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Connect contest winner announced!

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This image by Sudeep Mehta was selected as the top image for our first Connect photography contest.

To celebrate the launch of Connect, we hosted a photography contest last month, inviting participants to share their best shot with us. We asked our readers to share an image that illustrates the meaning of "connect."

More than 3,000 images were submitted and we asked our panel of judges, mobile photographers and Connect contributors, Misho Baranovic, Star Rush, Anton Kawasaki, Daniel Berman and Brad Puet to help the Connect team choose six final winners.

We're pleased to announce that the top prize of $5,000 goes to Sudeep Mehta of Mumbai, India. 

Our second prize of $3,000 will be awarded to Ramon Castillo of Antipolo City, Philippines. Four honorable mentions with $500 cash prizes go to: Ahmad Zamroni of Jakarta, Indonesia; Krisna Murti of Jakarta, Indonesia; Alamsyah Rauf of Sinjai Utara, Indonesia; and Tran Cao Bao Long of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. You can view all winning images here.

Congratulations to everyone who entered our contest! There were many amazing entries. You can view our top selections in the gallery below (click through for a full screen version with entrants' names): 

Connect contest top entries
1 / 19
Andrew Kasian of Gilbert, Arizona, United States
Andrew Kasian of Gilbert, Arizona, United States
Andrew Kasian of Gilbert, Arizona, United States
Dutch Doscher of New Canaan, Connecticut, United States
Sebastian Grass of Rauenberg, Germany
Konstantinos Kolovos of Lefkada, Greece
Kamal Kishore of New Delhi, India
Balazs Szabo of Veszprém, Hungary

Comments

Total comments: 44
kwojdyna

Yes - we're just envy because our pictures did not win. So after I admited that, let's ask some envy questions:

1. What does the picture showing two black people making out have to do with the topic of the contest?
2. What does the picture with two white people sitting on a bridge have to do with the topic of the contest?
3. What does the picture with two shades making out in Paris have to do with the topic of the contest?
4. What does the statule have to do with the topic of the contest?
5. What do the gossiping girls connect?
6. What is a person looking at the sun connected with?

My immagination is not much limited, but after looking at those pictures I would guess a picture showing anything could win.

Kids on a playground is a great picture and so is the pyramid of workers - these are GREAT, best fitting the topic.

Simple hand-holds were just so obvious that I knew that would be a major theme, but never thought it could be winning. Especialy after similar entry won Sony contest.

3 upvotes
kwojdyna

By the way - the pictures that won Sony Contest 2012 are mostly great and fitting the topic. Thank you MrPetkus for the link, I really enjoyed some entries and recommend everyone look at them, especially 06, 04 and 12 but 03, 08, 09, 10, 11, 13 also.

ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/9153720/The-2012-Sony-World-Photography-Awards-Open-and-Youth-category-winners.html

But I was just envy for those $5K, so do not pay any attention to what I wrote.

0 upvotes
swhs

To me the images that 'win' show not actually what is asked, namely how people (after all that's what life for humans is about) really connect. E.g. someone charging a phone, which is not interesting. If it had been say a solar charger, then it would have been interesting...

The image I submitted was, though perhaps not artistically great (then again I see nothing special in the winning images), interesting as it showed a connection from book to PC to tablet (better than a mobile phone for me, esp. where there is good WiFi coverage) with the picture of someone I know in all of them. This signifies much more, a connection to people, and of how communication changed (from letters/books to electronic)

I don't believe no entries from the USA or western Europe were at least as good as the winning images, and that these all come from non-western countries is thus caused by bias of the judges, perhaps even who they want to win because they can use the prize money better.

0 upvotes
taotoo

There are some good images, average images, and poor images in that little lot. It's almost like the judges forgot to judge.

2 upvotes
digitapain

Guys - like it or Shut it !!

0 upvotes
Camediadude

Does free speech, or a dissenting voice, bother you?

1 upvote
wkay

of course we like it, it's always entertaining to see uncivilized people at their basest, or at least that's the position the judges have taken.. this is really a sensationalist contest not a photographic art one.

1 upvote
MikeFairbanks

They are good images. Who am I to judge, considering my entry was a photograph of two connected paperclips on top of a green piece of construction paper. I was going for the most simplified image possible. It isn't interesting.

Now, if I signed Andy Warhol's name to it then it would be an important piece of American culture and a fine work of art.

Go figure.

0 upvotes
Camediadude

Makes you wonder how many of those three thousand submitted images were from the West ... I would be most curious to know such a factor.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dhurandhar

You are correct Raj S; all those who feel that the two images are same have poor observation, thinking and knowledge about these images and the event. Probably it is the duty of the organisers of any contest to see before the results are declared that the award winning images are not "similar" to any other award winning images in the recent (?) past. Comment by "Slavomir" is very ridiculous asking the winner to return the award !! and "FernanRx182" putting forward "two second" theory. Instead of this both of them should have spent "Two Seconds" in studying the images and understanding the facts. Very unfortunate !!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Raj S

Sony Awards were declared on 26th April 2012 while the EXIF of this image says it was clicked on 10th August 2012...this year, this festival was celebrated on 10th August 2012 itself...it's celebrated once in a year...these are not 2 second apart but a year apart....!! Pls do not comment unless you know it...

