In 2019, Aarhus School of Architecture launched an international architectural photo competition for architecture students. The competition, Photo Of The Year, is a parallel to Drawing Of The Year, the school’s other big international competition, which annually receives hundreds of entries from architecture students all over the world.
Like architectural drawing, architectural photography is a specialized discipline closely associated with the development of architecture. The best architectural photographs approach photography from an architectural point of view and bring out the potential of photography – also as an artistic discipline – to challenge how we see and work with architecture. In a world that is constantly being flooded with images, it is more important than ever to address the medium from a critical perspective.
The theme of this year’s competition, Architectural Landscapes, is focused on the interaction of architecture and landscape – or the lack of it. In a time when landscape and nature are undergoing dramatic transformation, we wish to address how architectural and landscape photography can help spark debate and engage in the conversation about how we plan and build in interaction with nature. Jury member, architect and photographer Christina Capetillo, who specializes in contemporary landscapes, observes:
‘We need different representations and new narratives about the earth that can make us change our behaviour. Nature goes from land to landscape through imagery, and highlighting one aspect over another draws nature close and turns the landscape into an image we can relate to. Photography has the potential to reshape the way we perceive and relate to nature. Photography is co-creative and influences our approach to the future.’
We also wish to challenge architecture students all over the world on the little device most of us have either in our hand or close to hand round the clock: the smartphone, which is now widely used to document everything, from professional to personal highs and lows. What are the implications of its transition from simple telephony to visual communication?
And what are the implications of the challenge to our sensory apparatus that has arisen because we now see with our fingers, as technology has become an extension of our bodies, as described by the Danish writer and artist Amalie Smith in her video installation Eyes Touching, Fingers Seeing (2015).
More than ever, we are living in a world of images. Images shape our very image of the world, and the pace of the constant flow of images – especially on social media – is making us immune to their visual impact. That is why this year’s competition focuses on the smartphone and its possibilities and limitations. What are the implications of having a camera as a constant extension of our bodies, and might we enhance the quality of fleeting photographs?
Once again, the jury of this year’s POTY represents some of the best and most highly acclaimed photographers, architects and researchers in the field:
- Louise Wolthers (DK), research manager and curator at the Hasselblad Foundation
- Christina Capetillo (DK), PhD, architect, photographer and editor of the Danish landscape architecture journal Landskab
- Trine Berthold (DK), architect, senior consultant at Kongelundens Sekretariat and former pro-rector of Aarhus School of Architecture
- Torben Nielsen (DK), rector of Aarhus School of Architecture and photographer.
Read more about the jury
The jury calls for an experimental gaze and new photographic topics and angles and will favour photos with a high artistic content. As the purpose of the competition is to develop the discipline, it is key that the person behind the camera has a background in architecture and the particular awareness of space, light, site and time that this brings. The competition encourages new ways of representing architecture, whether the photographs are taken at night or during the day and in artificial or natural light.
To enter the competition you need to submit a series of five photos. The photos must relate to the competition theme: Architectural Landscapes. However, the theme is open to interpretation, and the competition welcomes experimentation.
Contestants must be enrolled in a school of architecture or have completed an architectural degree in 2021.
You may also enter if you are enrolled in a PhD programme at a school of architecture, are on leave from your architectural studies or are currently working in an architecture internship.
- First prize: 5,000 euros
- Second prize: 2,000 euros
- Third prize: 1,000 euros
It is crucial that we receive your photos by 18 OCT at 12.00 noon (CET). Entries received after this deadline will not be entered into the competition.
Announcement of winners and exhibition opening
29 October 2021.
Click here to register for the competition and upload your material.
Karen Kjærgaard, curator, Head of Exhibitions and Secretary of the Jury