Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival announced that Matagi by Javier Corso has won the 2019 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition. The following is a press release from the Banff Centre.

Corso is a Barcelona based photographer and founder/director at production company OAK stories. He began working as a documentary photographer in 2011, his work published in National Geographic, Al Jazeera, TIME LightBox, and GEO magazine. Corso’s projects have been exhibited at Cervantes Institute New York, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, International PHOTON Festival, and Photo Romania Festival. His documentary work recognized by Prix de la Photographie Paris, Moscow International Foto Awards, and International Photography Awards.

In 2018, Corso was nominated for the World Press Photo 6×6 Global Talent Program and his project Matagi received the National Geographic Society Explorer Grant. Full gallery here.

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Este JUEVES día 6 de septiembre, la obra de 40 fotoperiodistas se expone en Palau Robert. Generalitat de Catalunya bajo el título "Creadores de conciencia". Un proyecto auspiciado por DKV Seguros y coordinada por Chema Conesa y Juan Manuel Castro Prieto, que consta de más de cien fotografías y un libro. Nuestro director, Javier Corso, forma parte de ella con tres fotografías icónicas del reportaje desarrollado en #Colombia con OAK stories bajo el título "Tierra Verde". ¡Nos vemos en la inauguración! Lugar: Palau Robert (Barcelona) Día: Jueves 6 de septiembre de 2018 Hora: 19.00 #OAKstories #Creadoresdeconciencia #ArteriaDKV #exposicion #fotografia #periodismo #palaurobert #fotoperiodismo #documental

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Matagi are traditional hunters living in small villages and settlements in the highlands of northern Honshu, Japan. From their mid 16th century origins, matagi have made a living by selling meat, skins and other products derived from the hunting. Their main prey is the Japanese black bear, a subspecies classified as vulnerable and threatened according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Never hunting for recreational or sporting activities – they only capture what is necessary for regulated sale and self-consumption, or for the purpose of protecting rural and agricultural settlements from wild animals. These communities recognize nature as a conscious presence that sustains them, but expects responsible behavior in return. Following the Fukushima incidents in 2011, the State banned many matagi communities from marketing bear meat because of the high risk of being intoxicated by radiation. Recently this has been lifted, and the matagi have been able to resume what has been their main economic activity for centuries.

In a highly globalized, industrialized and metropolized 21st century Japan, matagi face a likely extinction of their cultural heritage. The global aging of the Japanese population, legal and regulatory limitations on hunting, and attachment to values that no longer resonate among the younger generations – who migrate massively from the rural to the urban environment – are some of the main reasons that leave these hunters without much hope of preserving their legacy.

“The unforgiving, unrepentant compositional style seems to reflect the photographers sense of urgency and conflict in documenting these hunters and their practice. Corso questions us – what do we value – the “vulnerable” species of bear or the endangered cultural tradition? These are delicate questions and in each image Corso has masterfully uncovered different layers of regard to help the viewer probe the territory.”

The 2019 Photo Essay Competition jury members are Ben Tibbetts (UK, adventure photographer, artist, mountain guide), Krystle Wright (AUSTRALIA, adventure sports photographer), and Art Burrows (USA, designer, photographer and adventurer).

The Photo Essay Competition showcases the best in mountain-themed photo essays – to recognize the best stories told through a series of still images. We invited photographers to submit photos to illustrate their mountain related stories whether culture, adventure, wildlife, sport, environment, or natural history.

The jury seeks a sequence of images that conveys a compelling story or message – with each image strong enough to stand on its own while conveying a greater narrative when viewed in the photographer’s desired sequence. The 2019 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition partners are The Camera Store, Nikon, and Osprey.

Javier Corso receives $2,000 in prize money and an opportunity to attend the 2019 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival (Oct. 26 to Nov. 3, 2019).

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Content advisory: some viewers may find the images above disturbing. · We are pleased to announce the winner of our 2019 Mountain Photo Essay Competition: 'Matagi' by @javiercorso. · Matagi are traditional hunters living in the highlands of northern Honshu, Japan. In the context of a highly globalized, industrialized and metropolized Japan, they face a likely extinction of their cultural heritage. Meanwhile, their main prey, the Japanese black bear, is classified as vulnerable and threatened. · "The unforgiving, unrepentant compositional style seems to reflect the photographers sense of urgency and conflict in documenting these hunters and their practice. Corso questions us – what do we value – the 'vulnerable' species of bear or the endangered cultural tradition? These are delicate questions and in each image Corso has masterfully uncovered different layers of regard to help the viewer probe the territory." – 2019 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Jury · Find out more about the Matagi and @javiercorso through the link in our profile. · Thanks to our jury: @krystlejwright, Art Burrows, and @bentibbettsphotography and the supporters of the competition: @thecamerastore, @nikoncanada, and @ospreypacks.

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