Rural - Urban: The Syngenta Photography Award 2013:


In 2013 the theme of The Syngenta Photography Award has been Rural - Urban, exploring the relationship and tensions between rural and urban environments.
The award attracted over 450 submissions to the Professional Commission. For the Open Competition more than 2,500 entrants submitted their photographs.

The jury was unanimously impressed with the high standard of entries in the first year of the award. William A. Ewing said: “It was moving to see the deep emotion underpinning so much of the work, read in the text and felt in the images. These photographers have come up with unique and surprising perspectives on the theme.”


The winners of both categories were announced on May 15, 2013, followed by an exhibition at Somerset House, London from May 17-21. The exhibition, which is also available online, provides an outlet to illustrate the tensions of the rural - urban relationship, such as urban sprawl, migration, infrastructure, greener cities, food production and deforestation.


The theme

In its inaugural year, the theme of The Syngenta Photography Award has been Rural - Urban, exploring the relationship and tensions between rural and urban environments.

• Over half of the world's population now lives in urban spaces.
• Yet rural areas provide the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat.
• With competition for land, natural resources and labor increasing, balancing these tensions is critical.

At the turn of the 20th century the rural population outnumbered the urban by 7 to 1.* Since then, there has been rapid urbanization and in 2007 the world's urban population crossed a watershed and exceeded the rural. The UN estimates that by 2050, over 6 billion people, two thirds of humanity, will be living in cities.**

How will these changes affect individuals and the communities they live in? What are the changing roles that people play in this shifting landscape? What are the pressures on natural resources? Is this relationship symbiotic or in competition and do the environmental constraints of water shortage and limited fertile land forever put into question the rural-urban dynamic?

As urban dwellers get further away from where their food is grown, do they lose sight of how sustainable farming operates? Is a city dweller's relationship with food consistent with his or her rural counterpart? If not, are unrealistic demands being placed on the rural food producers?

How will this ever changing landscape impact overall global food security?

The cities need water for people to drink and to support sanitary services. Rural areas need water to grow crops to feed the expanding cities. Is there enough for both? What role will technology play? What role will society allow technology to play?
In developed countries, cheap and abundant food has been a given. Do urban dwellers really understand where their food comes from, do they care?

The Syngenta Photography Award invites all artists and photographers to interpret these questions and their own concerning these issues in the broadest sense to stimulate dialogue about our changing planet through photography.

*The Royal Society; Biological Sciences, "Urbanization and its implications for food and farming", 2010
**United Nations: "Human Settlements",



On May 15, Syngenta announced the winners of the Syngenta Photography Award, an international competition that aims to stimulate dialogue around key global challenges. In its inaugural year, the Rural - Urban theme explores the relationship and tensions between these environments.

The winners of the Professional Commission and the Open Competition were selected for their artistic quality and interpretation of this year’s theme by an international panel of experts, chaired by the author and curator William A. Ewing.


The three winners for the Professional Commission are: 


Jan Brykczyński (Poland), First Prize Winner

Mimi Mollica (Italy), Second Prize Winner

Pablo Lopez Luz (Mexico), Third Prize Winner


The three winners in the Open Competition are: 


Holly Lynton (USA), First Prize Winner

Vitaliy Popkov (Ukraine), Second Prize Winner

André François (Brazil), Third Prize Winner


  Chair: William A. Ewing (Canada)
  Curator, author, museum director


  William A. Ewing is a curator, author, and museum

  director. For many years he was also a professor at the

  University of Geneva/Switzerland, where he taught the

  history of photography.
He was Director of Exhibitions at the International Center of photography in New York from 1977 to 1984, and Director of the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne/Switzerland, from 1996 through to 2010. His many publications include monographs on Ray Metzker, Leonard Freed, Erwin Blumenfeld, Edward Steichen, and Ernst Haas; and thematic publications on the human body, the portrait, colour photography, and photography and dance, among other subjects.
His exhibitions have been shown in leading museums and galleries throughout the world  including MoMA and ICP, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the Jeu de Paume and the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Serpentine Gallery, the Hayward Gallery,and the Barbican Art Gallery, London; the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Musee de l'Elysee, Lausanne; the Kunsthaus, Zurich.


William A. Ewing has written many articles on the subject of photography. Recent publications include  “William Hunt: Site Unseen” for Thames & Hudson; Out of Focus for the Saatchi Gallery; and Color Correction for Steidl. His most recent major monograph is Arnold Newman: Masterclass, published by Thames & Hudson. His latest exhibitions are Cartier-Bresson: A Question of Colour, Somerset House, London; and Arnold Newman: Masterclass at the Fotomuseum/Gemeentemuseum, The Hague.
He is currently a curator with the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography; Director of Curatorial Projects for Thames & Hudson; and Director of The Todi Circle, a brainstorming center in Umbria, Italy. In 2010 he was named an Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters.




Irina Chmyreva (Russia)
Curator and researcher of photography


Irina Chmyreva is currently senior researcher of photography at the State Research Institute of Art History of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts. Previously, she worked as head researcher at the Photography and Multimedia Department at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA).


In 2012, she was one of three Russian curators of the Contemporary Russian Photography program at Biennial FotoFest in Houston, USA. She was also co-curator of Russian Pictorial Photography 1890-1990 for FotoFest 2002, and for a number of Russian exhibitions for other editions of photography festivals around the world.


Irina Chmyreva was guest editor of the Russian issue (#11) of OjoDePez magazine, and co-founder and art director of the 1st edition of PANDUS contemporary art festival in Moscow (2007). She has served as art director for PHOTOVISA International Festival of Photography in Krasnodar, Russia, since 2008.


