Striking photo of tribal warriors wins 2022 International Portrait Photographer of the Year award

International Portrait Photographer of the Year announced its 2022 winners. The overall prize was awarded to Jatenipat Ketpradit from Thailand. Its striking image shows warriors from a remote Ethiopian tribe.

Personally, I find portrait photography to be one of the most challenging genres. But at the same time, as a viewer, I find it to be one of my favorites. So whether you’re looking for inspiration for your own work or just love looking at great portrait photos, let’s take a look at this year’s winners of the International Portrait Photographer of the Year.

This year’s winner has been a professional photographer for ten years, but he is also the CEO of an interior design company in Thailand. Talking about his winning photo, he explained that it’s important to get to know your role models and relax them around you. This, in my opinion, is the hardest part as I’m a little clumsy. But apparently Jatenipat knows exactly how to approach his subject.

“I always stay with the tribal people at least a week per tribe,” he says. “I spend the first 2-3 days finding the location and direction of the sunlight. Then choose the subject based on their character, outfits and history.

He returns to visit certain tribes every year, and they have become like a family. In the winning image, you can see three members of the Suri tribe. “The Suri tribe is one of the hardest to reach in Ethiopia,” says the photographer. “They live on a high mountain that is difficult to approach from the outside world.”

“If you visit here, you must follow their rules and regulations by giving them gifts. This will inspire confidence in new visitors. They are still suspicious at first, but once accepted and convinced that you are not a threat, they will kiss you to show their appreciation.

Throughout his journey, the photographer often encounters tribal warriors carrying weapons. The weapons are said to come from Cold War-era arms smugglers, tribal battles, and even when Ethiopia was ruled by the Italian Axis during World War II.

“The introduction of firearms has generated a multitude of problems for the tribes”, explains the photographer. “They had been through the confusion of traditional life and the changing times for the past 20 years, as weapons are high technology which opposes their culture and customs.” And in the picture you can see the conflict between old and new, between war and peace, between two different aspects of life.

For her image, Jatenipat won the top prize of US$3,000. Each category winner took home $1,000, with second and third place taking home $500 and $250, respectively. Take a look at the category winners and runners-up and be sure to learn more about the competition on its website.

International Portrait Photographer of the Year

character study

Portrait History


family session

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