Fine Art Photography Daily

Next Up: The 2020 Lenscratch Top 25 to Watch

The Lenscratch Top 25 to Watch

Every year when the student prize submissions come around, our jurors are consistently blown away by the work that comes in. We’ve been having many conversations here at Lenscratch about our place in the photo community, and how this platform can be used to amplify the chorus of voices making incredible work right now. It was in this spirit that we came up with the idea for the Lenscratch Student Prize Top 25 to Watch. Selected by our jurors from the record setting number of submissions this year, we believe these 25 artists truly encapsulate the future of image making. We asked each of the artists included to select an image that best represented their portfolio, and write a brief statement about their work. You can find more of their work by clicking their name.

Hannah Atlman

Shabbos Candles, Kavana, 2018, © Hannah Altman

Kavana explores Jewish action and photography. No place is a constant for the Jewish diaspora; time and the rituals that steep into it are centered as a mode of carrying on memory. Encountering an image in this way asks not only what it feels like, but asks: what does it remember like? – Hannah Atlman

William Camargo


Damn, I Can’t Go On This Side of the Park? 2020 © William Camargo

Origins & Displacements: Making Sense of Place, Histories, and Possibilities, is a long term research project, that includes performance, portrait/landscapes, and archived material from the city of Anaheim. It is reflective of a city that continues battles with the racist history and that has repacked it through police violence, gentrification, and other forms of policy that marginalizes its majority Latinx population. – William Camargo

How-To Sand a Bench with your Father, 2020, © Maximiliano Cervantes

The “How-To” aesthetic embodies my past experiences of working with my father on home renovations. Using the camera as my tool, I can capture his self-reliance, appreciation for tools, and the enduring tradition of labor tirelessly performed by the LatinX community. – Maximiliano Cervantes


If the Branch is Rotted, so are the Roots 2020 © Seth Adam Cook

What I Saw in the Water highlights the deterioration of the Gulf Coast, reflecting the grief and sorrows born from the environmental catastrophes that linger across the landscape. Through the process of image transfer, the photographic surface is exploited as though it were wet paint, allowing the surface area to build-up a grotesque-like texture. – Seth Adam Cook


Status III, Alba lux, 27/11/2019, © Noemi Comi

Alba lux is an artistic project that combines documentation and conceptual photography. The photographs become real symbolic images, reproducing idyllic atmospheres and ineffable realities. It’s a multidisciplinary journey between spirituality and science, which begins within the earthly reality and then takes off within the otherworldly one. – Noemi Comi

HV-1 003

something speaking from the darkness, 2020, © Harlan Crichton

Growing up I heard stories of brothers setting each other on fire, teens buried alive for fun, and inexplicable events occurring in the forests. In Hostile Valley, I photograph my family and friends and create phenomena which serves to create a low hum of menace and disquiet emanating from the land and population. – Harlan Crichton

Untitled, from “Disidentifications” series, 2019 © Jesse Egner

Being a gay man who is fat and has an invisible disability has left me in a precarious relationship with my identity. Through my work, I utilize absurdity, humor, and uncanniness to explore this relationship as well as the unique relationships other queer people have with their identities.  – Jesse Egner


A Woman’s Death, In A Darkened Room, 2020, © Amina Gingold

In A Darkened Room, focuses on views of oneself, body image, perception, and how we challenge our roles in these spaces. I collaborate with people whom I share similar viewpoints with and project their presence as an obscured form. – Amina Gingold


Dysphoria, 2019, © Harrison Huse

In my current body of work, To Find The Wholeness That You Seek I photograph my boyfriend Torrance and I. Torrance is going through Hormone Replacement Therapy and is a trans man. The photographs not only document his growth physically but also the growth of our relationship as a couple. – Harrison Huse

The Seed, 2020, © Joel Jimenez

My work is influenced by the conceptual analysis of space and its possibilities to convey human conditions, emotional and psychological states; how it correlates with social issues in our contemporary society. Throughout my projects, I reflect on the dynamics of identity and memory between people and the environment they inhabit. – Joel Jimenez

Alec Kaus


Squirt, 2017, © Alec Kaus

Forgetting Everything But You is a series of photographs created with my partner, exploring notions of love, home, and intimacy by tracing our life together indirectly across time and physical distance. – Alec Kaus

Tommy Keith


Mom and I + Dad, The Donor Sibling Laboratory, 2020, © Tommy Keith

This project explores my personal history of being conceived through a sperm donation clinic. – Tommy Keith

Under the Spanish Moss, 2019, © Cassandra Klos

In a mythological Southern landscape, the natural world carves a pathway to a transcendence for its people. It is a quest for seeking the unseen and looking for what others can’t – finding their own mythologies and realities to depend upon, adding to the complicated and textured qualities of life in the American South. – Cassandra Klos

Leaning Left, 2019, © Tristan Martinez

Tristan creates scenes of ambiguity to address topics of isolation and representation. To understand his own placement as a multiracial transplant to the Midwest, Tristan focuses on work that transcends direct placement. Drawing the viewer in with oddities, Tristan challenges his audience to make sense of the ambiguous and satirical.


