The DNRF Photo Competition 2021

The DNRF Photo Competition 2021

In 2018, the Danish National Research Foundation launched a photo competition to connect the world of research with the public. The competition was a great success, and since then, scientists from the Danish scientific environment have competed for the first, second, and third prizes. Below you can see the winning pictures from 2021. You can also view some of the other fascinating photos submitted to this year’s competition.

Photos have the ability to uncover the world of science in a surprising and inviting way, by revealing its beauty and fascinating appeal. The DNRF would like to share with a broader audience how, each day, scientific discovery advances our knowledge of ourselves and the world we live in. We do this by telling the stories of scientific advances or discoveries with a photo as a visual entry point.

For the third year in a row, the foundation has launched a photo competition based on the potential of photography as documentation and communication of research.

Below, you can see the winning pictures and 10 additional photos submitted for this year’s competition that made a special impression on the panel.

Selection criteria:

  • Degree to which the photo evokes emotions in the observer
  • Degree to which the photo works as a visual entry point to the story behind the specific research result
  • Aesthetic quality of the photo

The panel

  • Christine Buhl Andersen, Chair of the New Carlsberg Foundation
  • Louise Wolthers, Research Manager/Curator at the Hasselblad Foundation
  • Minik Rosing, Professor at GLOBE Institute, vice chair aof the DNRF board and board member at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

1st Prize: Knowledge, Morten Skovdal, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen

The winning photo shows a radio on the ground in front of a building in Zimbabwe.
The winning photo shows a radio on the ground in front of a building in Zimbabwe. Photo: “Knowledge”/Morten Skovdal

The panel’s review: This is an interesting picture that clearly shows that research involves citizens. The local people of Zimbabwe go from being research objects to being active contributors. The easy access to photography means that locals can document their everyday lives and, in this case, how the radio can be used to create knowledge about HIV, or potentially COVID, which can be shared in areas where access to other media does not exist. The image evokes memories of the pioneers of color art photography like Eggleston and is beautiful and evocative without pretension.

Read more about the research behind the photo in an interview with Morten Skovdal here

2nd Prize: THE RACE, Carsten Egevang, researcher at Greenland Institute of Natural Resources

The image was shot in Ilulissat, Greenland in March 2018 during the annual national sled dog race.
The image was shot in Ilulissat, Greenland in March 2018 during the annual national sled dog race. Photo: Carsten Egevang

The panel’s review: This image is immediately captivating, and only on closer inspection does it reveal that the objects are dog sleds on the ice. The motif seems familiar, without your being able to see clearly what it represents: – Are they ducks on a lake? Birds in flight? Or plow furrows in a windswept snowy landscape? The image is extremely well composed and gives an immediate impression of speed across the field. The underlying research project is fascinating in its interdisciplinary breadth.

Read more about the research behind the photo in an interview with Carsten Egevang here

3rd Prize: Perfect Cast, Heide W. Nørgaard, Archaeometallurgist/postdoc researcher, Moesgaard Museum

The image shows the crystallographic structure of a perfectly cast 3000-year-old bronze figure from the Sardinian Nurage culture.
The image shows the crystallographic structure of a perfectly cast 3000-year-old bronze figure from the Sardinian Nurage culture. Photo: Heide Nørgaard

The panel’s review: The image, with its colorful abstract topography, is immediately captivating. It illustrates the professionalism of a bronze caster 3000 years ago and, at the same time, provides a microstructural insight into the materiality of the bronze. It challenges our notion that today’s technological prowess is necessarily higher than that of the past. This project emphasizes that the past can show the way to the solution of today’s problems, but that today’s technology is necessary to understand the past. Past and present thus meet in this photo.

Read more about the research behind the photo in an interview with Heide Nørgaard here

 

 

10 photos selected by the panel

The panel has also highlighted 10 photos, which according to the panel, all made a special impression. See the selected pictures in the gallery below.