OD Photo Prize 2021 | Winners

Open Doors Gallery is proud to announce the Finalists of this year’s OD Photo Prize 2021.

Our Jury were so impressed by the quality and diversity of the projects submitted this year. We believe this is testament to a growing pool of global talent who demonstrate a high level of dedication and passion for photography. We wish to extend our deep admiration for all the artists who entered this year, and a big congratulations to this year’s nine Finalists!

We hope you will join us in December for the Winter exhibition in Borough, London, which will include work by all nine of this year’s Finalists listed below.

Exhibition dates: 2-7 Dec
51 Southwark Street,

If you cannot make the exhibition in December, don’t worry, you can find out about all the artists in the show and selected artists from this years shortlist on our online exhibition

We will be announcing a programme of workshops and events very soon – Sign up for more info. You can also pre-order our first OD Photo Prize 2021 catalogue here. The Winner, two Runners Up & the six Judge’s Picks are published together in a limited edition news-sheet zine.

For all print enquiries or to see more by each artist, contact:

This exhibition is possible thanks to our partners at MPB

MPB - Exhibition sponsor

Introducing this year’s Finalists…

Angus Scott

Grand Prize Winner
Angus Scott | Teetering like a September myth

Each year, on that first warm day following the long cold, as the scent of blooming clematis and withering wattle fills the air, it’s presence like old stories. Stories of season, of climate, of La Nina and El Nino. Things of the past becoming new again, just as everything that is current will eventually become old. The grasses once fed by winter rain, just as our bodies, begin to decay under the now intensifying sun. A slow but ever present withering. Do the wrens understand that their life expectancy is one of years, not decades? Not centuries nor millennia? Or can I, truly, understand this? Where will I go when we don’t make it through the winter? Teetering like a September myth explores the unknowability of death as an act of making peace with one’s own mortality. The project draws upon seasons, ecological processes and man-made constructs as symbols of life cycles, ultimately responding to the question as borrowed from an Appalachian hymn titled Idumea; “What will become of me?”

Angus Scott (b.1991) is a photographic artist living and working on Wurundjeri country in Melbourne. His creative practice is anchored to land and culture; the overlapping influences of where we live and who we are.

Runner Up
K Young | Paper Collage Re-photography

I explore spatial representation, form, and the notion of a fixed moment in time in photography. Working with appropriated photographic imagery found in magazines and second-hand books, I construct hand-cut, paper collages. I use cutting as subtraction; removing the original context, I layer and splice the remnants into unplanned arrangements that visualise my unconscious thoughts, memories, and imagination. The assemblages are then re-photographed, returning them to a semblance of their original form, but where the real and the imagined have become blurred. The pose often reveals more than the subject, and so in this set of photographs, faceless figures and absent bodies appear as abstract tracings, creating new visual spaces that heighten and exaggerate the surrounding domestic scenes or landscapes that they inhabit.

K Young lives and works in London, UK.

Elliott Verdier

Runner Up
Elliott Verdier | Reaching for Dawn

Of the bloody civil war (1989-2003) that decimated Liberia, its population does not speak. No proper memorial has been built, no day is dedicated to commemoration. The country, still held by several protagonists of the carnage, refuses to condemn its perpetrators. This deafening silence, that resonates internationally, denies any possibility of social recognition or collective memory of the massacres, condemning Liberia to an endless feeling of abandonment and drowsy resignation. The trauma carved into the population’s flesh is crystallized in the society’s weak foundations, still imbued with an unsound Americanism, and bleeds onto a new generation with an uncertain future.

Elliott Verdier (b.1992) is a documentary photographer based in Paris, France.


Our Judges of this year’s Prize represented a broad range of areas across the photography industry. Each member of the Jury brought their own experience and knowledge to the process. Deliberating over each shortlisted artists work. Their votes selected the Winner and the two Runners Up. They then chose a further project to be exhibited later this year as part of the OD Photo Prize group show. The Judges’ Picks are listed below…

What made me pick Jimmy’s work was its ability to stop me dead in my tracks… The sense of a masqueraded utopia, slowly collapsing upon itself and leaving behind only a mirage of what it could have been.

