Open Competition First Prize Winner

Holly Lynton lives and works in Western Massachusetts, USA. She received a BA in Psychology from Yale University and an MFA in Photography from Bard College. Lynton says of the Massachusetts' farm country: "Five years ago, I left New York City for New England farm country to embrace its ethos of sustainability and local farming. Through my photography, I have sought to understand what is at the crux of people's desire to live this way. My photographs are created in rural communities struggling to maintain their agrarian traditions and natural resources despite the challenges of globalisation, competing technology, agribusiness, and even weather."

In her series Bare Handed Lynton aims to depict the delicate balance between dominance and surrender. "While making my photographs, I discovered that these individuals have a spiritual commitment to their work that goes beyond the rational and points to the power of faith." Lynton seeks to celebrate that spiritual conviction and her subjects' resistance to the trend towards mechanisation. She attempts to capture the many mythical and religious references occurring naturally and spontaneously in these communities, "with just a tilt of her head, the teenage girl in Sienna, Turkey Madonna, is transformed into a rendition of the Virgin Mary."

Lynton's photography has been exhibited nationally and internationally with solo exhibitions in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. In 2011, her work was selected for several exhibitions that explored issues of sustainability: Hive Culture: Captivated by the Honeybee at Wave Hill in New York; Outlands: Land Over Time at Jennifer Schwartz Gallery in Atlanta, and Greenhouse at Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Miami. Recent awards include: Honorable Mention in the Daylight Magazine Photography Awards (2010), SOS Guilds Artist Grant (2011) and Artist Resource Trust Grant (2011) and a nomination for the Prix Pictet (2012).

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