This unusual photo contest awards a top prize of $10,000.

photo of a geometric concrete roof

Photography competitions come in all shapes and sizes, but some of the lesser-known ones can be surprisingly generous.

While thousands of entrants compete for recognition in contests like the PHmuseum Photography Grant, or the BJP International Photography Award, you can also win big prizes from lesser-known but unique photo competitions.

One recent example of these latter events is the Concrete of Life 2022 photo competition, which recently awarded $10,000 to one lucky winner for his series of energetic compositions featuring skateboarders in motion.

The photographer, Ferdz Bedana, of the United Arab Emirates, shot his photos at a conceptual skate ramp in his home country and submitted them for consideration.

He was probably surprised when he later found out that he’d won first place and a $10,000 cash prize for his submissions.

photo of skateboarder in skate park

Bedana’s top prize-winning shot

Curiously, the organization behind this oddly named contest is the Global Cement and Concrete Association, or GCCA.

This is all the more surprising because instead of being an entity normally associated with art competitions, it’s an international industry association for concrete and cement manufacturers.

Its 40 or so members basically represent some of the biggest corporate and state-funded names in industrial cement and concrete production

Most people probably wouldn’t expect something like the GCCA to have much to do with the art photography and photo competition world, but it very much does and awards generous prizes.

Eight other category-based winners of the same 2022 competition each received $2,500, and it’s worth noting that these are all cash grants, not gift cards or cash-value merchandise awards.

In fact, the top prize for the GCCA’s competition is well above the average amount for most of the world’s well-known photo contests by major media and photography organizations.

Few of these competitions grant more than $5000 to first-place winners and only a couple come close to $10,000. One very notable exception is the Sony World Photography Award, however, whose 1st place professional photographer prize is a hefty $25,000.

For photographers interested in getting their work out there and having a (slightly less competitive) chance of winning decent prizes, lesser-known events like the Concrete of Life 2022 photo competition are useful opportunities.

The GCCA’s …completely surprising… theme for its 2022 contest was the vital role that concrete plays in the modern world.

All entrant photos had to reflect this in some way across different categories. These included an Urban Concrete amateur category, a Concrete Infrastructure professional category, and the Concrete in Daily Life professional category, among others.

photo of metro station in Dubai

Winner of the Urban Concrete amateur category, Metro Station, Dubai by Joey S. Reginaldo

photo of concrete interior

Winner of the Concrete Beauty and Design amateur category, Contemplation, Mexico, by Mariana Rios

As Thomas Guillot, CEO of the GCCA stressed, “Concrete is the second most used substance on Earth after water and plays a vital part in modern infrastructure and society,”

He further elaborated on the GCCA’s motives, “Through the work of the GCCA and our members, to implement our 2050 Net Zero Roadmap, we are working hard and making progress in reducing its environmental impact. These amazing photos capture the appeal of concrete design and the essential role it plays in modern life and communities everywhere.”

photo of highway interchange in China

Winner of the Concrete Infrastructure professional category, Interchange, Guangzhou, China, by Chek Poh Wong

Bedana, the overall winner of the contest later mentioned, “It’s a great honor to be the overall winner of the Concrete in Life 2022 competition and spread the story of how concrete is a big contribution in our life,”

His original aim for the photo seems to have been a bit more mundane though, “I was interested to take a photo of this skatepark when I saw a boy enjoying playing in a substantially artistic concrete design.”

Whether he was specifically seeking photos of concrete structures for this competition or whether he later struck upon a happy combination of shots he liked and a competition that neatly fit them remains unclear.

Either way, Bedana’s image is worth a look and so are the impressive and often lovely other winning shots that garnered prizes for this year’s GCCA awards.

The Global Concrete and Cement Association will be holding another competition again next year and can be contacted for details through its site.

If you’re interested, now’s a good time to start looking more closely at the hard grey designs dotting your own surroundings.

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Shotkit Journalist, Writer & Reviewer

Stephan Jukic is a technology and photography journalist and experimental photographer who spends his time living in both Canada and Mexico. He loves cross-cultural street photo exploration and creating fine art photo compositions.

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