Keith Cullen, Director, Setanta Books

Judge’s Pick
Jimmy Lee | In search of Nirvana

In search of Nirvana is a photographic field research of contemporary western China. These photographs were made in 12 provincial-level regions in western China from 2013 to 2018. Having spent my childhood in Hong Kong, my idea of China was vague. China was too distant from me, not only physically but significantly also in its ideology. I realized there was part of me missing. Therefore, I consciously travelled to western China to search for the interconnection between my racial identity and Chineseness. This project looks into the absurdity of contemporary Chinese society and depicts the daily life in China that is paradoxically existed in two senses – harmonious and manipulated.

Follow Jimmy Lee

Burning Away is a riveting, compelling project which captures the invisible traces that shape our present selves… The repetition of materials in the treatment of the burns and the creation of the images, and the unusual patterns all lend themselves to a series that prompts thought at a cellular and social level.

Mariama Attah, Curator, Open Eye Gallery

Judge’s Pick
Kei Ito | Burning Away

This project is rooted in my generational trauma of Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima, which claimed many lives including my grandfather. The moment the bomb exploded in the sky of Hiroshima; it created a giant fire-ball reaching the surface temperature of 7,700 degree, matching the temperature of the Sun itself. The heat wave vaporized the people near the ground zero and left devastating burns on those left alive. I found the many stories of survivors, to treat the burn with honey, cooking oil and even motor oil due to the scarcity of even the most basic medicine. Burning Away is a chemigram series using honey and various oils on a sun-fused silver gelatin paper in a recreation of the numerous stories by survivors seeking to heal the charred trauma.

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Viewing Ioanna Sakellaraki’s project for the first time, I was intrigued by the creative manner in which she approaches the archive… Individually, her images are mysterious and unique, layered with varied symbols throughout. Simultaneously, they form a cohesive body of work in which memory, time, trauma and fiction blur into one another.

Isabella van Marle, Founder Pictures for Purpose

Judge’s Pick
Ioanna Sakellaraki | The Interval of Unreason

The series begins with an image found in my late father’s archive, remains of the tainted memory of an idyllic romance on the Greek island of Patmos, followed by my extended stay on the island, during the lockdown. It is there where I begin to unravel the secret stories of my father’s past as a sailor and adventurer of his time, while deconstructing the famous history of Patmos as the ‘’Island of the Apocalypse’’, the place from where infernal visions of mankind’s ultimate downfall sprang, inspiring Saint John, to write the Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament. In a vortex of clouds, shadows, starry skies and rushing wind, the island turns into a darkling site where the phantoms of imagination, personal loss and historic elegy occupy a transitional zone between the sublime, the cosmic and the solemn. It gradually becomes the roaming topography for composing a story ruled by desire, terror and imagination, turning the archival figures into the fugitive characters of a fictional tale, in the fascinating realm of time’s absence. In its own unique ways, the archive becomes a site that is historically and hermeneutically transformed; a place where amnesic memories are recorded. Borrowing symbols and interpretations of different timelines and histories, I respond to an eternally deferred disaster, as seen through its multiple temporalities and discrete personal and collective stories.

Follow Ioanna Sakellaraki

I’ve never seen illustrated so beautifully that there is something so unquantifiable about the human experience. Reminded that no matter how much we want to measure and control what’s around us, to place things in boxes, that perhaps there will always be an elusive piece of the jigsaw just out of reach from our comprehension.

Tom Page, Director, Open Doors Gallery

Judge’s Pick
Kíra Krász | Thought after Taught

In search of the origins of personal understanding and by engaging with the forms of the once learned and since forgotten, I encourage my mind to wander and to question everything that surrounds us: Plants, stones, forces or people interacting with each other. Those moments when the mind consciously renders rays of light reflected by skin or other surfaces. My camera is the observer, the only tool which comes up with real numbers indicating the amount of light hitting the lens, my only way to intrinsically preserve these states of being. I am thinking through the part I play in making images by offering a path, others can walk with me… Through dismembering books of theory, I am also re-membering the principles of algebra, geometry, biology and other fields of science, understanding them from the perspective of intuitive human experience. With passing years, and with re-evaluating and revising this knowledge, I manage to layer my experience onto the previously learned. By arrangements of simple lines and circles and the harmony of shape and content, I position the images upon their chosen canvas. Through the invention of flawed measurements, I amuse on the abstract pleasures of our rational minds.

