Stunning Photos: Team USA wins gold in inaugural World Photographic Cup


posted Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 2:38 PM EDT

Photo by Eve Turek

While most of the world gears up for the 2014 Winter Olympics, it turns out that photography has just had something of its own version—and that the USA team team did well enough to take out the entire tournament. 2014 marked the inaugural World Photographic Cup, where dozens of photographers from around the world competed to have their photos ranked the best in six different categories.

Each country was allowed to submit up to three entries in each of the categories of Portrait, Wedding, Commercial (including advertising, architecture, industrial, fashion), Illustrative/Digital art, Reportage/Photojournalistic and Landscape. The images were judged by a blind panel of 15 judges, meaning they didn't know who the photographer was, or where they came from. Each section was then awarded a gold, silver, and bronze awards for the best of the division.

Much like the Olympics, by assigning points to the number of medals awarded, an eventual winner of the entire competition was unveiled. With five points awarded for every gold, three for a silver, and one for a bronze, the USA team eventually came out on top. Its netting of one gold, one silver, and three bronzes (for a total of 11 points) put it narrowly ahead of Australia, with 10 points after two golds.

This is the first ever World Photographic Cup, which was arranged between the Federation of European Photographers (FEP) and Professional Photographers of America (PPA). It was held Monday, Jan. 13, at Imaging USA in Phoenix, Ariz. To see more of the winning images, you can see a complete set of the finalists here.

Here are the winning images from Team USA, used with permission (warning, some nudity below):

Landscape, Gold Medal, by Eve Turek
Commercial, Silver Medal, by Randy Van Duinen
Illustrative, Bronze Medal, by Ben Shirk
Wedding, Bronze Medal, Tomas Munoz
Portrait, Bronze Medal, Nathan Ham

What do you think? A gorgeous collection of photos, by any standard; big kudos to Team USA for the fantastic showing!

On a tangentially-related topic, we'd like to know how our readers feel about images like Nathan Ham's Bronze-winning portrait shot above. We've always maintained a strictly G-rated policy on IR, not wanting anything objectionable to some readers to interfere with their enjoyment of the site. But artistic nudes like Nathan's above are very much a part of photography, and we didn't feel we could report on the very newsworthy win for Team USA here without including Nathan's beautiful shot along with all the others. We wrestled with it a little, though, as we're aware that some readers may not want to see nude portraits while browsing IR's content, and came down on the side of showing all the photos, with a little warning at the top that there was nudity further on down the page.

We'd really appreciate readers' thoughts on this; please leave a note in the comments section below, saying whether you approve or disapprove of images like this appearing on IR. Thanks in advance for taking time to register your opinion. (And please, be kind to each other, this isn't an argument over whether images like this are good or bad based on different people's moral scales, we're just looking for a survey of our readers' feelings on the matter.)