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2021 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition Winner Announced

By Jess Elliott Posted on July 05, 2021

BANFF, AB, July 5, 2021 – Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival is pleased to announce Monlam by David Marciano – winner of the 2021 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition (view full essay here).

Italian photographer Marciano began to take an interest in photography in the early 90s, when before leaving for a volunteer experience in India, he bought his first reflex camera. Since then travel, solidarity, and photography have gone hand in hand. Marciano’s subjects always revolve around the human sphere – dedicating himself to portraiture, street photography and above all to storytelling – focusing his interest in telling stories that are part of the culture, customs, and religious aspect of the countries he visits. Since 2012, he has been traveling through the Tibetan areas of the Himalaya, interested in the religious rites of Buddhism and nomadic lifestyle.

Monlam or the great prayer festival is the most important religious festival for many Tibetans. Established by Lama Tsongkapa in 1409 – every year monks and pilgrims flock to monasteries across Tibet to pray for good fortune and to perform religious rituals including dances and large processions. The most important day is unveiling the Buddha”, says Marciano, “where monks and pilgrims carry a large cloth Buddha painting (Tangkha) on their backs up the hillside and unroll it to show the large crowds of worshippers below.

Marciano’s photos were taken in Labrang, Tongren and Langmusi.

"Marciano stood out with his dynamic and cinematic images. His well-curated photo essay not only transported me to a distant corner of the world, but also told a rich story about the people he encountered there."

– 2021 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Jury, Trixie Pacis

The 2021 Photo Essay Competition jury members are Jim Herrington (USA, photographer, and winner of the 2017 Grand Prize and Mountaineering History Award at the Banff Mountain Book Festival for his book The Climbers), Trixie Pacis (CANADA, outdoor photographer, mountain culture writer, and 2021 graduate of Banff Centre’s Adventure Filmmakers Workshop), and Pat Kane (CANADA, Northwest Territories based photographer with a focus on Indigenous issues, and an Algonquin Anishinaabe member of the Timiskaming First Nation in Quebec).

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 2021 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition partner is Nikon.

David Marciano receives $2000 CAD in prize money.

A Special Jury Mention goes to Dinesh Parab for his photo essay: Tribals Satpura.

The 2021 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival will take place October 30 – November 7.

For more information on the competition, photographer contact details or permission to use these images, please contact:

Jess Elliott
Media and Communications
Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival
107 Tunnel Mountain Drive
Banff, Alberta, T1L 1H5                                                                              

About Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival: Created 46 years ago, Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The nine-day Festival hosted by Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Canada, showcases the world’s best films, books and photographs on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment and natural history, exploration and adventure, wildlife, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and explorers as presenters and speakers. An international jury will also award over $40,000 in prizes for films and books submitted to this year’s Festival competitions.

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home on Treaty 7 territory in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach.