boys carrying another boy
press overview

Felipe Romero Beltrán (CO) wins Foam Paul Huf Award 2023

“Romero Beltrán relies on a strong, almost cinematic framing and the tension between the bodies in dialogue.”

The 17th Foam Paul Huf Award goes to Felipe Romero Beltrán (1992, CO). Earlier this week, a jury of five industry specialists chose this year’s winner from a selection of more than 100 nominees from around 30 countries, selected by 26 nominators worldwide. Romero Beltrán is the first South American photographer to win the prize. He was nominated by independent curator and cultural researcher Maria Ptqk and Getxophoto Festival founders and directors Jokin Aspuru and Lucia Janto.

Press release | Amsterdam, March 2023

The jury report states: “The jury was captivated by Felipe Romero Beltrán's work because of its incisive social critique and its very moving account on the expressive potential of the human body. Romero Beltrán works on long-term projects that often spring from political tensions over borders and migration and return to the individual living body and its control. His work is intelligent, carefully considered, captivating, and wishing to investigate the boundaries of documentary photographic approach. For example, in his Dialect series, Romero Beltrán works with young people who have illegally crossed the maritime border between Morocco and Spain and are waiting for their migratory status to be resolved in Seville. The photographs are explorations of these young people's experiences, in which the body engages in dialogue with their memories and the time spent waiting in the migratory centre. Romero Beltrán relies on a strong, almost cinematic framing and the tension between the bodies in dialogue. He has an impressive ability to use unpretentious gestures of the body to highlight arbitrary societal control and social inequity. The jury believes Romero Beltran's works do not leave the viewer unaffected.”

Romero Beltrán’s reaction:

“I've always been consciously or unconsciously disturbed by the relation (and tension) between the body and the language that tries to categorise it. This has been a central axis of my work: sometimes that language translates into a political bureaucracy, and other times into body subjugation. But the image, non-verbal, primitive, precedes all of it. The chance to keep reflecting on those subjects through the award comes at a key time where I’m finishing my PhD dissertation and trying to put together some thoughts around the photographic image.”

The Prize

Felipe Romero Beltrán will receive a cash prize of €20,000 and a solo exhibition at Foam. He will see his name added to an impressive list of alumni. Last year the South African artist Lebohang Kganye (1990) won the Foam Paul Huf Award. Her solo exhibition Haufi Nyana? I’ve come to take you home is currently on show at Foam and can be seen until 21 May 2023.

boys carrying another boy

Dialect, 2020

© Felipe Romero Beltrán.

person washing feet

Bravo, 2021

© Felipe Romero Beltrán.

Woman looking serious into the sky on a beach

Bravo, 2021

© Felipe Romero Beltrán.

Young boys out on the streets. One boy is grooming in a mirror, while the other boy holds the mirror and looks serious into the camera.

Dialect, 2020

© Felipe Romero Beltrán.

Black and white image of a Spanish looking street. No people are visible.

Warning zone, from the series Reducción, 2019

© Felipe Romero Beltrán.

Jury of 2023

The jury for 2023 consisted of the following members: Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger (jury chair) is director of the Finnish Museum of Photography and also founder and artistic director of The Festival of Political Photography. John Fleetwood is a curator, co-head of BA Photography at the KABK and director of Photo: in South Africa, a multifunctional platform for the development and promotion of socially engaged photography. Sunil Gupta is a successful artist and co-founder of the Autograph Association, an association dedicated to raising awareness of issues of race, human rights and social justice. Ashleigh Kane is Arts & Photography Editor at Dazed Magazine and has years of experience in talent discovery and mentoring. João Linneu is a designer, art director and co-founder of Void Photo Publishing House which specialises in photography books and education.

About Felipe Romero Beltrán

The Colombian artist Felipe Romero Beltrán earned a scholarship in Argentina in 2010 and moved to Buenos Aires to study Photography. He developed an interest in documentary photography and travelled abroad many times for his projects. In 2016, he moved to Madrid, Spain, where he earned a MFA degree in photography and is currently preparing a Phd dissertation on documentary photography at Complutense University of Madrid. Felipe has recently been awarded in different international competitions: Aperture Portfolio Prize (2022 -USA), Die Biennale fur Aktuelle Fotografie (2022-DE), Joop Swart Masterclass (2020-NL), GetxoPhoto Award (2020), Photobook Madrid Prize (2020-SP), LumixFestival (2020-DE), New York Times Portfolio Review (2019-USA), Photoespaña HACER (2019-SP), Tabacalera Cantera (2019-SP) and ARTBO Colombia (2019-COL).

Shortlist nominees and nominators

Farah Al Qasimi - nominated by Kathrin Schönegg (Co-head of program/curator of Photography at C/O Berlin), Myriam Boulos - nominated by Zied Ben Romdhane (Magnum Nominee), Lisa Bukreyeva - nominated by Kateryna Radchenko (Ukrainian curator and director of Odessa Photo Days Festival), Federico Clavarino - nominated by Tommaso Parrillo (founder of Witty Books publisher), Anna Ehrenstein - nominated by Barbara Gregov (writer, researcher and curator for the Organ Vida Festival), Odette England - nominated by Daniel Boetker-Smith (Director at the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne and director Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive), Bérangère Fromont - nominated by Laura Lafon (Art Director of Photography at Gaze Magazine), Sasha Kurmaz - nominated by Emma Bowkett (Director of Photography at the Financial Times FT Weekend Magazine), Anouk Kruithof - nominated by Iris Sikking (Curator of Photography bij Fotomuseum Den Haag), Sarker Protick - nominated by Tanzim Wahab (Curator of Chobi Mela Photography Festival), Felipe Romero Beltrán - nominated by Maria Ptqk (independent curator and cultural researcher) and Jokin Aspuru and Lucia Janto (Getxophoto Festival founders and directors), Fethi Sahraoui - nominated by Zied Ben Romdhane (Magnum Nominee), Donavon Smallwood - nominated by Emma Bowkett (Director of Photography at the Financial Times FT Weekend Magazine), Elena Subach - nominated by Kateryna Radchenko (Ukrainian curator and director of Odessa Photo Days Festival) and Diana Tamane - nominated by Adam Mazur (writer, curator and assistant professor at the Department of Photography of the University of Arts in Poznan).

Other nominators

Denise Camargo (curator, visual artist and teacher at Brasilia University), Alfonse Chiu (writer, artist, curator, and Founder/Director of the Centre for Urban Mythologies), Irina Chmyreva (photography historian and curator, co-founder of the PhotoVisa Festival), Tim Clark (Editor-in-Chief at 1000 Words Magazine and Artistic Director of Fotografia Europea), Aldeide Delgado (independent Latinx curator, founder and director of the nonprofit organization Women Photographers International Archive), Santiago Escobar Jaramillo (photographer and founder of Raya Editorial Publisher), César González Aguirre (independent curator and founder of the Trans Memory Archive), Yumi Goto (independent curator, editor, researcher, consultant, educator and publisher), Matthew Leifheit (photographer, editor and professor in New York), Hercules Papaioannou (writer, researcher, curator at MOMus-Thessaloniki Museum of Photography), Verónica Sanchis (founder of Foto Féminas Latin America and Caribbean women photographers), Nayan Tara Gurung (director Photo Kathmandu Festival) and He Yining (writer, researcher and curator).

Previous winners

2022 – Lebohang Kganye (1990, South Africa), 2021 – John Edmonds (1989, United States), 2020 – Laia Abril (1986, Spain), 2019 – Eric Gyamfi (1990, Ghana), 2018 – Daniel Shea (1985, United States), 2017 – Romain Mader (1988, Switzerland), 2016 – Daisuke Yokota (1983, Japan), 2015 – Momo Okabe (1981, Japan), 2014 – Daniel Gordon (1980, United States), 2013 – Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs (1979, Switzerland), 2012 – Alex Prager (1979, United States), 2011 – Raphaël Dallaporta (1980, France), 2010 – Alexander Gronsky (1980, Estonia), 2009 – Leonie Hampton (1978, United Kingdom), 2008 – Pieter Hugo (1976, South Africa), 2007 – Taryn Simon (1975, United States) and Mikhael Subotzky (1981, South Africa).

Paul Huf

The Dutch photographer Paul Huf (1924-2002) was known for his innovative photographic technique and was an important ambassador for the establishment of Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam in 2001. To honour this special relationship, the Foam Paul Huf Award was created in order to stimulate and support photographers on a global scale. Foam has presented the annual award since 2007, and the winner is chosen by an independent, international jury.

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The Foam Paul Huf Award is made possible by the generous support from Mentha.

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