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  • The Artist Gallery Team

Behind the Portraits: Unmasking the Stories of Our Exceptional Photo Contest Winners

Join us as we unmask the stories behind these exceptional photographers and their winning portraits. From the inspiration that sparked the shot to the challenges overcome, get ready to be moved, inspired, and immersed in the artistry that defines our portrait contest winners.

Simona Poncia


Simona Poncia approches photography after seeing an exhibition in Florence, entitled “Robert Mapplethorpe: perfection in form”. In the exhibition the american artist's photographs were placed side by side in comparison with Michelangelo's “David” and “The four prisons”. This event fed her passion for this art, motivating so her black and white style. Her photographs are timeless.

She is able to highlight the essential and purity of everything, giving sacredness to the portrayed image by means of rarefied atmospheres. Immersed in the mysterious nature or overwhelmed by the chaos of the city, the silence is what she is looking for, as well as an intimate contact with the world around her.

Her favourite subjets are dreamlike landscape, street, portraits, but also architectonic

constructions or museum interiors, these being the heritage of her art studies.

Photography is her personal language, the one that allows her to tell her inner world

without resorting to words. Most of her photos can be seen on her instagram page.



My first job out of college was as an image scientist in the visual effects industry at Cinesite, a subsidiary of Kodak.  They had a film scanner and I learned about the technical aspects of digital image manipulation.  I wrote an algorithm to upscale images from 2K to 4K.  This was limited by the obvious restriction that you cannot upscale an image too much because you quickly run out of information (data) and the image becomes soft.

But recently that has changed because of generative AI, which can simply manufacture new data from nothing.  It is an exciting and frightening time to be a photographer.

My photography work centers around the local theater, which is just a few blocks from my apartment.  The theater needed pictures to advertise their shows and I volunteered.  I have been doing their publicity materials for 10 years.  Each picture needs to stand out, because we want people to come see the shows.

The photograph that won second place is from a show about student loans.  The writer/actress was protesting the cost of higher education.  In the image the books are locked out of reach because she cannot pay back her student loans.

Above all I like to take pictures that are needed by others.  Pictures are like leaves in the fall, there are too many beautiful pictures to count and, in the end, many are swept away.  It is my hope that the images I create will be used by others to accomplish their own artistic goals. You can see more about my work here!



I am Syed Mahabubul Kader. Born in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. My journey as a photographer started in 2012. Before that, I took photos as a hobby with film camera and mobile phone. The love for photography started with taking pictures as a hobby. Seeing the wonderful works of photographers from home and abroad in various photo exhibitions and my strong desire to take pictures inspired me to work as a photographer. Currently I am working as a freelance photographer with various photo agencies.

Dhaka is the most densely populated city in the world. Something is happening every moment in this city. My journey into the world of photography began with capturing thousands of people and their life stories, cultures and traditions on camera. Dhaka is called the photographer's paradise. In 2010 I bought my first point and shoot camera. I won first place in a photography competition with this camera and received my first DSLR camera as a prize. This success inspired me to think big about photography.

My favorite genre is photojournalism. But I also feel comfortable in travel and street photography. I love to capture the candid moments of people's everyday lives.

I want to travel a lot in the coming years. Want to see and work with new places, new environments, people and cultures. Want to learn from them and work to improve my skills. As a freelance photojournalist looking to expand my editorial coverage globally for publications. So far, my photos have been published in at least 400 newspapers in 25 countries. I want to increase it more in the coming days. I have received awards in over 50 photography competitions nationally and internationally. I will work on making it richer.

Photography is the way I see different vistas of life. Be it joy, sorrow, happiness or struggle, I always share the different facets of emotions through my lens. Camera has become an extension of my mind.

I am a very emotional person. As I am mainly a photojournalist, my models are very rarely trained professionals. Rather I shoot common people & being very in nature, their joys, sorrows, struggle touches me very much. And whatever emotions I see through my viewfinder, I try to show the world that particular feeling through my photos. Be it grief or joy, my pictures depict raw emotion. I very rarely go in the field with a preconceived mindset. Rather my subjects affect my thinking.

You can know more about me on my Instagram profile!!


As we conclude this special edition, we hope you've enjoyed the intimate journey "Behind the Portraits." The stories shared by our talented photographers not only breathe life into their captivating images but also offer a glimpse into the passion and dedication that fuels their craft.

If you felt inspired by these stories, take a look to our OPEN CONTESTS! Your story could be told here sooner than you think!

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Jan 26
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Congratulations to all of you!!! I saw your photos, well done!

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