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Hasselblad Masters Awards 2016: Project//21 Category Winner Jake Reeder

2016-02-18 ‘I took one picture before he shook my hand and disappeared’

The mission of the Hasselblad Masters Project//21 Category is to encourage the next generation of photographers, and its open format has encouraged some extraordinary imagery over the years.

hasselblad_masters_2016_jake_reederWinning entry in the Project//21 category photographed by Hasselblad Master Jake Reeder 

When Melbourne-based photographer Jake Reeder missed the live call telling him he’d won the category the voicemail he later picked up was so unexpected he assumed it must have been a courtesy message to tell him he’d missed out. “There were so many other amazing shots in my category I couldn’t believe that my picture would be the one that was picked,” he says. “But then I checked my emails and there it was: I almost fainted!”

Jake, who turned 20 last December, has always been obsessed with photography. He doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t fiddling with a camera. “I had been convinced there was no way I could make a living out of being a photographer,” he says. “And then right at the last moment I changed all my university preferences and photography replaced everything else. “This decision was spurred partially through meeting photographers and it slowly dawning on me that I could do what I loved for the rest of my life. I haven’t looked back since and graduated from university late last year with my BA (Photography).”

Having spent five years living in Papua New Guinea Jake feels a strong connection to the land and its culture, He took his winning picture there after deciding to head back to shoot a personal project that he hoped would present a positive image of the country. “The representation of PNG as a dangerous, lawless and brutal place has always frustrated me,” he says. “The side I saw was one of kindness, dignity and community.

“I took the fisherman image on the first day of the two weeks I was there. I was staying at a family friend’s place, and one of them kindly offered to be my assistant for the day. We ended up on a gorgeous beach, and while I was taking a child’s portrait I spotted a group in the distance, in the water.

After explaining quickly what we wanted to do a few of us waded out, one person carrying the battery pack, another with my light and myself with my Hasselblad!

“The fisherman was out with his family, and had just caught something. He was on his way back and let me take just one photo of him, before shaking hands and disappearing – it was almost ethereal. I didn’t realise what I had until I got back to base and saw it pop up on the computer.”

Facebook: Jake Reeder

Instagram: @jakereederphoto


See all the winning entries in Hasselblad Masters 2016 here

The ten winners will be tasked to create a new and unique set of images, using a Hasselblad Medium Format camera, embracing the theme ‘Inspire’ (coinciding with Hasselblad’s 75th anniversary) for the latest edition of the Hasselblad Masters Book. The Winners will receive their trophy and their own Hasselblad camera to keep at a special photokina 2016 ceremony in Cologne this September.

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