International Filter Photo Contest 2023 winners announcement

Jan 23, 2024

Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd. would like to thank you all for the tremendous response to the International Filter Photo Contest 2023 (held 1st, August to 31,October 2023). We received many works from all over the world and after careful consideration, have selected 38 entries for prizes.

We hope that these selected amazing works will become a source of inspiration and allow you to realize the artistic power of photographic filters in a new light.

The winners of the International Filter Photo Contest 2023 are announced here.

Sponsor: Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd.
Partner companies: Slik Corporation, Kenko Professional Imaging Co., Ltd., Cokin KT s.a.s.u., Formatt Hitech Ltd.

Grand prize

Title: Rolling large straw bags
Winner: Gensho Kato (Japan)
Filter: ND

Author's comment

The single-point focus and 3D tracking functions were used to intentionally shift the focus point, and the ND filter was combined with a slow shutter effect to create a streamlined shot that expresses the dynamism of the spinning bales.

Jury's comment

Daisuke Kumakiri:

The expression of dynamism using filters is quite challenging. When capturing motion, such as light trails or water, with a slow shutter speed, it's common to sharply capture the still parts to create contrast. In this piece, by using an ND filter to lower the shutter speed, the photographer has managed to capture the dynamic rotation while panning the image of pulling a large straw bag. It's a complex expression that successfully utilizes blur to create a powerful and compelling artwork.

Tatsuo Hata:

It seems to depict a festival involving the rolling of giant straw bags, and the idea to express this scene through a slow shutter effect using an ND filter was a great touch. The control of focus and color development played a significant role, resulting in a truly unique representation. This piece succeeds in piquing the viewer's curiosity, making them think 'Oh, what's this?' I believe it's a work that skillfully leverages the characteristics of the filter to capture and enhance the inherent energy of the subject.

Jury Special Prize: Daisuke Kumakiri (Japan)

Title: Near future city
Winner: Sayo Miyaguchi (Japan)
Filter: ND

Author's comment

Long time exposure of a car light looks like scissors, so I used a filter for making this effect.

Jury's comment

Daisuke Kumakiri:

The title is 'Near-Future City,' but the actual scene of Shinjuku depicted is undergoing aging and a rush of rebuilding. Documenting such changes of time is also an important role of photography. Using an ND filter for a slow shutter speed transforms these cityscapes, making them appear as futuristic cities. Not only are the light trails of the cars beautiful, but the lights of the buildings and the expressions of the sky are also attractive, capturing various facets of light.

Jury Special Prize: Tatsuo Hata (Japan)

Title: End of summer
Winner: Naoki Okada (Japan)
Filter: Kaleidoscope prism lens filter

Author's comment

I wanted to make this person's smile even more powerful, so I tried using a Kaleidoscope prism lens filter.

Jury's comment

Tatsuo Hata:

The characteristic depiction of multiple overlapping images creates a unique atmosphere, reminiscent of observing a thousand-armed Kannon. This artwork suggests, 'Could there be some divine blessing?' and caught my attention – and indeed, there was a sense of divine favor. Beyond the filter effects, what makes this piece stand out is the captivating expression of the woman in the photograph. In my opinion, the true value of a photograph lies in the subject's expression. This artwork skillfully combines a compelling subject with effective filter effects.

Jury Special Prize: Christophe Anagnostopoulos (Europe)

Title: Mountain high peak
Winner: Chen Jingwen (China)
Filter: ND

Author's comment

By lengthening the exposure time using an ND filter, it gives the impression that clouds are passing by.

Jury's comment

Christophe Anagnostopoulos:

Judging a global photo competition is an exciting but also demanding task, as a very large number of amazing photos have to be evaluated and then the best ones must be carefully selected based on the small details that make the difference.When I saw this photo, I instantly knew it was my favorite amongst this year’s wonderful entries. It is a dramatic and powerful photo, with only the necessary elements fitting the square frame, to show the power of landscape and how small a human is in the vastness of nature.With the use of a neutral density (ND) filter the photographer added an extra fine detail in the overall image, making it look more like a painting, as he managed to capture in-camera the movement of the passing clouds over the 60 seconds of the exposure.The distance between the camera and the model was such that not only created this impressive scale between elements, but also helped to avoid capturing any movements of the model during the long exposure.

Jury Special Prize: Stan Moniz (USA)

Title: Rainbow shower
Winner: Satoshi Kishimoto (Japan)
Filter: PL + ND

Author's comment

The waterfall in the morning sunlight was achieved with an ND filter for a moderately long second. In addition, a slight effect of PL filter was used to emphasize the rainbow.

Jury's comment

Stan Moniz:

Photography involving water and light often captures mesmerizing scenes. The interplay here in this photograph of reflections, the rainbow, and the way light interacts with the rocks created a stunning visual that pulled me instantly.
It's a photo that can bring peace and harmony to anyone having a busy day. I can see this photo hanging on the wall somewhere for everyone to enjoy.

Jury Special Prize: Xie Mo (China)

Title: Underneath the wall of Yugai Gorge
Winner: Zhui Yi (China)
Filter: CC

Author's comment

It was shot four times using CC filters: yellow, magenta, and cyan (one of which did not use any filter) and synthesized in post.

Jury's comment

Xie Mo:

The photographer has transformed an ordinary volcanic lava coast into something dreamlike, thanks to their creativity and the use of filters. This style of photography, once popular in Japan during the era of film photography, seemed to have vanished in the digital age. Seeing it re-emerge now is truly eye-catching and stunningly beautiful!

Kenko Tokina Special Prize

Title: Spring sisters
Winner: Yuji Maeda (Japan)
Filter: SOFT

Author's comment

I went to canola flower fields with my daughters. These are canola flower and sisters illuminated by the setting sun.

Jury's comment

The 'Black Mist Filter' which has been highly acclaimed in recent years, has a key point when using it: including a light source can enhance its effectiveness. This photo skillfully captures the effect of the 'Black Mist No.05' by incorporating the setting sun through the clouds. The image of the sisters in the rapeseed field is delightful, and for these reasons, it has been selected for the Kenko Tokina Special Prize.

Follow the link to access complete results and enjoy all the winners' works.

About Kenko

Kenko is part of Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd. - leading optical manufacturer and trade company specializing in manufacturing and sales of Kenko brand photo accessories like photographic filters, conversion lenses, extension tube sets, mount adapters, binoculars and other products that make one's lifestyle more exciting.

Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd. | International Division