Theme: The Human Condition

On the occasion of the much-anticipated launch of the Tokyo International Photography Festival, and its focus on the future – we have selected a fitting theme for the third edition of the Tokyo International Photography Competition: The Human Condition.

What does it mean to be human? For Sartre, it meant freedom and responsibility – the freedom to choose, the responsibility to act and define one’s place in life. Irvin Yalom gave us the four “givens” of existence: meaning, loneliness, freedom, and mortality.

The Human Condition is our eternal search for purpose, but also our capacity for good – and evil. It is kinship, honor, our thirst for knowledge, the pursuit of happiness – but just as often it is the harbinger of pain, death, betrayal, war, the deception of ourselves and of others.

At a time of increased uncertainty and tension on both the inter-personal and global stages, photography’s role in helping us negotiate our daily existence has never been stronger. For our third edition, we ask you to share with us an unflinching view of what it means to be human.

2015 Featured Photographers

We are pleased to announce the featured photographers that were selected by our jury for the 2015 exhibition of the Tokyo International Photography Competition:

GRAND PRIX WINNER: Christian Vium – The Wake

Featured Photographers:

Arnau BachCapital
Laurence RastiThere are No Homosexuals in Iran
Laurent ChehereFlying Houses
Irina KalashnikovaNorth Korea. Bearable darkness
John CazenaveGalerna
Daesung LeeOn the Shore of a Vanishing Island
Dougie WallaceGlasgow: Second City of the Empire

This traveling group exhibition will be presented in the following cities:


Meet the 2015 Jury

Roger Ballen

Photographer (S. Africa)

RongRong & inri

Co-Founders, Three Shadow Photography Center (China & Japan)

Shihoko Iida

Curator / Associate Professor, Department of Inter-Media Art, Faculty of Fine Art, Tokyo University of the Arts (Japan)

Alvaro Matias

General Manager – Publishing House, Projects and Communication, La Fabrica (Spain)

Felix Hoffmann

Head Curator, C/O Berlin (Germany)

Peggy Sue Amison

Artistic Director, West Wing Gallery (Dubai)

James Estrin

Photo Editor, Lens Blog, New York Times (USA)

JJ Estrada & Clara de Tezanos

Directors, GuatePhoto Festival (Guatemala)

Claudi Carreras

Curator, Estudio Madalena / Paraty Em Foco (Brazil)

Rei Masuda

Curator, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (Japan)

Hester Keijser

Associate curator, Noorderlicht Foundation (The Netherlands)

Sarah Leen

Senior Photo Editor, National Geographic Magazine (USA)

John Fleetwood

Director, Market Photo Workshop (S. Africa)

Moshe Rosenzveig

Director, Head On Photo Festival (Australia)

About the Competition

There are numerous competitions whose aim is to discover new photographic talent from around the globe, but many of these opportunities are often beyond the reach of those who do not speak a certain language or have a deep understanding of a particular culture. This has often been the case for Japanese photographers trying to enter foreign markets and for foreigners wanting to present and exhibit their work in Japan.

Since its inception, the goal of the Tokyo International Photography Competition (TIPC) has been to create a series of cultural and geographical bridges between some the world’s largest photographic communities. And over these past 3 years, we have seen our dream take shape, connections flourish, new initiatives born, and we are truly excited by all that lies ahead.

The launch of TIPC was the first step of a three-year journey that will soon reach a new milestone with the inauguration of the 1st edition of the Tokyo International Photography Festival this October, presented by the Tokyo Institute of Photography, in cooperation with United Photo Industries of Brooklyn, NY.