Follow Kira Krasz

The series ‘Two Times Mary’ is a series that seeps out of the subconscious, it is a beautiful; melancholic and mournful representation of memory; pain and loss. The pace of the work flows gently but there is an unnerving ambiguity and subtle absence suggested, as if what we see is not what we are looking for – we’re not sure what it is and yet it might just be out of sight – all of these motifs condense into the series.

Steve MacLeod, Artist & Creative Director, Metro Imaging

Judge’s Pick
Vale Arendar | Two Times Mary

The starting point is July 21st of 1976, the night the armed forces broke into my maternal grandparents house in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The message was clear: if they found my mother they where going to kill her, so she was forced to go alone into exile at the age of 21. Uruguay was the first stop, then Brazil and finally she arrived in Mexico. Time tends to deceive us. But it happens the exact opposite if we assimilate and study the past as a time we need to rummage and put in front of us. Walter Benjamin once wrote that “it’s the ones before us who invokes us to make justice”. But the question is who can and should grant it? This project retrieves corporal and emotional memory from what detonated that night with my family.

Follow Vale Arendar

Cecilia’s altered, constructed and subverted images are at once both familiar and ambiguous, creating a seductive tension that I find utterly fascinating. The work is clever but not pretentious in its execution, inspiring us to question notions of what photography is, revealing and concealing as much or as little as we choose to see.

Brandei Estes, Head of Photography at Sothebys

Judge’s Pick
Cecilia Bonilla | Shelter in space

The series Shelter in space (collage on card, 2020) utilizes images taken from a single vintage fashion magazine where the models were originally photographed in domestic-like settings. Appearing to either be partially obstructed by props or intersected by the site that they occupy the characters now seem to form one with their environment. The ‘incompleteness’ of the figures disturb the original scenes inviting the viewer to form new narratives where the characters take on new roles and identities within their assigned settings.

Follow Cecilia Bonilla


We are also delighted to share with you the full shortlist from this year’s OD Photo Prize 2021. Thanks again to all that entered this year.

Claudia Fuggetti
Isabella Convertino
Hayley Millar Baker
Emil Lombardo
Bettina Pittaluga
Robin Hinsch
Mikael Siirilä
Gabriel Dia
Michael Young
Joseph Howard
Tamsin Green
Madeleine Morlet
Brian Van Lau
Domonkos Varga
 Patrick Warner
Sergey Novikov
Felix Schöppner
Kei Ito
Sayuri Ichida
tomoko nagakawa
Alisa Martynova
Shawn Bush
Christian K. Lee
Jimmy Lee
priscilla pallante
Tommy Keith
Alexis Pazoumian
Merlini Francesco
Stefano Conti
Natalia Kepesz
Maria Oliveira
Vale Arendar
Austin Kane Quintana
Marisol Mendez
Zara Carpenter
Michael Swann
William Edward Lakin
Peter Pflügler
Ioanna Sakellaraki
Daniel John Bracken
William Holderfield
Alex Avgud
Teiji Wallace-Lewis
Cecilia Bonilla
Nick Somers
Ana Zibelnik
Tracy L Chandler
Rosie Dale
Allan Salas Moscoso
Jodie Bateman
Lesia Maruschak
Cindy Lin
Katie Bret-Day
Chloé Milos Azzopardi
Kíra Dorottya Krász
Angus Scott
Elliott Verdier
K Young Collage

OD Photo Prize gif

The OD Photo Prize 2021 publication
Available for pre-order now
Early bird price of £12

Artwork from this year’s Winners is also available to purchase through Open Doors Gallery. For all print enquiries or to see more by each artist, contact:

The exhibition for this year’s OD Photo Prize 2021 has been generously sponsored by MPB

MPB - Exhibition sponsor

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