Kate Phellini hails from Warsaw, Poland, where she splits her time between photography, graphic design and blues dancing; “a social dance, similar to swing”. Phellini’s interest in blues dancing has given her a physical focus through which she can explore her main interests in photography – non-verbal communication and body language. “It’s led me to engage photography and dance, my two biggest passions,” she explains.
Phellini has been named EyeEm Photographer of the Year. Her win means that this year she will become EyeEm’s ambassador, be exhibited alongside the finalists at Berlin Photo Week, and featured in the 2019 EyeEm Awards Magazine. Her other prizes include a membership to British Journal of Photography, more than $3,000 in photography gear, and a Magnum mentorship.
Among the 10 category winners are those occupying the titles of The Architect, The Minimalist, and The Photojournalist. Marlon Villaverde, who won in the latter category, was chosen for his series The Image, which traces a statue of Christ in Lucban, the Philippines. The statue is believed to have been created between the late 1700s to early 1800s, and according to local historians, it survived bombings during World War II because locals hid it from farm to farm. Villaverde photographed a church in his hometown during Good Friday, when people flock to worship the statue. The resulting series is an intense exploration of worship and tradition.
The winner in The Street Photographer category is Johan Jehlbo, whose photographs depict the itinerant markets in southern Sweden during the summer. “The work is about my own preconceptions regarding the myths of these places and the people attending them,” says Jehlbo. “The markets used to be huge events, with circuses, amusement rides, burlesque and magicians, but now this is long gone.” Jehlbo does not see himself as much of a street photographer, because as he describes it, “I don’t strive for objectivity, it’s all about me.” However, he does consider street photography to be the purest form of photography and the most difficult to get right, and sees how its aesthetics are reflected in his work.
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