Spectacular Winners of the 2023 reFocus Awards Capture Diverse Images of the World

Asaro Mudmen from Papua New Guinea

“Ghosts of Asaro” by Jatenipat Ketpradit. Pro International Photographer of the Year.

Though it was only established last year, the reFocus Awards has already proven to be a stunning showcase of global photography talent. Honoring both professional and non-professional photographers, the inaugural reFocus Awards shows the depth of the organization's photographic community.

Thai photographer Jatenipat Ketpradit won the title of International Photographer of the Year for his incredible series of photographs showing the “Mudmen” of Papua New Guinea's Asaro tribe. Ketpradit's photographs respectfully highlight the tribe's traditions while underscoring the incredible environment they live in.

The images are the result of a year of planning and 20 days of living with the tribe to gain their trust prior to the photo shoot. For Ketpradit, it's vital that he creates these connections in order to get the most authentic imagery possible.

“I want people who see my images to realize the presence of tribal groups in remote places of the world who still maintain their culture that has been handed down from their ancestors to the present day,” he shares. “These tribes often feel that their culture is outdated and backward. So, I wanted to photograph them as elegantly as possible so that they could feel proud of their beautiful culture.”

On the non-professional end, Angola-based photographer João Coelho was named International Discovery of the Year. His series, The Freedom of Nudity, is an artistic look at the joyfulness of summer and the simplicity of childhood play.

The category winners in both the professional and non-professional contests are equally impressive. My Modern Met favorites Brad Wall and Cody Cobb were both honored in the professional category, winning the Aerial and Landscapes categories, respectively.

Scroll down for more of our favorite winners from both contests, which were culled from images submitted by photographers from 70 countries.

The reFocus Awards honors the talents of both professional and amateur photographers.

Boys jumping off of a boat into the water

“The freedom of nudity” by João Coelho. International Discovery of the Year.
“Nudity here is natural, like the air and water that tenderly welcomes them from an early age. What really counts is pure freedom in the constant search for the joy and pleasure they draw from every play.”

reFocus Awards 2023

“Spectral” by Cody Cobb. Landscapes Photographer of the Year.
“A parallel world is unveiled in the night with long exposures using an ultraviolet light source. The eerie light emitted from within these once familiar surfaces transmutes the mundane into something extraterrestrial.”

Aerial photo of artistic swimming group

“Aquatunda” by Brad Walls. Professional Aerial Photographer of the Year.
“‘Aquatunda' was taken with the Aqualillies artistic swimming group at Pelican Hill Resort, California. My aim with this image and series was to scratch my itch for harmonious geometry.”

Aerial View of Blue Building with Stairs

“La Muralla Roja 50th Anniversary” by Jonathan Ducrest. Profesional Architecture Photographer of the Year.

Analog photo of Cygnet Fuel Gas Station

“CYGNET FUEL” by Leila Grian Middleton. Non-Professional Film/Analog Discovery of the Year.
“I can only afford cheap film, don't let it stop you from making cool things.”

Dachshund standing in front of colorful street with no parking sign

“No Parking” by Heike Willers. Non-Professional Domestic Animals Discovery of the Year.
“We found this location in Munich last week (15.07.2023). Wonderful Lines, colors, all around the building. This spot with the traffic sign seemed so perfect for my image with Kluftinger, my little Dachshund. “No Parking”…his new Job as a a little park guard.”

Boy playing in the snow in Krakow

“Snowfall” by Beata Zawrzel. Professional Street Photographer of the Year.
“A boy plays in the snow after sudden and intense snowfall following rather mild first month of winter. Kraków, Poland on March 30, 2023.”

Draceana cinnabari on Socotra Island

“His Majesty the Dragon Tree” by Guillaume Petermann. Professional Travel Photographer of the Year.
“The most famous gem of Socotra island is called “Draceana cinnabari”, aka Dragon Blood Tree. This kind of tree is a vestige of a prehistoric flora. With its woven foliage in the shape of a giant parasol, the dragon blood tree is impressive.”

Mauna Loa Volcano 2022 Eruption

“Emerging Earth” by Cody Roberts. Professional Events Photographer of the Year.
“On November 27th, 2022, the world’s largest volcano erupted for the first time in 38 years, hurling lava 500 feet into the sky. Photographed from a helicopter 13,000 ft above the sea, these photographs capture the history of Mauna Loa's eruption, and the thrilling metamorphosis of our living Earth.”

Asaro Mudmen from Papua New Guinea

“Ghosts of Asaro” by Jatenipat Ketpradit. Pro International Photographer of the Year.
“Mt.Gurupoka of Papua New Guinea is the land of ghosts! They emerged slowly from the trees. Scary heads were attached to grey bodies. Abruptly, they vanished and reappeared behind you like a ghost. They were Asaro Mudmen, indigenous warriors residing in high valley along Asaro River,Papua New Guinea”

Cows in a Sand Dune in Spain

“COWS AND KITES” by Andrew Lever. Non-Professional Nature Discovery of the Year.
“A herd of cows sunbathe on a beautiful sandy beach with kites flying in the backround. I took the image in Tarifa, Spain.”

Black and white aerial photo of rowers

“Teamwork” by Peter Zarkob. Non-Professional Sports Discovery of the Year.
“This photograph was taken from a bridge where I usually walk. The scene of the rowers always caught my attention, because of the high contrast of the image, the movement, the geometry.”

Black and white fashion photo

“Contrast” by Thomas Freyer. Non-Professional Fashion Discovery of the Year.
“Old time meets new time in the fashion shoot.”

Mobulas Swimming

“Dancing Mobulas” by Mia Stawinski. Professional Underwater Photographer of the Year.

Minimal Abstract Photo of LA's SoFi Stadium

“Field of Dreams” by Jacques Garnier. Pro Abstract Photographer of the Year.
“Minimal, abstracted image of SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. This image is part of series entitled HYMNS TO THE SILENCE which isolates poetic elements of local architecture.”

Award-winning street photography by Jiabin Zhu

“Shanghai Street” by Jiabin Zhu. Non-Professional Street Discovery of the Year.

Minimalist Photography

“Scale of Space” by Mario Tarantino. Professional Minimalism Photographer of the Year.
“This series was created in different locations from South Africa, Italy to the Iberian Peninsula. The running thread in the images is a person in the form of a silhouette demonstrating scale as well as helping tell a story.”

Orangutan mother and son embrace

“The Tie that Binds” by Michael Pachis. Non-Professinal Wildlife Discovery of the Year.
“Orangutans, mother, and son embrace.”

Bat eating nectar from a flower

“Pipistrello del nettare n1” by Gianni Maitan. Professional Nature Photographer of the Year.

reFocus Awards: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by the reFocus Awards.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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