For the second year running, Textile Exchange and Magnum Photos are launching a competition for emerging photographers to submit a story under the theme Materials Matter: Textile Transformations.
We’re looking for emerging photographers interested in telling the visual stories that take place when fibers and materials are cultivated, created, spun, woven, sewn, loved and cherished – gaining cultural and emotional significance through the journey.
Clothing and textiles connect us intrinsically to our planet and its many ecosystems, cultures, and communities. The materials used to make them come from farms, forests, or even oil from the earth, and they have often passed through many pairs of hands, transformed each time before they become the final product we that we buy.
This transition starts with the plants, animals, or chemical processes that give us materials like cotton, viscose, wool, or polyester. These fibers become thread, thread becomes fabric, fabrics become finished products, and finished products become cherished or symbolic items.
While each transformation brings cultural and emotional significance, our collective appreciation of textiles often centres around the product itself, rather than where it came from, who created it, or what it has come to mean. That’s why, in partnership with Magnum Photos, we are looking for photographers interested in exploring the way we transform textiles, and how textiles in turn transform us.
By placing these themes at the center of the story, the initiative hopes to reframe the way we relate to their social, cultural, and environmental implications. It is about altering our attitude towards these everyday items, all while providing a springboard for emerging talent to embrace a more human approach to visual storytelling.
Deadline to enter: 21 July 2023
The first annual photography competition saw entries from 70 countries all over the world, with over 460 project submissions totalling over 7,100 images.
Our winners were selected by the judging panel and the winning entries were showcased at the Textile Exchange Conference in November 2022, where 984 attendees from global brands, retailers, and suppliers came together to discuss sustainability at the raw material level of the textile supply chain.
In 2022 prizes the overall winner received a commission to the value of £8,000 for Textile Exchange to document the stories behind some of its members as well as a mentorship with a leading talent from Magnum’s network of photographers.
Two runners-up received a commission to the value of £4,000 for Textile Exchange and coaching sessions with a Magnum photographer and the Magnum Photos Education team.
Winner: Anass Ouaziz – Private Transmissions
Anass Ouaziz was born in Marrakech and raised in Beni Mellal. He has long found the sublime in the mundane even before he became a photographer back in 2015. Anass considers photography to be an exercise in observation and believes that stories emerge by simply paying attention. For him, what comes out from these seemingly insignificant moments is a celebration of the beauty of the everyday – the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Runner-up: Cecilie Nicoline Rasmussen, Textile Transmission
Cecilie Nicoline Rasmussen is currently living and working in Copenhagen. Danish by nationality, she grew up in Oman, where she relied on observing body language and tiny details of her surroundings to interact in a different cultural discourse. Through this and looking at family albums of people back home, she became fascinated with the possibilities of what photography as a medium has to offer.
Runner-up: Yichen Zhou, The Jade Branches
Yichen Zhou is an artist working with photography, video, performance, and installations. Her performance-based work explores her identity as part of a new generation of Chinese artists and points to the challenges of living in a world where she finds multiple cultures and values in conflict.