1 upvote
MrPetkus

Shouldn't the winning pic at least be original? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/9153720/The-2012-Sony-World-Photography-Awards-Open-and-Youth-category-winners.html

8 upvotes
Erin Lodi

I'd invite you to look a little closer. These are different images.

1 upvote
FernanRx182

These are not different at all. Perhaps 2 seconds apart?

1 upvote
Dhurandhar

"MrPtkus" & "FernanRx182" I took a close look at both images and both are very clearly completely different but shot on the same "event" that takes place every year !!. The faces are different note the heads with caps in one image that are not there in the other image. These are very common images in Mumbai on the "Janmashtami" Celebration that take place every year.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Lawrencew

I made the same mistake, and then deleted my post once I realised it.

However, to vote this the winner shows a distinct lack of originality on behalf of the judges.

Even more so if these are "very common images".

1 upvote
MrPetkus

Folks, I never stated in my post that these were the same pictures. Clearly they are not. Also, I didn't imply that the winning photo wasn't interesting or technically well-executed. I questioned awarding a photo that is so strikingly similar to another of recent repute.

In all fairness to the judges, I can't expect them to compare their winning selections to any number of random contests held worldwide by other organizations.

2 upvotes
wildbild

When I first saw the winning selection yesterday I couldn't believe my eyes.
Now, a day later, I feel the need to make a comment, even if it means, that most readers will find it strange or even mean and stupid.

For my eyes, what the winning selection has in common is a severe cheesiness. Except the second prize and Krisna Murti's image—these clearly stands out in this respect—the pictures make use of aesthetics seen in amateur photo competitions in Europe in the 90ies.
The images may cover striking moments, but they are no striking photographs. If you take into account that the jury's criteria have been: relevance, originality, creativity and composition it feels even stranger. Only the two images out of six I have pointed out earlier offer something original, creative and have an somehow interesting composition.

Please feel free to disagree.
I am still very much irritated by this selection.

4 upvotes
gooseta
1 upvote
Infared

OK..first prize I TOTALLY agree with....Fantastic shot. Perfect. Really.
2nd prize although a good quality photograph..is so thoroughly staged (set-up) that is really bothers me.

2 upvotes
keaggy220

I noticed earlier this year, after looking at several years of contest results, that western photographers have zero chance at winning the NG photo contest. Is it because western photographers are subpar compard to developing and eastern nation photographers or because western photographers are choosing familiar subjects? Or is it for some other reason? I bring this up because westerners were shut out in this contest as well.

1 upvote
Rooru S

I would say...because in the Eastern Hemisphere, there are more interesting scenarios compared to the Western Hemisphere. Looking at NG, the best pictures are coming always from Eastern Hemisphere in my opinion.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge

Let's not forget the possibility that the contests mentioned have been run correctly and fairly.
If there was some Jury charged with the task of picking ten best among my own pictures, I know I wouldn't be satisfied with their choice. It's only normal; no need to trip over facts to arrive at a theory.
There will never be anything anywhere in this World that would make all people equally happy, and everyone should come to terms with that.
Western, Eastern, Northern, Southern, black, white, far, near, rich, poor... NatGeo has been the one to bring info upon all of it over the decades, presented neutrally, extensively and in a pleasing way. I have been following NG for 40-plus years, and I know that I have learned much from it about lots of places, situations, ways of living etc.

1 upvote
Slynky

It just might be that (us) Westerners already think we're the best at everything and therefore give less effort to producing an award-winning photo. It just might be that (us) Westerners are a minority when tallying up our numbers in the world population.

I think the winning photo was spot on. The others are deserving, too.

0 upvotes
keaggy220

Interesting how a simple observation brings out such intense passions. I understand there are polarizing world-views held by many Westerners regarding our overall accomplishments or lack of accomplishments, depending on the side you take...

I personally think the winning photo is nice, but I think most of us agree that there's subjectivity in judging photos. This subjectivity is part of what makes art interesting to me. I'm just amazed by the consistent shutout Westerners have experienced at the hands of developing nations and Easterners through the years at NG and with this contest.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
1 upvote
aardvark7

I think it may be a number of reasons.

Mainly though, it is an attitude of mind and a freedom to take photographs.

The 'Eastern hemisphere' to which you refer is most often the less well developed areas.
Here we see attitudes that pervaded in the west some decades ago, but now feel to0 constrained against pointing our cameras for fear of objection and ridicule.

I have always felt that all great photographs are the product of opportunity; yes, you need skill and an eye, but without opportunity there are no pictures. You can see that most stikingly in some shots that would be technically very ordinary, but the subjects are great figures of history and turn the shots into something special.

Unfortunately, in the west the opportunities are being lost to us; our creativity is being slowly strangled by the paranoid and politically correct.

A lesser reason is possibly familiarity: we have had so many cameras that have pointed in every direction the subjects here look all too familiar!

