In August 2017, the Mexican Embassy in the United Kingdom ran a photo competition for British tourists who captured their memories in pictures of Mexico. The competition closed on October 31st and the winners were officially announced at London’s World Travel Market on November 6th, 2017.
How the judges chose the winning entries
The panel of three judges comprised of prominent Mexican visual artist Manuel Delaflor; founder and editor of Mexperience Matthew Harrup; and Mexican creative photographer and stylist living in London Maria Marie.
A total of 344 submissions were uploaded by the closing date, and the panel of judges considered every image in turn, keeping in mind the central theme of the contest: images that expressed Mexico’s cultural heritage, its rich history, as well as its color and lively traditions. The image also had to contain elements that would inspire others to visit Mexico.
Manuel Delaflor used his visual artistic talents and professional photography expertise to consider the technical and aesthetic aspects of each entry; Maria Marie was seeking-out creative uniqueness and idiosyncratic elements within each snapshot, while Matthew Harrup sought to discover elements in the images which expressed intimate facets of Mexico that also helped illustrate the authentic experiences on offer here.
The winning images were those the judges consider illustrate a clear and authentic reflection of Mexico.
Following several short-lists culminating in a final sift to choose 9 images (3 from each judge), the First prize winner emerged early-on during the conversations as a clear contender for its accolade, whereas Second and Third place required more deliberation.
First prize was “Fruit Seller in Action,” by Anna Bruce. Markets and trade have been, and continue to be, an intrinsic part of Mexican history and culture. When the Spanish arrived at Tenochtitlán, they watched in wonder at the Aztec markets they found, and the tradition of lively trade lives-on here to this day. Mexicans are natural merchants, and everywhere you go in Mexico you’ll find lots of colorful and bright markets to enjoy and shop, many of which are a contemporary reflection of those the Spaniards were amazed by 500 years ago. Anna’s photo captured that aspect of Mexico’s history—in a modern context, while also expressing the colors and atmosphere you find in Mexico’s markets, along with the friendly and warm charisma of the Mexican people who make these places such a fascinating experience to behold. In one shutter flick, Anna profiled significant essences of Mexican culture.
Second prize was awarded to Robert McDermott for his image “There’s No One Around.” Mexico is a lively, and sometimes noisy place—filled with people and soundscapes playing at its lively festivals and events, its bustling markets, and holiday beaches. Robert’s image revealed that Mexico is also a place of tranquil serenity—and his image of the Maya textile museum situated in the ancient highland town of San Cristóbal de las Casas was also a reminder of how much active care and attention Mexico continues to give preserving its rich indigenous heritage throughout the country—and sharing it with others. The Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya is one of thousands of museums and cultural centers you can visit and enjoy throughout the country to gain deeper insights into Mexico’s profound culture as well as the history of its distinctive regions, the traditions they pay homage to, and the peoples who live there. The colors and sunlight pouring through the colonial arches also express the warmth and historical culture that you can enjoy throughout these lands.
Third prize was awarded to Sean Hooker for his image “Looking at The Sun from The Moon,” in Teotihuacán, an archaeology site situated about 75-minutes’ drive north of Mexico City. This is one of the most-photographed places in Mexico, but the judges considered that this perspective of Teotihuacán shared an excellent representation of the site, flanked by the mountains in the background, and illustrating the pilgrimage of visitors who climb the 248 stone steps to reach the summit of the Pyramid of the Sun. Teotihuacán is considered one of the most important archaeological areas in the world and remains one of the most visited archaeology sites in Mexico. Sean’s image also helped to share a vital story about Mexico’s world heritage: our ancient civilizations, which can now be explored and learned about across Mexico’s many archaeological treasures, including Teotihuacán.
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