FIRST PRIZE: Claudio Rasano

Thembinkosi Fanwell Ngwenya 2016 from the series Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare by Claudio Rasano, February 2016
© Claudio Rasano
First Prize: £15,000

Swiss-Italian photographer Claudio Rasano was born in 1970, Basel, Switzerland. The portrait, which is part of the series Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare was taken in Johannesburg, South Africa and focuses on issues of preserving individuality in the context of school uniforms. The photograph was shot in daylight, outdoors and in front of a plain white paper background. The sitter for this particular pigment print is of student Thembinkosi Fanwell Ngwenya.

Rasano explains: “Children themselves have been known to rebel against uniforms, especially as they approach the awkward age characterised by the need to fit in and the desire to stand out, all at the same time. Some experts too have spoken against school uniforms on the grounds that they suppress individuality and diversity.”

Rasano has exhibited at the oslo8 contemporary photography, 2014; Lens-Culture Exposure Awards, Photo London, 2015; Museum of African Design, Johannesburg 2015; Portrait Salon, London, 2015; Bohai Galerie, Hannover, Germany and Expo Milano, Milan, Italy among others. Rasano’s awards include the 2016 Shortlist for the Athens Photo Festival; 2015 Bieler Fototage; 2015 Leica Oskar Branack Prize and the Finalist 2015 Photography Masters Cup.

Judges’ comments: “This year’s winner stood out for its simplicity and powerful directness, and was commended by the judges for its ability to create something beautiful out of the everyday.”