Three, 2019, © Lindley Warren Mickunas

 Within the ongoing series Maternal Sheet, I utilize various modes of image-making to contextualize notions of parent-child relationships and the conceptual weight of carrying the past. My approach ranges from large-format photographs of reenactments sourced from my familial history performed by non-relatives to present day digital documentations of my family and their domestic spaces, allowing the fabricated and the real to blend together much like they do in memory. These images explore heritage, violence and codependency, especially pertaining to the maternal bond. My personal narrative acts as a springboard to visually investigate universal themes surrounding the lingering effects of trauma and grapple with the profound longing for familial closeness and the necessity for separation. – Lindley Warren Mickunas

Untitled, George, 2019, © Kevin Bennett Moore

Kevin Bennett Moore (b. 1996) is a recent graduate with Departmental Honors from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (BFA ’20) in Boston. His self-portrait based projects largely discuss queerness by utilizing the past to talk about current politics. – Kevin Moore

© Nadiya Nacorda

Nadiya Imani Loyisa Ntlabati Nacorda is a Blasian artist, photographer and Taurus currently living and working in Syracuse, NY. She was born in Detroit, MI to a Filipinx immigrant father and a Xhosa mother. Throughout the year, she travels around the country photographing her immediate family. Her work heavily draws from notions of intimacy, affection, displacement, and matrilineage within the context of Black and POC immigrant-American family life.

Our Lady On Fire, House On Fire, 2019, © Kendall Pestana

My project House On Fire is a series of internal landscapes and domestic spaces intended to explore psychological and bodily space through the lenses of gendered violence, illness, and objectification. – Kendall Pestana


The untangled night, 2020, © Michelle Piergoelam

In Michelle Piergoelam’s photographic work, she consciously uses stories, fairytales and myths from different traditions and cultures to fathom her history and background. With her images she stimulates the imagination and the narrative culture to keep their transmission alive. – Michelle Piergoelam


Waikiki, 2018, © Leah Schretenthaler

The land of Hawaii is luxurious and idyllic, but past the wanderlust images, it is also very controversial. Its industrial growth destroys the historical records and spiritual places that have existed there for generations. The silver gelatin prints are laser cut, splicing man-made structures from the landscape. The removed spaces reveal what Hawaii would look like without these impositions. – Leah Schretenthaler

mom_crone_contact1_3 001

Mom with Rose of Sharon, 2018, © Amrita Stützle

In my work, titled Maiden, Mother, Crone, I have been photographing my relationship with my Wiccan mother through the lens of the history of witchcraft. I am interested in reimagining the ever-present horror deeply rooted in this history as a way of deconstructing the violence toward women therein––a demonization of women that continues to perpetuate within contemporary society. I create an imagined world alongside my mother where I reference this history while reclaiming the power of magic as a radical feminist and restorative act. – Amrita Stützle


Red Delicious, Pickled Herring, 2020, © Svava Tergesen.

By ornamenting, transforming and disguising every-day objects, Crudités stages a novel encounter with the familiar. Emphasizing the body as a tool for sensing, the series seeks to discover what happens when objects and perception are corrupted. – Svava Tergesen


The Dust #2, 2019, © Raymond Thompson Jr.

Appalachian Ghost attempts to expand the visuals archive that surrounds the worst industrial disaster in United States history, the Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster. I have positioned this work to disrupt the archives that control the visual narrative surrounding the Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster.  From this vantage point, I seek to challenge the white gaze that built the visual archive and reimagine this story through the perspective of the forgotten African Americans who died as a result of corporate negligence.  – Raymond Thompson Jr.

Amara and the Snake, Daughter and Mother, 2018 © Idalia Vasquez

This series explores my experience as a mother and how this experience is inevitably bound to my childhood memories. I am interested in how negative patterns are learned and concealed in the domestic space, and continued through generations. This work is a conceptual vision in between reality and fiction with some metaphoric religious components. – Idalia Vasquez

NY 001

Boy with Rooster, 2019, © Zhidong Zhang

This body of work explores the construction of sexuality and identity through constructed scenes inflected with fantasy, trauma, fetish, and violence, which challenge the rigid and stereotypical codes of gender roles, identity construction, and traditional cultural values. – Zhidong Zhang

Be sure to to stay tuned through the rest of the week to find out who our Grand Prize, second and third place, and honorable mentions are! Special thanks to our jurors:
Guanyu Xu – 2019 Student Prize Winner
Zora Murff- 2018 Student Prize Winner
Shawn Bush – 2017 Student Prize Winner
Drew Nikonowicz – 2016 Student Prize Winner
Elizabeth Moran – 2013 Student Prize Winner
Aline Smithson – Lenscratch Founder & Editor in Chief
Brennan Booker – Lenscratch Director of Special Projects
Daniel George – Lenscratch Submissions Editor
Thank you to all who submitted. Without your continued support and commitment to the medium, Lenscratch wouldn’t be what it is today.

Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.

NEXT | >
< | PREV