recognition as a fine-art photographer in 2005. Julia’s use of unusual locations, highly creative settings, street-cast models, accented with cinematic lighting are hallmarks of her very distinctive style of photography. She insinuates visual tensions in her images, and imbues them with a hint of mystery, which combine to tease the viewer to re-examine the picture, each time seeing more content and finding a deeper meaning. 


13. Selected images from recent projects by Melissa Spiccia

I began my training as a dancer in Australia and France prior to starting my career as a professional Ballerina in Germany and later after completing a BA (hons) degree at theTrinity Laban Centre in London worked as a Contemporary Dance Artist. In late 2015 I made the conscious decision to shift away from performing and into photography.

My photography has been featured in numerous photography magazines, online platforms and group exhibitions. in 2016 an image titled Metro won the Life Framer Photography Prize in the Human Body Category judged by Mona Kuhn and went on to be exhibited in New York, Tokyo and Rome in 2017.  In 2018 I received an honourable mention in the 11th Julia Margaret Cameron International Award for women photographers for an image from my AnOther series and was a finalist for the Bowness Photography Prize by Monash Gallery of Art in Australia, established to promote Australian photography.


14. InOut by Maria Petrenko

Born in Kyiv in 1984. Studied sociology and philosophy. Over the last 10 years she has been working in the field of marketing, advertising and on the TV. Studied Documentary Photography at the School of Visual Communication. Took part in the Swedish-Ukrainian program “Other voices, other rooms” (by PhotoCULT Centre of Photography and Swedish institute) and in the cultural residence «Points of approaching» in Kharkiv (by CSM / Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art). Participated in Odessa-Batumi photo days. Exhibited during New Wave art festival in Lviv, More-Gol festival in Kyiv, #showmeyourufo project in Krakow, CANactions festival in Kyiv, Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition in London, exhibition 'Family of No Man' in Arles, exhibition 'I am SINoptic' in Kyiv (AkT gallery/Art-zavod Platforma) Finalist (3rd Place, Professional competition, Discovery) of the Sony Photography Awards 2018. Publications: F-stop magazine, Humble Arts Foundation group show, Ukraїner, Der Greif Guest.



Eija Mäkivuoti (b. 1972) is a Helsinki-based photographic/visual artist. She works with long-term narratives, and in different cross-and interdisciplinary art projects and artist groups. She photographs live performative arts, such as music and performance art. Mäkivuoti holds a MA degree from the Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) programme from Aalto University in Helsinki. She also holds a BA degree in photography from the Lahti Institute of Design (Lahti University of Applied Sciences) and is also trained as a visual artist. She is a member of the Photographic Artists’ Association in Finland. She is part of the artArctica network (that have a passion for the Arctic) and the chair of Tjaldur - The Friendship Society Finland-Faroe Islands, Travels, encounters, storytelling and explorations to contemporary cultures and phenomena as well as intimate collaborations with people are the main themes in her work. Important ingredients in her artistic work are cross-disciplinary and co-operative working methods drawing from critical arts-based research methods. She is exploring collaborative storytelling, and want to forward these empirical experiences, encounters and insights into her storytelling. The magical moments of everyday life fascinates her, the local and situational knowledges shared with people and places she collaborates with, as well as the shared narratives, in words and in images. At the moment her work could be described as documentary poetry.


16. Twin Flames by Justin Aversano

Justin Aversano, b. 1992, is an artist and curator based in New York, NY. Aversano studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York graduating in 2014 with a concentration in photography. Aversano has exhibited work in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Aversano’s curatorial repertoire includes a number of shows with an emphasis on community at The Living Gallery, Bushwick Community Darkroom, Petite Gallery and The Storefront Project. Aversano is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Save Art Space and co-curates bi-monthly public art installations partnering with local and regional businesses to convert billboards and languishing spaces into works of art. Founded in 2015, Save Art Space enriches local communities through public beautification and fosters creative culture by giving artists the opportunity to use our platform to display their work.


17. Still (a) life by Hannah Woolf

The visual artist Anne Hindennach currently lives in Barcelona. Her artistic interests are varied, from graphic design and video to painting and drawing. Lately her work is focused on photography, which she publishes under the pseudonym Hannah Woolf. The double-reading in a picture, the invisible or hidden behind a facade are repetitive subjects in her work. Woolf often uses the limitation of photography - the unique point of view - in her favor and plays with it. The question is: What is it really what we are looking at?


18. People like objects. objects like people by Julia Kafizova

Julia Kafizova, born in 1986, Ukraine. I moved to Poland and now study at the Academy of Photography in Warsaw. I try to find my way and take pictures of everything, because everything is beautiful. I am attracted to individual photographs, and projects that can be extended. Thanks to which I can discover something new, and also analyze other sides. One of the important moments of photography is that whenever you take a picture, after - in a minute, hour or year - you can always observe the changes of this object. or change it yourself.




DER GREIF is an award-winning organisation for contemporary photography. As a print publication, international online platform, and as a curatorial team, DER GREIF’s aim is to facilitate and help shape dialogues between image-makers and the images themselves. The artistic core and root of the project is our annual, ad-free print publication. The website is an exhibition-, communication-, and information platform for participants and anyone interested in contemporary photography. DER GREIF connects the digital (global) and the analogue (local), exploring and expanding the borders and limitations of image distribution and reception in a digital era. All DER GREIF projects connect virtual, physical and / or printed spaces.