Oberkochen/Germany | 9 April 2019 | ZEISS Consumer Products
With his ongoing series ‘Delta Hill Riders’, the American photographer gives fascinating insights into Afro American cowboy culture – and purposefully breaks with stereotypes.
American photographer Rory Doyle won the fourth ZEISS Photography Award with his photo series ‘Delta Hill Riders’. Photographers from over 150 countries submitted nearly 58.000 images for this year’s contest under the theme “Seeing Beyond – The Unexpected”. Six more bodies of work were put onto the competition’s shortlist.
Since 2017, Doyle documents the life of Afro American cowboys and cowgirls in the Mississippi Delta. His pictures provide outstanding 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 explains. With his project he wants to put this community into public awareness.
His 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.
“My pictures show the pure joy of the cowboys and cowgirls. You can see their affection for their horses and community – and how they pass down their traditions among generations”, says Doyle. Especially regarding today’s political environment, he wants to show new facets of rural life in America and provide a counter narrative to the mostly negative coverage about Afro American culture.
With his unique mix of a strong social message, reclassification of the topic and his photographic aesthetics Doyle convinced the judges of the ZEISS Photography Award: British photography experts Simon Frederick (artist, photographer, filmmaker), Shoair Mavlian (leader of Photoworks agency) and German picture editor at STERN magazine Dagmar Seeland had the difficult task to choose a winner from all the countless contributions. The winner’s pictures should not only fulfil professional and aesthetic requirements, but also meet the contest’s topic “Seeing Beyond – The Unexpected”.
“The quality of this year’s entries was very high, with many surprising and creative takes on the theme“, explains Dagmar Seeland. „Choosing a winner from such a crop of talent was never going to be easy, but ‘Delta Hill Riders’ was a clear favourite. Rory Doyle purposefully plays with and breaks the stereotypes attached to the subject of cowboys, and 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 ZEISS Photography Award 2019, Rory Doyle will be invited to London and Oberkochen to receive his award and to talk with experts at ZEISS. Rory Doyle receives €12,000 worth of ZEISS lenses and €3,000 to cover travel costs for a photography project.
Six more photo series were put on the shortlist for the ZEISS Photography Awards 2019:
Michela Carmazzi (Italy) I wish I were British
Ken Hermann (Denmark) Mallakhamba
Benedicte Kurzen & Sanne De Wilde (France and Belgium) Land of Ibeji
Petra Leary (New Zealand) Daily Geometry
Lara Wilde (Germany) Exposed Landscapes
Gangfeng Zhou (China) ‘Like’ and ‘Companionship’, there is no distinction
Rory Doyle’s winning photo series will be exhibited as part of the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition in Somerset House in London from 18th of April until 6th of May 2019, together with a selection from this year’s ZEISS Photography Award’s shortlist.
ZEISS Photography Award is held by ZEISS and World Photography Organisation.
More information to find at www.zeiss.com/zpa19.
Imagery, downloads and press inquiries
Images of Rory Doyle’s winning photo series ‘Delta Hill Riders’ von Rory Dole
Press kit winner Rory Doyle (two images, profile, portrait photo)
Press kit shortlist (two images of every photo series and description)
If you are interested in more photos from each series, interviews with Rory Doyle or artists from the shortlist, please feel free to contact us at any time.
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The World Photography Organisation is a global platform for photography initiatives. Working across more than 180 countries, our aim is to raise the level of conversation around photography by celebrating the best imagery and photographers on the planet. We pride ourselves on building lasting relationships with both individual photographers as well as our industry-leading partners around the world. The World Photography Organisation hosts a year-round portfolio of events including the Sony World Photography Awards, one of the world’s leading photography competitions, and PHOTOFAIRS, international art fairs dedicated to photography with destinations in Shanghai and San Francisco. For more details see www.worldphoto.org