The competition will be conducted across eleven (11) categories in two divisions. Prizes will be awarded to the top three entries in each category.

Students may enter any category but will compete for separate awards and prizes of their own.

We have separated the various categories into two divisions to best cater for all entrants, from traditionalists working in a more documentary style to innovators pushing the boundaries of photographic artistry.

CREATIVE – in this division entrants are free to utilise the entire available range of digital editing techniques, including compositing, to create the final image – in other words, as long as the entry is 100% photographic and 100% the work of the entrant, pretty much anything goes.

CLASSIC – In this division all entries must be derived from a single source file created in-camera. Source files may be digital or film-based, including images created by traditional processes, but must be entered as digital files. Entrants may edit these files for the purpose of refinement and expression, but cannot use any pixels from any other source, other than the original source file. Cloning of minor elements is permitted for retouching purposes but no major elements of the original image may be replicated, rearranged, reversed or mirrored.

Student – students currently enrolled at registered tertiary institutions can enter images into any category but are limited to a total of five (5) entries in the competition. Student entries will be judged anonymously alongside all other entries in whatever category they are entered. This is a great opportunity to see how the images you are producing in the course of your studies stack up against practicing photographers. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

CREATIVE CATEGORIES

PORTRAIT:

This category is all about us. Humans, in all our beautiful/strange/tragic/messy/glorious/sad/sexy/silly diversity. Portraiture generally heads the list of most-popular photographic genres and was the single-most subscribed category in the 2020 Silver Lining Awards, so competition will be strong. Babies, kids, grown-ups, families, gangs, workers, somebodies, nobodies, nudes, the list goes on. Oh yes, and pets and animals too. Many of them are kind of human anyway.


PLACES:

Think landscape here, minus the restrictions of the Natural World category. Images can be about geography in the broadest sense or may explore more specific settings such as towns and urban areas, industrial zones, rural locations, marine environments, skyscapes and so on. Images that depict or include human infrastructure or interaction with the environment are welcome. Descriptive and conceptual images are equally encouraged. Aerials may be entered in this category.


MANMADE:

A great many photographs are made to promote or sell infrastructure, buildings, products, food, clothing, motorcars, even lifestyles. This category therefore covers subject matter that is neither people nor places/landscapes, but “things” made by humans, if you will. It covers the genres of architectural, interior design, advertising, industrial, product, fashion, food and still life photography. Judges will assess both the image itself and its fulfilment of a commercial application or brief.


SMARTPHONE:

Once-in-a-lifetime image and all you had with you was a mobile phone camera? Well, they say the best camera is the one you are actually carrying, so perhaps this category is for you. All entries must have been captured with a mobile phone and edited with phone-based apps. To keep the playing field level, there is to be no exporting to computer-based versions of, for example, Lightroom or Photoshop. Judges will be looking for images that are well seen, imaginatively composed, dynamic and spontaneous.


ART & SCIENCE:

Many photographers aspire to create art and can rely on advanced forms of technology to achieve that goal. This category is for those who use science to explore photographic frontiers, employing special equipment such as microscopes or telescopes and techniques like focus-stacking, image stitching and so on. Astrophotography, microphotography, macrophotography, multiple exposures, time-lapses and multi-image panoramas all fall into this category. So too do any images created with traditional chemical or analogue techniques or processes, though these must be presented as digital images for judging purposes.

CLASSIC CATEGORIES

HOME:

As Alfred Stieglitz once said, "Photography mainly consists in the exploration of the familiar. I found most of my subjects within sixty yards of my door." 2020’s Covid culture certainly made home territory centre-stage for many people to some degree. With that in mind, all images submitted in this category must have been captured within the postcode (ZIP code etc) in which you live (can be a suburb, town or district). Images should focus on life within your home, local neighbourhood or community. Think of this as an exercise in documentary interpretation of your own backyard; think “portrait of place”. Titles of up to 70 characters are permitted and may be helpful in this category.

 

AWAY:

Travel photography is one of the most popular and widely practiced genres of all and encompasses everything that is “other”, from people going about their daily lives to geography, history, architecture, attire and food. Above all judges will be looking for images with a sense of place that embody the concept or spirit of travel or illustrate the cultures and customs of planet Earth. Entries must have been captured beyond the postcode in which you normally live.

 

SHADES OF GREY:

Photography itself is nearly 200 years old but for most of its first century single-colour processes dominated the medium. Long the choice of documentarians, for many purists the silver standard still rules. In this category we are looking for mastery of monochrome. Explore those wonderful 254 shades of grey (plus pure white and pure black). Concentrate on content, composition, light and shade, tonal contrast, emotion. Go right back to the foundations of the craft to create something brand new. Images may be toned but must be monochrome only.

 

COLOUR:

Modern colour photography began in 1935 with the introduction of Kodachrome and has grown into a billions-of-snaps-a-day practice. Today’s camera sensors can see many millions of individual hues, which allows for practically unlimited aesthetic expression in image-making. In this category judges will be looking specifically for photographs that rely primarily on colour itself for their impact, message or power. In that context you may be as literal or abstract as you like, within the rules of the Classic division.

 

NATURAL WORLD:

This category covers all aspects of the animal/vegetable/mineral world minus any evidence of human presence. Subjects may include wildlife; land, sky and sea (including underwater scenes); geology; the plant kingdom; weather and climate; the seasons, and so on. Judges will be looking for technical skill and innovation. Photography of captive animals or pets is not allowed in this category. For images that involve specialized techniques such as astro- or micro-photography, please see the Art & Science category in the Creative Division.

 

STORIES:

This year we are introducing a new category to cater for storytellers. This is for a narrative or documentary series of up to six (6) related images on a common subject or theme. The topic may be anything. The images are to be entered collectively as a single PDF and individually as image files and will be judged as a series, with Classic Division rules to apply. Text of up to 75 words may be supplied to explain the intended narrative.

 

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