About 20 minutes after beginning to judge this contest I already had one full page of links written down as my “short list”, which ended up being my absurdly long list. I was really touched by so many images in this contest, so I urge you – if you are looking for inspiration, search the entries in the nature contest and you won’t be disappointed. There is something in there for everyone. And of course, here are the images that won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, along with some honorable mentions!
Big thanks to Cari Ann Wayman who helped guest judge this contest. If you don’t know Cari Ann’s work…well, let’s just say you are about to be haunted.
You can click any of the images below to see the larger version as well as the artist’s portfolio, which I highly recommend!
1st Place: Sparrek, “Duo”
Brooke: Upon first seeing this image, I knew instantly that I would not forget it. The tones were the first thing that struck me. This neutral color palette of nature with a slight pop of color really grabbed my attention. The simplicity of the image as far as what is placed within the frame and where is beautiful. It isn’t cluttered, it doesn’t try to overstate what is said so beautifully with less. Instead, the image relies on the details and the negative space to tell the story: the hand caught in an in-between moment, the branch gnarled in front of her face, and the fact that all of this appears to take place in a box. I think this is a truly unique image for many different reasons and evokes the theme of nature without even being outside. Congrats!
Cari Ann: I was instantly struck by the movement in this picture, and also the peculiarity of it. I’m not normally drawn to images in blank rooms, but I love how this picture evokes feelings of nature without being outdoors. There is a contained wildness to this and it is subtly unnerving and I really like that.
2nd Place: Johanna Maja, “Nature”
Brooke: I think that it can so often be our inclination to take a theme like this and run wild with it, going over the top with our connections or interactions with nature. I certainly love images like that, that do up all that nature has to offer, but this image caught my attention for a different reason: it is so beautifully authentic and free-spirited in how the subject experiences nature. It reminds me of a child, laying in the grass haphazardly looking up at the sky. I imagine the grass tickling my leg. There is also the idea that she is being swallowed by nature, another play on the theme that I really like.
Cari Ann: I really love how it’s like she is being eaten by the earth. In this picture I get a feeling of nature being more alive than humans, like it’s stronger and taking over. The colors are of course wonderful here; they make me feel a softness near my face while I look at the picture, like I’m lying in the grass right there.
3rd Place: Lucia Rubio, “If it Never Rained, Nothing Would Grow”
Brooke: To say that I am addicted to this picture would be pretty accurate. Between the colors, the smokey sky, and those beautiful horses running towards the camera, I think this is a brilliantly captured image with emotion to it. I am always in awe of someone who can create a sense of story and emotion without having a human subject in it. This image goes to show that there is so much more to nature than the human interaction with it, and it does so in an inspiring way.
Cari Ann: I tend to be more interested in pictures with humans in them, but there is something dreamy and terrifying about this picture. It’s the tension of the storm clouds in the background against the bright horses and purple field. It feels like a beautiful nightmare.