The Face 2015


Welcome to the Face 2015 Annual Photo Contest!


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First Place

© Marianna Armata

I See You

By Marianna Armata

The image of my mom looking through a printer’s proofing glass is part of a Glass Works series of portraits I had worked on in 2014 to 2015. It showcased several people interacting with glass objects:

I used my Panasonic Lumix GH4 + Panasonic-Leica 25 mm ƒ/1.4 lens.

Second Place

© Desislava Ignatova


By Desislava Ignatova

The photo was taken in March during and unusually heavy snowfall. I took a photo of the passing bus from my apartment’s window. The weather was crimson-foggy, and people outside were looking enchanted, staring the snowflakes and fading away from the grimy window.

I used the following gear: Nikon d7000, AF-S Nikkor 70-300, ƒ/5,6.

Third Place

© John Wheatley

Gender Queer

By John Wheatley

In recent years, America has witnessed a growing acceptance—and occasionally, even celebration—of individuals with transgender identities. Despite this social progress, acceptance of trans identities isn’t offered unconditionally. We are really only comfortable accepting a very specific type of transgender person: a person who confirms our expectations of how men and women ought to look and behave. The revolutionary idea of transgender identity is only made acceptable when trans people affirm the traditional male/female gender binary. Ther’is no room for middle ground in gender. We may allow you to disassociate your gender identity from your biological sex, but you must still choose to identify with one of the two predefined gender roles and perform that role to everyone’s expectations.

This self-portrait is my attempt to communicate the psychological experience of an individual living in that still unacknowledged, unacceptable middle ground of gender. It depicts a person who fails in the performance of both male and female gender roles, a person who’s often overwhelmed by feelings of shame, ugliness, confusion, self-loathing, sadness and isolation.

This was a project that I had thought about doing for a long time. But the idea for the shot didn’t really crystalize until I happened to see an old medicine cabinet discarded in a dumpster. When I saw my reflection in the cabinet’s mirror, the concept for this photograph took form. The image of a scruffy, badly made-up, anguished face reflected in a discarded bathroom mirror seemed like a powerful focal point for my photograph. The elements of the scene beyond the face—an isolated corner, an ill-fitting dress, leg hair through nylons—provide context and reinforce the feelings of ugliness and isolation.

It took several decades for me to grow brave enough to create this image, to reveal this much of myself. I am 42 years old. Until now, I’ve been silent about who I am. This photograph is my statement: I’m gender queer.

I made this photograph at ƒ/8 with an exposure of 1/8 seconds with the Pentax smc DA 50mm ƒ/1.8 lens on a Pentax K-5 body. The only light was natural light spilling through the nearby window.

Honorable Mentions

© Kelly Grzasko

See How It Changes

By Kelly Grzasko

The photo was taken on a Nikon D90 with my Tokina 35mm lens at an aperture of 2.8. I suppose at the time I had been quite fascinated with Vermeer and the light in his paintings. The scenes and the figures he painted seemed to glow, and there appeared to me a strong sense of time and narrative. “See How It Changes” is a self-portrait that attempts to capture all of these qualities that I admired in such works as “Girl with a Red Hat.”

For me, it reflects the emotions and physical changes I’ve been experiencing. Still youthful, but beginning to recognize the strains of adulthood, I recognize an interest in this concept in my work. I hope to explore and portray the humanity of a working-class female at this in-between stage in life, an overlooked segment of the population for its lack of appeal to any extremes.

© Sreesailam Pasupula

I See You

By Sreesailam Pasupula

A portrait by definition is an artistic representation of a person with an intent to display the likeness, personality and even the mood of subject. Here, I tried to capture the emotion of the person. The camera used was a Nikon D750 with Nikon 85/1.8 mm lens and a 1/200 shutter speed, ƒ/1.8, ISO1600.

© Victor Ramos

Saturday Afternoon

By Victor Ramos

It was a Saturday afternoon in the summer, and I noticed this glorious California light pouring through the window, and I knew I had to capture it somehow. So I decided to take a selfie (although they were called “self-portraits” back then). I was a young man full of promise and determination, and wanted to capture this instant in my life.

The equipment I used were: a Canon A1 Body, Canon 50mm 1.8 lens, 1/125 sec at ƒ/8 on Kodacolor Gold 400 film. Film negative scanned on a Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400. Minimally Photoshopped (dust removal mainly).

© Roza Sampolinska


By Roza Sampolinska

This is a beauty shot I took while living in Yokohama, Japan, with a Japanese model, Ayaka. Setting: The key light, a beauty dish, is placed above Ayaka’s head, at a 45-degree angle. The fill light, a strip softbox, is placed below her chin. There’s an additional light directed toward the backdrop. I made the headpiece myself, using dozens of artificial flowers and attaching them to a scarf wrapped around Ayaka’s head.

© CJ Schmit


By CJ Schmit

This photo was taken as a light test, and neither Reagan or I expected much to come of it, initially. Reagan and I have worked together a lot, and many of our greatest work comes from the times we least expect things to work out or be usable. He’s always bringing fun and different looks to the table for us to work with, and this is a fine example of what he’s good at.

The setup was done using four lights, all Alien Bee 800s. There was one on each side of him gridded in strip boxes to help light his face better. There was another one pointed behind him using the standard Buff 7-inch reflector gridded to 30 degrees to help light the back wall. The fourth and final light was in front of him, just above his head and aimed down at a 45-degree angle using a 20-inch beauty dish. All of this was triggered using Pocked Wizard X on a Canon 5D Mark II using a Canon 50mm ƒ/1.8 lens and Lexar Professional 800x CF card. Camera settings were ISO 100 ƒ/9 1/160, all lights were set around ½ power for this shot.

Postprocessing was kept fairly simple and done in Photoshop, pre-work was done in Adobe Raw, mainly color correcting and lowering any over-brightness. Final post was done using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 using their standard filters with a bit of tweaking on the brightness and more on the Structure settings to help bring out a grittier look to him.

View the finalists.