Minimalist Photography Awards has just announced the winners of its 2022 contest. For the fourth year in a row, the competition celebrates the beauty of simplicity. And this year, the overall winner is Daniel Dencescu from Germany with his mesmerizing series showing murmurations of starlings.
If you’ve ever watched murmurations, you know that it’s an absolutely magical experience. Watching a huge flock of starlings change its shape and form as if the birds are dancing simply makes you stop and stare in awe. With his series Forms of murmurations, Daniel wanted to preserve a piece of this experience. He spent more than 200 hours in the field chasing and photographing the starlings, and I’d say it was well worth it. Daniel’s ethereal collection also brought him the winning title of the Abstract category.
“The term “murmuration” comes from the fact that thousands of wings flapping at once give a murmur-like sound. Grouping together offers safety in numbers – predators such as peregrine falcons find it hard to target one in the middle of a hypnotizing flock of thousands. The starlings also gather to keep warm at night and to exchange information, such as good feeding areas. I always search where their roosting site could be, this is where they perform their wheeling stunts before they roost for the night.
There is no leader in a murmuration, the flock behaves as one single entity. To stay united through the different escape patterns, each bird tracks and mimics the behavior of seven neighbors. The group can adapt quickly by focusing on a fixed number of birds, becoming dense or sparse, splitting, and changing shape. Starling murmurations occur mostly at dusk when the birds gather together for the night. With these series, I want to reveal the hidden beauty of common things shown from an unusual perspective of elegant dance.”
More than 3400 photographs from 43 different countries submitted their work to the fourth annual contest. But Daniel won the title of Minimalist photographer of the year 2022, followed up by a $2,000 prize.
Minimalist Photography Awards is a non-profit association, powered by Black & White Minimalism Magazine and founded by Milad Safabakhsh. The aim of the contest is to recognize, reward and expose talented photographers all around the world and introduce them to the professional photography industry. Other than the overall winner, the Minimalist Photography Awards included 12 categories, recognizing winners and runner-ups in each of them. Take a look at the category winners below, and make sure to visit the contest’s website for more information.