The VOICE awards are one of the most beautiful collections of images I can think of. Showcasing female photographers from across the globe, each year they represent a diverse range of genres of photography and styles over a number of categories. Hosted by Click Magazine, which in itself is the most beautiful publication aimed at women and focussing on the themes women relate to in photography, like emotion and experience and representation, and indeed our voices, rather than gear and technical features.
It is my huge honour to have been a category winner on more than one occasion in the past, and this year to be amazed by receiving 7 finalist awards. I thought I’d share a little more about the stories behind the images here, because they are so much more than one shot and done.
Both of these images are significant to me as a mother, they show my daughter growing up, gaining in independence and needing me less and less as the years go by. I’m lucky she tolerates me capturing these images, though understandably I need her approval too. These two images were finalists in “Shadow and Light” and “Environmental Portrait”
The top image here was also a finalist in “Shadow and Light” it’s dear to me as it’s from our travels that were cut short in 2020. My daughters are sitting in the kitchen of one of the infamous headhunters of Nagaland, a tribal area of North East India. We’d stayed in the area for a week, camped outside in our van the previous night and been welcomed in early morning where I was struck by that incredible light filtering in and through the smoke of the fire. Needless to say the headhunters no longer hunt humans and were sweet and friendly, and being the oily tourists in the village gave us this quite unique experience that I’ll never forget.
Next was a simple moment in the “Minimalist” category, on the ferry back from Ireland last summer. We’d been to see my in-laws and I caught this in camera double exposure as Saffy looked out at the sea.
The bottom one is another in camera double exposure and I am so happy to see images like this recognised as they’re not only one of my favourite creative techniques to play with, but they are so unpredictable it’s like they’re blessed with some kind of magic when you literally can’t see how something is going to turn out and have to take 2 consecutive shots on top of each other. It’s an indoor, outdoor one for “Golden Hour” taken in our tiny kitchen in the Yorkshire Dales as Indy did the lunch dishes while the sun came up outside. The girls were getting up at 3am to do online school in real time from India and so we were having lunch as most people in England were having breakfast – I’ve never seen so many sunrises in my life and they have become one of my most treasured 2020 lockdown memories.
This wonderful gentleman is special because we almost didn’t meet him. We were in Lahore, Pakistan in March 2020, and all around us places were shutting their doors and starting to lock down. Somehow we managed to be allowed into the Wazir Khan Mosque with it’s incredible tiles and long history. It’s considered to be the most beautiful Mosque in Pakistan and the tiling is undergoing extensive restoration under the watchful eye of this man who willingly showed us his work. I almost didn’t take this image, but then he stood so proudly at the door of this workshop off the prayer yard that I felt compelled to ask if I could – it’s another “Environmental Portrait” finalist. The Mosque holds special memories because it also featured in Indy’s winning set of images that won the Young Travel Photographer of the Year. Both of us are dying to go back some time.
This final image was in the “Documentary: category and I am thrilled because to me it represents so much about life with teens. I had entered it into a different awards (where it ultimately got nowhere, which is fine, because art is subjective right?) in the “Teens” category earlier in the year and in the live judging one of the judges had said “This is not a beautiful image” which had made me laugh as all I could think was “whoever thought that life with teens was all beautiful moments” it’s about real moments, moments when they just want to ignore you, and a whole spectrum of other moments, yes, including beautiful ones, but that was never what this image was intended to be – it’s become a kind of family joke now and I’m glad that someone saw this for what it was, a pure documentation of life!!
I always see entering awards as a beautiful opportunity to curate my work. To go through it and find the strengths and patterns of what I captured over a year, not necessarily about winning, but of course that is always a beautiful recognition of my work and an honour. Here’s a little peek into a few more of the images I entered, some of which are older images, and some are from the last year. But all of which felt to me that they fitted a category and were strong enough to enter, even when judging is subjective!!
I’m also going to give a shoutout to Indy as she entered the Youth Category and came second, as well as having 2 finalists herself too.
I love these awards and the way the celebrate the female perspective. They bring something different to other awards, and it’s always a beautiful way to spend some time, browsing through the winners and finalists when they’re published.
And as always, if you want to know more about them, or about ClickProElite I’m always available to chat and share what I know – as most of my real life photographer friends will tell you, I can talk about photography all day long and I believe in the power of the collective in helping each other along this journey. Keep walking your own memory path,
Lots of love, Kirsty xx