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the winning image
of the edition!
CitiesToBe Photo Award 2023:
an international urban photography contest for images that portray cities and their challenging, yet inspiring complexity
If there’s something that defines the last century in the world, that is the progressive concentration of people in cities. Whether fleeing from war and conflict, pursuing a better future, or simply following the inertia of progress, cities have been giving shelter and birth to more and more people without restraint. Today, the world is more urban than ever before, and this is increasing every year. As a result, cities have acquired a fundamental role in contemporary global reality.
The DNA of cities is composed of many exciting things, such as cultural diversity, creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship… At the same time,cities are a manifestation of our world’s main challenges: according to UN Habitat, they consume 78 % of the world’s energy and produce more than 60 % of greenhouse gas emissions. They are the place where social differences and segregation are most evident, and where cultural and identity conflicts converge. In short, cities are highly complex ecosystems comprising a multiplicity of layers and, most importantly, they are the canvas where our future will be created.
This exciting combination of facts around urban realities is what moves us at CitiesToBe and Anteverti, and that is why we have decided to organize the CitiesToBe Photo Award: a biennial contest for images that portray cities and their challenging, yet inspiring complexity.
The edition in numbers
A thought-provoking visual testimony on the urbanization process of the nomadic peoples of Mongolia, and on the impact of climate change in the redefinition of urban realities and traditional life habits.
‘In the shadow of the big city‘
by Nathalie Daoust (Canada)
— taken in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
AUTHOR’S COMMENT ↓
«In the last 70 years, Mongolia’s temperatures have climbed three times faster than the world’s average. Every year, summers and winters are becoming harsher. In 2017, the country saw the hottest summer in half a century, during which two thirds of the country were plagued by drought, while desertification has already turned a quarter of its land to desert. Without sufficient grass to eat, animals lack the fodder to survive the world’s coldest winter, when temperatures plunge below minus 40 degrees centigrade. Nomadic herders whose subsistence depends on their animals, are now forced to migrate to Ulaanbaatar’s overcrowded Ger districts, the areas of the capital where they are allowed to put up their yurts for the meanwhile until they are ready to go back home. Thousands of nomadic families arrive to the “New City” created for them. Finding a job while living in such a place with no sanitation, running water or central heating, has become an everyday struggle. During the winter, the cheapest way to keep warm is burning coal, however this constitutes 80% of Ulaanbaatar’s winter emissions, generating some of the worst air pollution on earth and most of them are looking to go back home.»
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ↓
Whether in New York, Tokyo or Berlin, Nathalie Daoust (Montreal, Canada, 1977) has always asserted a childlike contempt for reality. With a passion for intimacy, this Canadian photographer, born and raised in Montreal, has devoted all of her art to unveiling the secrets hidden beneath the apparent stability of life. Daoust first broke onto the scene in 1997 while photographing the themed rooms of the Carlton Arms Hotel in New York. This project, her first solo exhibition, was then published into a book, New York Hotel Story. Since then, Daoust has created several new conceptual projects that have taken her all over the world, from the love hotels of Tokyo, to a brothel in Brazil, to a darkroom in Sydney and the dreamy landscape of the snow-capped Swiss Alps. Her objective as an artist is to push the boundaries of photography through experimental methods. While working with new mediums and discovering new darkroom techniques, Daoust explores the indefinable realm between truth, fantasy and the human desire for escapism.
9 images with an exceptional ability to inspire new reflections on the different realities and layers that make up cities and how they interrelate with each other.
‘The fisherman, Paris 2021’
by Benedetta Ristori (Italy)
— taken in Paris, France
by Laura Roth (Austria)
— taken in Lanzarote, Spain
‘Kyiv: urban change‘
by Gianluca Cecere (Italy)
— taken in Kyiv, Ukraine
by Dasha Sapranetskaya (Belarus)
— taken in Minsk, Belarus
‘The Spread of Over Development‘
by Therese Debono (Malta)
— taken in Qawra, Malta
by Ralph Gräf (Germany)
— taken in Jeserig, Germany
‘The urban playground‘
by Mithail Afrige Chowdhury
— taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh
by Ghazaleh Yazdanparast Tehrani
— taken in Karaj, Iran
by Toma Gerzha (The Netherlands)
— taken in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Prior to selecting the winning image and the honorable mentions, the Jury of the CitiesToBe Photo Award shortlisted the work of 50 authors, including the following:
Talya Brott | United States · Manuel Álvarez Diestro | Spain · Nuno Serrão | Portugal · MD Asker Ibne Firoz | Bangladesh· Toby Binder | Germany · Emil Gataullin | Russia · Oleh Horbunov | Ukraine · Luo Jian | China · Azim Khan Ronnie | Bangladesh · Francisco Lagüera Conde | Spain · Sebastián López Brach | Argentina · Gianluca Calise | Italy · Seyyed Mohammadvahid Nasseri | Iran · Birol Kirac | Turkey · Kingshuk Chakravarty | India · Enrico Markus Essl | Austria · Matei-Alexandru Bolog | Romania · Jean-Marc Caimi & Valentina Piccinni | Italy · Summer Kamal Eldeen | Egypt · Lyubov Yarinich | Netherlands · Shibasish Saha | India · Rodrigo Illescas | Argentina · Mohammad Hossein Moheimani | Iran · Lys Arango | Spain · Ariel Maceo Téllez | Cuba · Rayhan Ahmed | Bangladesh · Alina Ershova | Russia · Deba Pasad Roy | India · Ademola Akinlabi | Nigeria · Paco Poyato | Spain · Yahya Paryav | Iran · Jacek Cislo | Poland · Jahid Apu | Bangladesh · Alberto Sen | Spain · Jordi Jon Pardo | Spain · Sandipani Chattopadhyay | India · Ties Van Brussel | Netherlands · Amir Masoud Arabshahi | Iran · Joy Saha | Bangladesh
— One first acquisitive prize for the amount of 1,500 euros to the winning photograph — which will become part of Anteverti’s urban photography private collection.
— 10 honorable mentions to the finalist images of the CitiesToBe Photo Award
— The winning image and the 10 honorable mentions will be included in the CitiesToBe Photo Award 2023 edition’s book, aimed at acknowledging the work of its authors. The book will also feature the shortlisted images of the contest.
The Jury of the CitiesToBe Photo Award 2023 will be made up of:
— Roger Grasas, photographer and visual artist
— Pilar Conesa, CEO of Anteverti and President of CitiesToBe
— Cristina Garrido, Funding Director of CitiesToBe & Innovation and Strategy Director of Anteverti
— Sergio García i Rodríguez, Executive Editor of CitiesToBe & Head of Communication of Anteverti
— Manu Fernández, Head of Urban Innovation and Research at Anteverti
— Mons Badia, Senior Consultant at Anteverti
Check the legal bases of the competition here.
About the contest
The CitiesToBe Photo Award is an international urban photography contest organized and powered by the Barcelona-based consulting firm Anteverti, aimed at supporting creators who use the city as their main theme — inspiring new reflections on the challenges the urban world is facing nowadays, and helping us to better understand them.
In December 2019 the call of its 1st Edition was open, receiving 533 images from more than 60 countries in all continents. In March 2020, the image ‘Vorkuta’ by Roman Demyanenko was awarded with the First Prize, and the image became part of Anteverti’s Urban Photography Private Collection. Additionally, 10 honorable mentions were announced. A commemorative edition’s book of the edition was launched in July 2020 with a selection of 44 of the best images received.
Take a look at the 1st edition of the CitiesToBe Photo Award here.