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
wkay

well of course this is a Western contest; 'National Geographic' shots of the third world groveling population will always prevail.. the way the West 'connects' is too everyday and mundane.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
wildbild

@ wkay
too everyday is a good point.
the different always catches the eye.. what an exotic selection for western eyes : )

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
HarleyFrank

In some way it almost seems to be a challenge in a challenge. I am sure western folks are taking your comments to mean that western people are inferior in art and talent. For me, I am surprised that anyone has "analyzed" the winners to make this kind of distinction. Why not just accept that there is someone who wins and celebrate that? Why do we have to "label" and "divide"? Look at the picture. It is a picture of humanity and focus...to a single point. That is the winner of the contest. It is not about differentiate and divide. Take a lesson from that picture and celebrate that....

0 upvotes
KodaChrome25

I think I'll agree with Slynky about the numbers... Asia and Africa combined account for 5 billion of the 7 billion people on the planet.

0 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS

Congratulation. The winning picture seems to be the same as last year Sony World Photography Award...

3 upvotes
Deleted pending purge

All great shots, sure. And I guess it wasn't easy to pick the winners. To my eye, the second one isn't quite top-notch, because of cadring...
Anyway, congrats to the winners... Don't spend it all in one place ;)

0 upvotes
sadwitch

I would prefer Krisna Murti's charger gratis image too as it conveys quite literally the need to connect but she might just as well be playing angry birds.

0 upvotes
sadwitch

It's fantastic. Well deserve win.

1 upvote
JaXen

Exif says that it was captured by a Nikon D800.

0 upvotes
sadwitch

From FxIF Plugin

Camera Maker: NIKON CORPORATION
Camera Model: NIKON D800
Image Date: 2012-08-10 11:47:39 (no TZ)
Focal Length: 70.0mm
Aperture: f/4.5
Exposure Time: 0.0020 s (1/500)
ISO equiv: 800
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
White Balance: Auto
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
GPS Coordinate: undefined, undefined
Photographer: Sudeep Mehta
Copyright: Sudeep Mehta. All Rights Reserved.
Caption: Hands Of Unity

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dabbler

EXIF? What's the story behind image?

0 upvotes
Erin Lodi

We're excited to share more information about the winners soon. Stay tuned ...

0 upvotes
Dhurandhar

This is an image (mostly) shot on the day of celebration of "Janmashtami" festival of "Lord Shree Krishna's birth, in India. In Mumbai it is celebrated in unique style of Human pyramids. This image is shot after collapse of such human pyramid. It is normally a very crowded event in small lanes where hundreds of viewers are present to see the event. There are hundreds of cameramen also to shoot this event from adjecent buildings and everyone shoots hundreds of images.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
codeNsnap

This is the first layer or the base of an eventually very tall human pyramid.

@Dhurandhar Clearly they are coming together to form the pyramid. The collapse would look lot more chaotic.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Dhurandhar

"codeNsnap", when the pyramid is formed, no one raises hands; everyone from the group are only standing very close and when it is about to fall everyone raises hands and are very close to each other almost pushing inside and hands are raised to support or catch any group member falling down. This action is very common and falling of the pyramid is also very common. I have been photographing this event for many years in Mumbai and this moment is just after evryone has come down. One can get as many images like this one, on the day of celebration in Mumbai from 3rd or 4th floor of nearby buildings.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
codeNsnap

Here is sample of a collapsed pyramid -
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/mumbai-bombay/images/human-pyramid-mumbai$24543-4

You can see the ground on the bottom left corner and it is clear that it is the first level. If it is first level, why would people just stand there and not disperse when there is no one to climb down? The people in the corners seem to have no intention to move away and the anticipation is clear on the faces. And that anticipation can mean only one thing when there is no one coming down and that is there will be people going up.

BTW they are not really raising hands, they are holding on to the person ahead to support the next level that will climb on them.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dhurandhar

The link you have mentioned is of a "collapsing" pyramid and not of completely "collapsed" pyramid. When it is collapsing the hands are up (as they are in the link you have mentioned) and when the collapse is complete (when every one is on ground) hands are just above the shoulder level. When the pyramid collapses it has strong force on the surrounding people in outward direction and to counter that, all these group members push inside, if they disperse the members of the team falling, will hit hard on the ground. By this action all members try to minimise the collapse impact. I have shot many such images on Transperancy film and digital as well. Now there is no point in discussing "why". It happens that way !! If you want see it happening, you have to visit Mumbai on a Janmashtami day !! Second possibility is, all the people want to catch something that is at the centre but this possibility is very less (5%). Let the winner tell us the real story!!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dhurandhar

Following are the links for two images of pyramid "collapsing" and "collapsed" completely and you will notice the difference. I do not know the photographer but this proves my point that these images are similar and common and if you are at right position on 3rd or 4th floor you can always get a good image.

http://www.dinodia.com/ImageBigView.asp?ImageID=316757&ReturnfileName=SearchResults.asp

and

http://www.dinodia.com/ImageBigView.asp?ImageID=316755&ReturnfileName=SearchResults.asp

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 44
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