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Joe Smith wins 'Cultures on my street' competition
By MaltaMedia News
Sep 25, 2008 - 4:58:44 PM

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Maltese Photographer Joseph Smith has been declared the winner of “Cultures on my street” by European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Jan Figel.

The competition was organised by the European Commission as part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008. More than 2,000 entries were received in response to the invitation to portray the theme of intercultural dialogue. 

The competition, launched last March, invited everyone with a camera and a sense of curiosity to submit their own vision of cultures meeting and mixing in their neighbourhood. It encouraged all EU residents to express their own view of what intercultural dialogue means in their daily life, under the generous title “Cultures on my street”.

The four best entries and a shortlist of runners-up were revealed today at the award ceremony, taking place in the Berlaymont building in the European Commission's headquarters in Brussels. “The high level of interest from across Europe shows that this competition captured the imagination of European residents” said Commissioner Figel’ on the eve of the award ceremony. “The many different approaches the entrants took to portraying intercultural dialogue underlined both the rich cultural diversity of Europe, and the strong common values that unite it.”

Three of the winning entries were selected by a professional jury and were judged for their creativity and originality in portraying the concept of "intercultural dialogue", as well as technical merit, wide appeal and eye-catching quality. A fourth prize winner was chosen as the Public’s Favourite through online voting by the European public. All the winners receive professional photographic equipment and travel grants to European capitals, with a total value of €15,000. 

First prize went to Joseph Smith from Malta, for his image “Village cobbler”. A jumble of shoes, tools, religious ornaments and Elvis posters provides the crowded setting for a tradesman and the locals who often meet in his workshop. “Freddy's shop is a meeting place for friends, locals and even the occasional tourist! I was intrigued by this man's 'cultural' vision: the juxtaposition of religious icons next to those of pop stars”, says Smith.

According to Professor Chris Wainright, the UK photographer and academic, and chairman of the jury, “intimacy, multi layering of meaning and elegant mood and composition” were what convinced the jury of the merit of this picture.

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  Latest update:
  Sep 26, 2008 - 9:14:59 AM CET