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NatGeo Awards New Talent At Eddie Adams Workshop

Returning to the Eddie Adams Workshop in upstate New York every year feels like a homecoming. As a photo editor on one of the teams, I’m fortunate to mentor emerging photographers from the group of 100 selected to attend the intense four-day workshop run by Alyssa Adams and Mirjam Evers. The photographers who attend the tuition-free gathering are chosen on the merit of their portfolios, and I always welcome the chance to meet many of the strongest voices from the next generation.

As part of the workshop, National Geographic awards $1,000 prizes to two young photographers who show outstanding promise in their careers. This year the winners were Tommaso Protti and Ciril Jazbec.

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Children play in a schoolyard in Mardin, Turkey. Behind them is an image of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. Photograph by Tomasso Protti

Tommaso was born in 1986 in Mantova, Italy, and grew up in Rome. He studied political science before working as an assistant to Noor co-founder Francesco Zizola. He then earned his master’s degree in photojournalism and documentary photography at the London College of Communication. Currently affiliated with Reportage by Getty Images, he has published stories in Le Monde and is a contributing photographer for The New York Times. He has exhibited widely in Italy. Tommaso lives in London with his wife and his daughter.

I was drawn to his body of work because of his fluid way of seeing, and the way he uses reflections and layering. He captures not only the energy of the street, but the intimacy of families in their homes as well.

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Basketball is the most popular sport in Shishmaref—a traditional Inupiaq Eskimo village in northwest Alaska. Here, David Jungers plays with his son, Rjay Nayokpuk. David is a child of a mixed relationship, and is one of the few whites in the community. Unemployment is high on the island, and David is happy to do whatever odd jobs may come up. Photograph by Ciril Jazbec

Ciril, our other winner, was born in 1987 in Slovenia. He studied management before also earning his master’s degree in photojournalism and documentary photography at the London College of Communication. He has worked for GEO, The Sunday Times, and National Geographic Traveler. He has also won awards from PDN and The Royal Photographic Society, and this year won the Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award, and was the Photo Folio Review Laureate at Les Rencontres d’Arles. Ciril lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

His portfolio appealed to me because he finds surprising compositions in moments of action, while his landscapes provide context to his tighter images to help tell complete visual stories. In addition, there’s a dignity in his portraits that seems to derive from their direct, yet unguarded quality.

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Dennis Davis sits with his sons Dallas and Seth as they play with an iPad at home in Shishmaref. Dennis, a former police officer, has seven children and is currently unemployed. The family survives on the salary of his wife Gwen, who works as a nurse at the local clinic. Photograph by Ciril Jazbec

Besides having been in the same class in London, (a coincidence I wasn’t aware of until now!), both photographers share a deep interest in exploring the kinds of issues meaningful to us here at National Geographic, whether it’s Tommaso’s work on dams and water use, or Ciril’s work on the impacts of changing climate.

I’m looking forward to staying in touch with Ciril and Tommaso, following their careers as they develop their own way of seeing and telling stories.

See more of Tommaso Protti’s work on his website.

See more of Ciril Jazbec’s work on his website.


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