Ilan’s lens wins the prize

May 6, 2018 by Arts Editor
Read on for article

New Zealand photographer Ilan Wittenberg has been honoured as the Grand Prize Winner at the 2018 Sony Alpha Awards in Sydney winning the Portrait Category.


The third annual Alpha Awards Photo Competition returned in 2018 to bring together the greatest images from across Australia and New Zealand. The Awards aim to drive creativity, reward professionals and enthusiasts alike and provide a platform to showcase the very best Alpha Photography work. For this year’s competition, photographers submitted their work across seven categories, including; portrait, landscape, macro, sports, editorial, nature and abstract. Wittenberg’s stunning portrait was the winner out of more than 5,000 entries!

“I first saw Alicia’s modelling portfolio on the web back in January and introduced myself as a portrait photographer” says Ilan. “We both agreed to create a portrait that tells a story – a unique photo with timeless qualities – not just another glamour photo. I asked Alicia to come up with ideas which are outside the box and she was really excited about this opportunity. Alicia came up with a few ideas and we collaborated using a Pinterest board. I loved the idea of applying a mask onto her face and extending it to her torso. I found a great guide on YouTube and purchased the material from eBay. Alicia was enjoying the New Zealand summer, camping outdoors so we postponed the photo session until March. I purchased a large sheet of plywood and 20kg of clay, sliced it into thin pieces and spread it onto the plywood. The idea was to create a cracked earth background using drought as the theme. Alicia engaged one of her friends to help in applying the material onto her body. She was drying the paste using a hair dryer when I suggested we take some photos in my studio before it dries up completely – this portrait is the outcome. I love Alicia’s eyes, she looks so fragile and vulnerable” says Wittenberg. “Her beautiful eyes are truly the windows to her soul!”

Alicia’s edgy portrait is presented in monochrome to enhance her shape and form. The simple background eliminates distractions so the viewer can focus on her body language and facial expression. The combination of using a soft, directional light while adapting a special post-processing technique, enables me to enhance her features so the image looks raw.

It’s been said that photography is the easiest medium of Art to be competent in but it’s the hardest medium in which to have a truly personal vision. It’s very much like talking: everyone can talk but very few have something to say. “In creating my portraits I aim to demonstrate a distinctive style, to tell a story while being imaginative and thought-provoking. My goal is to present strong work with a clear narrative sense. I wish to inspire people with images that are crisp and sharp, to be creative and artistic, to evoke emotions and to show a personal vision”. See more of Ilan’s art at:  


Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.