Stephen Dunbar-Johnson (UK)


Stephen Dunbar-Johnson is the publisher of the International Herald Tribune, and has held this position since 2008. He is responsible for both the journalistic and business operations of the newspaper across the globe. Previously he served as executive vice president of the IHT since September 2006. He had served as senior vice president and commercial director for the IHT since September 2000. Before that he was advertising director, a position he held since joining the IHT in 1998.


Prior to joining the IHT, Stephen Dunbar-Johnson was the UK Advertisement Director of the Financial Times. During his twelve years at the Financial Times, he held various positions in the paper’s advertising department, including advertising manager in France and vice president of advertising in the Americas, based in New York.





Milton Guran (Brazil)

Curator and photographer


Milton Guran is a curator, photographer and anthropologist. He is also currently the director and general coordinator of FotoRio, the International Photography Meeting in Rio de Janeiro. He is the author of Encounter in Bahia (1979), Brazilians of Benin (2000) and Language and Photographic Information (2002).
Milton Guran is also one of the founders of AGIL Photojournalism (1980). He is the recipient of VITAE (1990), the X Prize Marc Ferrez of FUNARTE (1998), the Pierre Verger Award of the Brazilian Association of Anthropology (2002), Ori Award (2007) and the Award Orilaxé Grupo Cultural Afro Reggae (2009). He is an associate researcher at LABHOI – Laboratory of Oral History and Image of the Universidade Federal Fluminense.


He is also a member of the International Scientific Committee of the Slave Route Project of UNESCO and member of the executive board of RPCFB – Producers Network Cultural Photography in Brazil.



Malu Halasa (Jordan/Philippines)
Writer and editor


Malu Halasa is a renowned editor and journalist covering the culture and politics of the Middle East. She has co-edited Creating Spaces of Freedom: Culture in Defiance (2002), Kaveh Golestan: Recording the Truth in Iran (2007), and The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie: Intimacy (2008).


She is also an editor of Transit, a book series showcasing new writing and images from the Middle East, with Transit Beirut (2004) and Transit Tehran: Young Iran and Its Inspirations (2008); and co-curator of Culture in Defiance: Continuing Traditions of Satire, Art and the Struggle for Freedom in Syria at the Prince Claus Fund Gallery.


She is editor-at-large for Portal 9: Stories and Critical Writing about the City, a new architectural and arts journal from Beirut. Malu Halasa lives in London and writes for the British press.


Marcus Lyon (UK)


Marcus Lyon is a British artist. He founded the Glassworks in 1990, an award-winning multi-disciplinary studio that acts as gallery, exhibition venue and center for commissioned and original artwork. Previously, he worked with Amnesty International in Latin America, which inspired him to explore issues surrounding development, urbanization and the interface between man and nature.

Marcus Lyon's work has received numerous awards including the B&H Gold, Agfa Photographer of the Year, Prix Pictet nomination, D&AD Silver, and 5 AOP awards. His works and publications are held in both private and international collections. Over the last two decades his photographs have featured in over 90 exhibitions across 90 countries.


He is former chairman of the International Children's Trust, an ambassador for Photovoice and Home-Start UK, as well as chairman of the global think tank The Consortium for Street Children.


Michael Mack (U.S.)
Syngenta Chief Executive Officer


Michael Mack has been the Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta since 2008. 


He is actively involved in a number of key forums and international initiatives on food security, sustainable agriculture and rural development. He co-chaired the Vision 2050 project run by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, was also the co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture symposium at Davos, Switzerland in 2012. In 2011 and 2012, he was a member of the Food Security Task Force for the G20 Business Summit and attended the 2012 G8 Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security.







Liu Heung Shing (China)
Photographer and photo editor


Liu Heung Shing is one of China's leading photo editors. In 1992, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News and an Overseas Press Club Award for his coverage of the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1989, his image of Tiananmen was awarded Picture of the Year by the School of Journalism at University of Missouri, and he was named Best Photographer by the Associated Press Managing Editors.


He has served as a member of the jury of the World Press Photo in 1995. His books include China after Mao, China: Portrait of a Country, Shanghai: A History in Photographs, 1842 to Today, and China in Revolution: The Road to 1911.



Open Competition Judging Advisors



Emma Morris
Publisher, UK


Emma Morris has over 20 years experience in artistic programming, strategic planning, business development, fundraising and change management. She is the Director of Photoworks, the leading agency for photography in the UK. Photoworks commissions new work, curates exhibitions and events, publishes books and the influential magazine, Photoworks.

Every second year in October, Photoworks delivers the Brighton Photo Biennial, which has rapidly established itself as the leading photography festival in the UK. Previously, Emma was Deputy Director at The Photographers' Gallery, London, and Deputy Director at the De La Warr Pavilion, a major player on the national and international arts scene.







Mark Power
Photographer, UK


Mark's photographs have been exhibited in prestigious museums and galleries across the world and are held in numerous public and private collections. He has published 5 monographs: The Shipping Forecast (1996); Superstructure (2000); The Treasury Project (2002); 26 Different Endings (2007); and The Sound of Two Songs (2010). Much of this work considers the interplay between man and nature, the urban environments and landscapes which define us, and the weather.

In 2007 Mark curated Theatres of War, a group show of photography about contemporary conflict and surveillance. It opened at the Oskar Schindler factory in Krakow, Poland, the keynote exhibition of the Krakow Photomonth festival.

Mark joined Magnum Photos in 2002, becoming a full member in 2007. Meanwhile, in his other life, he is the Professor of Photography at the University of Brighton.