/ 2020 / Portraiture / Personality

Past, Present, Future

  • Prize
    Bronze in Portraiture/Personality
  • Photographer
    Mirja Maria Thiel

This image, made in January 2017, is part of my long-form documentary Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man about Fritz Dressler (1937-2020), a German landscape and travel photographer and former Professor of Photography who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease during the last years of his life. Fritz was an intense, creative, headstrong man whose identity resisted the illness.
Walking with him in the midst of the magical lowlands of the Hamme river near his home, his solitary figure with the impressive ushanka spoke of his vulnerability as well as of his resilience.

Mirja Maria Thiel, born in Hamburg in 1971, is a journalistic documentary photographer with a background in literature (1999, Master of Arts). From 2014 until 2019 she studied "Photojournalism and Documentary Photography" in Hanover. Mirja’s documentary narratives develope around memory and identity while exploring different aspects and personal stories of Alzheimer’s disease, and underrepresented issues of high age like the life-affirming power of sexuality and eroticism. She lives with her husband and their three children close to Bremen, Germany.

2020 Critical Mass (Photolucida, USA) Top 50 Photographer
2020 Winner (single) Portrait Of Humanity BJP/1854
2020 Shortlist Wellcome Photography Award (Mental Health/series
2020 Finalist Portraits - Hellerau Photography Award
2019 "Remarkable Artwork" (storyboard) Siena International Photo Awards
2019 Nominee Felix Schoeller Photo Award: (Best Work by an Emerging Photographer)
2019 Finalist Hahnemühle’s International Student Photo Competition
2019 Bronze Moscow International Foto Awards: Editorial-Photo Essay
2018 Silver Tokyo International Foto Awards: Portfolio-Personal
2018 Finalist: Student Award (World Report Award)
2018 Honorable Mention: IPA International Photography Award