Spotlight Awards

In this Spotlight feature, we would like to take a look at some past winners of the Spotlight Awards that prove that an image can be stronger than a thousand words; that show that humanity will always be a source of inspiration, not only in front of the camera but also behind it. As the great photographer Robert Frank said: “There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.”

Production Paradise just launched the 2020 Spotlight Awards – a competition with a unique focus for advertising talent. This is the 3rd edition of the awards, the only photo competition that has created a judge’s panel that is solely filled with potential clients for commercial photographers.

“Our Spotlight Awards give the opportunity to talented photographers to be directly visible to more than 50 of some of the most influential creative decision-makers around the globe. That is exactly what Production Paradise is all about – great imagery in front of great creatives.” says Mariela von Estorff, CEO of Production Paradise.

Anatol Gottfried Spain - Germany

"Humanity and unconditional felicity have been always an important key-part of my images and my work in general. 

I feel blessed of being able to capture the real, content fragments and moments and to call it my job.

Some of them last maybe only seconds and let you realise that every single moment counts."

Astrid Obert Munich

"Photography truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity, which lives in all things."

Astrid Obert is a professional photographer internationally acclaimed for her subtle yet exquisite contributions in the expressive domains of fashion, lifestyle, and interior design.

Based in Munich and Cape Town, Astrid has demonstrated herself as an eminent driving force in the field of creativity, artfully designing vibrant and progressive campaigns for renowned brands, advertising agencies, celebrities, and top magazines worldwide.

Her style is a thorough portrayal of her evocative personality, which is distinguished by her passion for producing creative, emotional experiences.

She is adept at unearthing the true potential of any imagery with her astute technical acumen. Moreover, Astrid is passionate and exemplifies a calm persona, empowering her to produce inspirational works of art.

Astrid, with her quality services, presents a versatile proposition for local and international enterprises.

Hans Verleur Amsterdam

"These series of images, shot through the years, reflect the joy and beauty of being human. They serve as a reminder, a promise if you will, that we all aspire to recover and rejoice over what makes us human.

To assemble and connect together as families, friends and communities when this is all over.

I seek to make my work land and last, beyond that initial millisecond, to hold the attention, to ask questions and to trigger hope and desire.

With the use of mood lighting and toning, cinematic framing and composition, I want my work to elevate the subject with a curated production value."

Ian Boddy London

Ian is a well known and much-loved kids and youth photographer who shoots worldwide for a variety of editorial, advertising, and retail clients. His latest international campaign for Versace is live now.

He is represented in London and NYC by Ray Brown Pro

Visit his website for more information and follow him on Instagram

James Braund Melbourne

James Braund’s particular strength is making extraordinary images through connections with people. He has worked with a diversity of subjects from all walks of life. In doing so, he has developed adaptability and creativity under pressure, as well as the ability to quickly connect with subjects.

His exploration of psychology, philosophy and the human condition have given him a deep empathy, understanding and sensitivity with people. He naturally brings these qualities to his work.

“Having the technical craft of photography is one thing, but that means nothing if you can’t connect with people, read a mood, be respectful and compassionate" he says.

He describes his work as a relaxed collaboration; keenly aware that photography is a surface-based art, he seeks those fleeting moments of authenticity between self- consciousness, and artifice. Today, his sensitivity, flexibility, and easy-going yet professional approach mean he is sought after by clients in the advertising, design, editorial, and cultural sectors.

Recent projects include creating image libraries for global biotherapeutics leader CSL Behring, who has just announced a partnership with SAB Biotherapeutics to combat the Covid19 pandemic. Another image library commissioned by Open Universities Australia, and portraits of the Australian and Asia Pacific leadership team for global design practice, DKO Architecture.

Jeff Camden Sydney

Jeff is a lifestyle, portrait and aerial photographer based in Australia, usually found somewhere outdoors.

Always looking for the most real moments and keeping things relaxed is the way he likes to approach each shoot. He works with a tight team who love what they do, and always keep things fun on set, wherever they might be.

Recent work includes campaigns for Noble Oak Insurance, Coles, Glencore and Queensland Rugby League.

Karsten Koch Hamburg

"My pictures are about people, a story, and emotions. That's why my work can be used perfectly for my fellow human beings in addition to my job. I want to give something back, create added value. Be it on my assignments for Dein-Sternenkind, where I take the first and last photo of these children for their parents. Or for Hamami, which I have now accompanied to Cameroon for the second time to document the efforts of the doctors and to show a small portrait of the people in Cameroon.

As difficult as the pandemic will be for many, it will hopefully bring some good things with it. Be it our new willingness to help for our fellow human beings, or a reflection on the values that we may have forgotten in our fast everyday life.

The latest projects were for Hansano, TUI Robinson Club, Spardabank, and KWS Saat.

Laura Crosta New York

Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Laura Crosta has an innate ability to capture moments that place the viewer directly in the midst of the action. Whether she is shooting for a lifestyle brand, a musician, or a pharmaceutical company, Laura’s images exude energy and realism.

Laura’s imagery has elevated numerous brands including AT&T, Lyft, Paris Baguette, Microsoft, ESPN, Sony, Nike, Canon, Adidas, Mini, Toyota - to name a few.

Recent accolades include The International Color Awards, Exposure, Spider Award and PDN’s Photo Annual.

Laura fills her spirit conceiving and executing an array of still and motion picture projects. Yours could be next!

Lucila Blumencweig Buenos Aires - New York

"So here we are, all the world together in the middle of Covid-19, for sure we will end up learning something about it. About love, introspection within oneself, patience, life, death, suffering, health and our relationship with time and urgency. For me, these images tell a story about this, of hope and isolation.

