Winner of the Zeiss Photography Award Announced

House in the village of Gásadalur. Population: 16 © Kevin Faingnaert.

The ZEISS Photography Award winner for 2017 has been announced. The theme this year was ‘Meaningful Places’ … “which challenged professional photographers to look past the ordinary and everyday and submit a body of work that captured extraordinary aspects of the world we live in.”

The winner was Belgian photographer Kevin Faingnaert, with his photo essay “Føroyar”, a series about life in the villages of the Danish Faroe Islands, which lie north-east of Scotland and about midway between Norway and Iceland. He spent a month recording the lives of the people on these rugged, windswept and isolated islands.

Famous artist and adventurer, Trontur Patursson, in Kirkjabøur, Faroe Islands. © Kevin Faingnaert.

Kevin Faingnaert describes his series:

Føroyar is a series about life in remote and sparsely populated villages on the Faroe Islands, an archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic, halfway between Scotland and Iceland. In February 2016 I immersed myself within the Faroese community, I couch-surfed and hitch-hiked my way across the islands, finding doors opening to me everywhere I went. Here, across swathes of snow-veiled landscapes and bordered by dramatic coastline, villages are slowly dropping into decline as more and more of their inhabitants are emigrating from the islands in pursuit of greater opportunities. Though at times lonely and perpetually freezing, I learned to appreciate the small, simple comforts of life listening to stories told in the welcoming warmth of Faroese homes, the sound of songs against the roaring backdrop of the sea, and my memorable encounter with a message-in-a-bottle collector on the beach. In these clear and pristine landscapes, where villages with populations as low as ten huddle together on the edge of cliffs, I tried to reveal a community hanging on firmly to their roots and traditions, while underlining that one day these villages must inevitably disappear.

To view the other images in the series, visit Føroyar by Kevin Faingnaert at the World Photography Organisation.

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