Together with Feature Shoot we invited photographers to share their best minimal photography on Instagram. Of the 3,600 photos that were submitted to the hashtag #wetransferminimal, 145 were included in a group show on featureshoot.com. We selected photographer Lulu Ash’s photograph as the Grand Prize Winner; awarded a WeTransfer wallpaper, her work will be seen by an estimated 10 million people.
Curated by WeTransfer’s Head of Photography Partnerships Lucy Pike and Feature Shoot Editor-in-Chief Alison Zavos, the final collection of images celebrates minimalism in all its forms, from stark landscapes to architectural abstractions and colorful details. But one photograph stood out from the rest: a striking image of a Swahili fisherman working on his sailboat in Uganda taken by London-based Lulu Ash.
The image was shot while Lulu was on commission in Uganda and Kenya. “We were on quite a tight schedule in both countries for the project but I was still able to celebrate the people and the places we encountered in journal-like images,” she says. “When I travel, everything is new and visually exciting. I’m fascinated by things people don’t usually notice”.
For me, loading the camera and looking through the lens is as much part of the process as the final outcome
It’s this approach that captured Lucy’s attention. “Lulu’s photograph encompasses shooting in a minimal style rather than shooting something that ‘is’ minimal,” she says of the winning photo. “While the fisherman featured is framed against a white background, the strong shapes positioned along the image’s central line draw us into an interesting narrative. Presented with fragments of a story, we are left to fill in the pieces ourselves.”
Whether it’s a fisherman adjusting the sails on his boat, a dirt road through the countryside or several children swimming in a lake, Lulu “photographs the everyday and finds the beauty in that”. Emotive and authentic, her work has an almost dreamlike quality that she achieves through working with film. “For me, loading the camera and looking through the lens is as much part of the process as the final outcome,” she says.
Like most of her work, this series deals with human expressions in a delicate way. She tries to “capture emotions and the feelings of a place”, and is particularly drawn to the people she meets along the way. “The Ugandans were so friendly and hospitable. They live a much more natural way of life, and they’re so happy. It was fascinating. What’s funny is that they thought I was equally interesting; every time I went to load my camera, the kids would come over to see what I was doing. I feel very fortunate that photography allows me to spend time with people in this way and make heartfelt connections.”