The quarantine found us in the middle of an already remote shooting with Grey New York. We hope that within the next weeks here in Buenos Aires, we can be back on track working in that mode.

Until then - keep safe, and tell your loved ones how much you love them.

Feel free to reach out, we have time to just connect and know about each other's work or just say hi."

Marco Aste Switzerland

Marco Aste, Swiss photographer who works internationally, has realised several projects that have a lot to do with hope, solidarity, and humanity are a great experience for him too. Many of his customers approve of this attitude and be it for banks, medical companies, magazines or even advertising this experience is incorporated into the topic as well as it suits him.

Through his sensitivity and authenticity, his work affects the people who stand in front of his camera. This creates light images that are portrayed in campaigns, posters, brochures, annual reports and books with a timeless, modern clarity that impress the viewer and let every project go into depth.

His clients are UBS, ZKB, BKB, BKBL, Bank J. Safra Sarasin, Operation Smile, Johnson & Johnson, Unicef and many more.

Some of his recent work includes: UNICEF, 50Plus Magazine, and the DePuy Synthes campaign.

Matthew Joseph London

"This is a collection of images taken over the last 12 months across various commissioned shoots which I’ve curated to convey and champion the themes of humanity, love and hope.

I believe they help us believe, breathe and remember why we’re staying at home - so we can get back out there to enjoy life to its fullest as a stronger human race."

Robert Houser San Francisco

"I work in healthcare, often with rare disease patients. People will often ask me if I find it to be depressing, and yet, honestly, it is quite the opposite. 

I once spent an afternoon photographing a four-year-old with a rare and physically debilitating disease for which there was no treatment at the time. When I arrived at her house, she grabbed my hand, brought me to her room and said, “Let’s play princess.” Donning a princess dress she danced and twirled while I photographed – to her during those few hours, she was a princess. 

Even more rewarding was almost a decade later when I met her again after having undergone a new therapy. Distant and aloof, she was a typical teenager, and I smiled thinking about her dancing."

Sergio Cattivelli Spain - Italy

"Past and future, strength and weakness, old and young are juxtaposed to bare the challenges that all of humanity has been facing in recent months. The elderly are vulnerable because of illness; children are vulnerable as they need guidance in order to discover the world.” 

During Sergio’s travels around the globe he has always been inspired by these two subjects, by their deep eyes, naive gestures and unconditional smiles. In these images it is vulnerability that becomes the key to interpreting their two worlds, both seemingly distant but in reality are fragile in the same way.

This collection of Sergio’s last trip to La Habana, Cuba, we see the old generations together with the new, the remembrance that is necessary to nourish the hope and the calm that is mixed with impetus.

Barcelona-based Italian photographer and professional traveller Sergio Cattivelli has been across all five continents, visiting tens of countries to capture the essence of people, places and landscapes. He speaks five languages fluently, which is great leverage in getting him closer to people and understanding their cultures.

Sergio is available to travel for assignments worldwide.

Shaun Fenn Los Angeles - San Francisco

Shaun is a photographer who is known for wrapping everyday emotions and human spirit into beautiful images that invite the viewer into a larger untold story. His emphasis is on the authentic, believable subject captured in an aspirational yet approachable way. His work would be the opposite of the overly produced or high fashion genres found in other categories.

In a timeless way his campaigns and productions are put tougher with a tremendous attention to detail yet appearing as a fleeting moment captured. Shaun’s approach is a collaborative one with a great deal of work put in before a single shot is taken. Whether shooting motion or stills his editorial approach on set supports a great deal of exploration and development to uncover the unexpected.

He has been a proven brand development partner trusted around the world with some of the globe's largest brands. In addition to campaigns he has produced ongoing libraries for companies like Westin Hotels, Mercedes Benz, Asics, USTA and Lexus. A time tested, trusted professional delivering for companies passionate about powerful imagery.

Stephen Langdon New Zealand

"Hello from the most isolated place in the world, New Zealand. We are in the third week of a one month lockdown; we have to stay within our family bubbles, only essential services are open (convenience stores / supermarkets / chemist and petrol stations), walking the dog and bike riding are permitted within our bubbles. Social distancing is the new normal. No boating / swimming or surfing, it is completely banned along with no travel or excercise.

All the photographs that I have submitted are taken in lockdown, whilst walking the family dog within my small neighbourhood or bubble. The portraits are taken from two meters away from all subjects. The location for this series is in Auckland, in my hometown Devonport."

Terence Lee Singapore

"In a world full of fear, uncertainty and death, I seek solace in the love I share with my family.

Let us celebrate life and the future, for where there is hope, there will be humanity."

Tomi Deak Budapest

"Man’s best friend.

12 years ago I visited a dog shelter in Budapest to document dogs waiting to be adopted or found by their owners.

As I walked through the passage in front of their cages, they all got excited, barked and jumped – trying to convince me to get them out of there right that moment.

After a while they got used to my presence. I could make portraits reflecting deep emotions, like sorrow of being separated, fear of uncertain future; and attitudes, like patience and hope.

What can you read in those eyes?"

Yuriy Ogarkov Barcelona - Berlin - Kiev

"Last year I visited Madagascar where I met sincere hospitality and remarkably open-hearted people. 

Madagascar is a country of children. The vast majority of the population is under 15 years old. 

Despite harsh living conditions, poverty and lack of infrastructure the children maintain curiosity to learn and discover the exciting world around them."