Syngenta Global
Syngenta Photography Award: Exploring Global Challanges

Commission Overview

The winner of the first prize in the Professional Commission will receive a commission worth up to an additional US$25,000 to explore the theme of the Award in a more in-depth way. With the commission the Award generates a new body of work that contributes to the contemporary debate about the topic, allowing the Award to continue to spark discussion around key global challenges.

3rd Edition: Grow-Conserve

The winning photographer of 2016/17 Professional Commission category, Yan Wang Preston, is receiving support to carry out her proposed project, an expansion of her ‘Forest’ series, which explores ways in which new forests are created in Chinese cities according to traditional aesthetics: aesthetics that strive for an ideal harmony between man and his environment. The photographic series follows the journeys made by some of the old trees from their original providence to their new homes in the cities.

Yan Wang Preston says: "Mass urbanisation is happening in China and many other developing countries. How do we understand the conflicts between the expansions of cities and the need to protect existing ecologies? And how do we understand the difficulties and possibilities of establishing new ecologies in cities? I hope that my Forest project will encourage dialogue on these important and timely questions."

2nd Edition: Scarcity-Waste

The winning photographer of the 2014/15 Professional Commission category, Mustafah Abdulaziz, received support to carry out his proposed project, an extension of his Water series, to explore the theme of Scarcity/Waste in a more in-depth way. The result is WATER: California, which encompasses the issues of water, sanitation and infrastructure in California.

This exhibition looks at California through the prism of water, where an exceptional drought has exacerbated a complex relationship between dire need, water scarcity and the infrastructure and resources at work.

Through the medium of aerial photography, Mustafah captures the scale of the agricultural fields that make California the world's sixth largest economy. He considers how water is moved to determine who gets too mcuh and who too little in order to show how this is determining our future. His work also focuses on water misuse in everyday life to ask: why do we make the choices we make when we know the consequences?

The exhibition is on show until January 31, 2017 at the National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA

1st Edition: Rural-Urban

Jan Brykczyński, winner of the 2013 Professional Commission, received support to carry out his submitted project proposal in which he envisaged the human population connected as one large village, brought together by urban farming on a global scale. He spent a year traveling between New York, Nairobi, Warsaw and Yerevan, taking photographs that capture the relationships between people and place that exist in these very different urban spaces. His book, The Gardener, featuring these photographs, has now been released by esteemed publisher Dewi Lewis and was launched at Photo London on May 21.

Jan Brykczyński says: "For the past few years I have been working on projects around issues of the relationship between man and nature in small rural communities. The Syngenta Photography Award Professional Commission allowed me to enlarge my view and to realize a project where I could look at the same phenomenon but on a global scale. I was able to envisage the human population as one big village and convey my vision of farming in low-income communities of four big metropolises; New York, Nairobi, Warsaw and Yerevan. If you have a global project you strongly believe in and you have a clear vision of what you want to do, this award is truly a great opportunity for you as an artist."

Born in Poland, Jan Brykczynski, is a founding partner of the internationally renowned Sputnik Photos collective. His first book Boiko (2014) explored rural life in the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains and his work on Icelandic farms led to him being awarded the inaugural Syngenta Photography Award.

He has exhibited in Noorderligcht Gallery, Leica Gallery Warsaw, National Museum in Gdansk, PhotoDoc in Utrecht, and in Deichtorhallen, Hamburg. His work has been published in the New York Times International, Die Welt, The Independent, Cicero, Art, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, The Chicago Tribune, foto8and Lense Culture. He is represented by the Anzenberger Agency.