For the latest edition of Format Picks, our monthly contest, we asked artists to submit their best self portraiture. We saw hundreds of incredible submissions, with artists interpreting this theme in so many unique ways.
Submissions from Guanyu Xu and Andrew Kalashnikov stood out as the winners. We selected Xu’s portrait as a winner because of its striking detail and personal story. Kalashnikov won the Audience Choice award with the most votes on his self portrait. Both photographers will receive a $250 grant to support their creative work.
Format Picks is an ongoing project in which we ask artists to submit work around a different monthly theme for a chance to win a prize and publication in the magazine. Entry is always free and open to anyone. Last month, Carson Gilliland was our winner, with an enigmatic photo series exploring the color red.
Head here for details on April’s contest theme and how you can submit your work. And be sure to check back throughout the month to vote on the latest entries.
Audience Choice: Andrew Kalashnikov
About the artist:
Andrew Kalashnikov is a Russian-born and Saint Petersburg-based photographer and creative director who specializes in portraiture and fashion. His portfolio includes work for publications such as Rolling Stone Russian edition, Dazed, Teeth, Kaltblut, Vogue Italia, and Women’s Health.
About the work:
“This photo is taken in Murmansk, my hometown (city that Format Magazine covered recently). My family still lives there and I stayed during summer holidays before study. That day in Murmansk was pretty warm and even sunny. I was full of hope as for me new year starts in September (like for most students, I guess). I was listening to Florence and The Machine’s second record that morning. That album is very water-themed, ocean and water in lyrics. In an hour I went out for a walk with a camera.
“This is actually not a waterfall but it looks like it! Also it’s not high at all, just a small creek. This is always a goal: to create more having less. Even if you don’t have a real waterfall in your town, you can always think outside the box and just choose a right angle!”
Format Choice: Guanyu Xu
About the artist:
Currently based in Chicago, Beijing-born Guanyu Xu is an MFA candidate in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Xu has shown work internationally including at the Aperture Foundation, New York; the Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins; New York Photo Festival, New York; and more. His works have been featured in numerous publications including Aint-Bad Magazine, Musée Magazine, Der Greif, and China Photographic Publishing House.
About the work:
“In my project, One Land To Another, I present my personal journey in the United States in a half documentary/half fiction narrative to examine the intersectionality of race, sexuality, and citizenship. Through using gay dating apps, I use photography to portray the act of intimacy with other gay men. The presence of my Asian body disrupts the dominance of queer aesthetics which privilege a narrow, white, “masculine” homonormativity. My confrontation and exploration allow a diverse representation that usually is underrepresented.
“Currently, I have finished shooting in Chicago and Los Angeles. Ultimately, the project will explore different cities in the US and it will offer an alternative representation of gay men that is seldom found in the mainstream.”