Thornwood, NY—American photographer Rory Doyle won the fourth Zeiss Photography Award with his photo series titled Delta Hill Riders. Photographers from more than 150 countries submitted nearly 58,000 images for this year’s contest. The contest was theme “Seeing Beyond—The Unexpected.”
Since 2017, Doyle has documented the life of Afro American cowboys as well as cowgirls in the Mississippi Delta. His pictures provide insights into this barely noticed community. An estimated quarter of all cowboys after the Civil War were African Americans. “Nonetheless, the white John Wayne stereotype dominates the public perception of this culture,” Doyle explained. With his project he wants to put this community into public awareness.
Doyle’s pictures are an astounding reclassification of the American cowboy myth and break with stereotypes dominating the public reception of Afro American culture up to today, announced Zeiss.
“My pictures show the pure joy of the cowboys and cowgirls. You can see their affection for their horses and community. And also how they pass down their traditions among generations,” added Doyle.
Zeiss Photography Award 2019
Doyle won over the judges of the Zeiss Photography Award with his unique mix of a strong social message, reclassification of the topic and his photographic aesthetics. The judges included: British photography experts Simon Frederick (artist, photographer, filmmaker); and Shoair Mavlian (leader of Photoworks agency); as well as the German picture editor at Stern magazine, Dagmar Seeland.
“The quality of this year’s entries was very high, with many surprising as well as creative takes on the theme,” explained Seeland. “Choosing a winner from such a crop of talent was never going to be easy. However, Delta Hill Riders was a clear favorite. Rory Doyle purposefully plays with and breaks the stereotypes attached to the subject of cowboys. In addition, he does this with great skill and warmth. His connection with his subjects is evident in every beautifully composed image. A fine visual storyteller, and a deserving winner.”
As winner of the Zeiss Photography Award 2019, Rory Doyle will be invited to London and Oberkochen to receive his award. He will also have the opportunity to talk with experts at Zeiss. Moreover, Doyle will receive more than $13,000 worth of Zeiss lenses.
Zeiss Photography Award 2019 Short List
In addition, six more photo series are on the short list for the Zeiss Photography Awards 2019:
- Michela Carmazzi, Italy, for I Wish I Were British
- Ken Hermann, Denmark, for Mallakhamba
- Benedicte Kurzen and Sanne De Wilde, France and Belgium, for Land of Ibeji
- Petra Leary, New Zealand, for Daily Geometry
- Lara Wilde, Germany, for Exposed Landscapes
- Gangfeng Zhou, China, for Like and Companionship
Furthermore, Rory Doyle’s winning photo series is exhibiting as part of the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House in London from April 18 to May 6, 2019. A selection from this year’s Zeiss Photography Award’s short list will also be on view.