ING Unseen Talent Award: Previous Editions

The ING Unseen Talent Award is an exclusive photography award created by ING and Unseen, focused on new photography talent. The award provides an international platform for emerging European photography talent to present their work on a global scale.

Unseen and ING are pleased to announce that Thomas Albdorf (1982, Austria) is the winner of the 2016 ING Unseen Talent Award. Both the award and the €10,000 prize to fund a new project was accepted at the opening event of Unseen Amsterdam on the 22nd of September. The winner was chosen from five exceptional ING Unseen Talent Award finalists: Thomas Albdorf (1982, Austria), Laurianne Bixhain (1987, Luxembourg), Felicity Hammond (1988, UK), Miren Pastor (1985, Spain) and Tereza Zelenkova (1985, Czech Republic).

The winner of the ING Unseen Talent Award 2016 Public Prize was also announced. The Public Prize winner was determined by an online poll, which closed on the 19th of September. The winner, Miren Pastor (1985, Spain), was awarded a commission to create new work for the ING Collection.

Each of the finalists created an artwork for the ING Collection in response to the theme: Fool for Love, which explores the passion and devotion required to pursue one's dreams. Watch the videos below to see the final work and the stories behind them.

All ING Unseen Talent Award finalists’ work was exhibited at the ING Unseen Lounge, during Unseen Photo Fair 2016, which ran from 23rd  to 25th September in Amsterdam.

The ING Unseen Talent Award winner was selected by an international jury comprised of a range of professionals working across the industry, which included Martin Barnes (Senior Curator, Photography Department, Victoria & Albert Museum, UK), Lucy Conticello (Director of Photography, M, le Monde, FR), Rineke Dijkstra (Artist and 2014 & 2015 edition coach, NL), Azu Nwagbogu (Director, Lagos Photo Festival, African Artists’ Foundation and National Art Competition, NG) and Sanne ten Brink (Global Head Curator, ING Collection, NL).

The finalists were rewarded with the ING Unseen Talent Programme, consisting of an empowering online coaching programme and a commission for the ING Collection. Whilst working on this programme, the finalists were coached by internationally established American artist Todd Hido, and several professionals from the field. The online coaching programme was made up of three sessions. Furthermore, there was an onsite spokesperson session with an ING press officer, a workshop by Tim Zeedijk (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam) and a speed date style dinner with all the talents, involved scouts, coaches and jury members of the ING Unseen Talent Award 2016.

A06C0454.jpgFinalists and coaches of the ING Unseen Talent Award 2015: f.l.t.r. Sébastien Bonin, Marcel Feil, Rineke Dijkstra, Lara Gasparotto, Olya Oleinic, Sophie Jung

In 2015 ING and Unseen announced the inaugural edition of the ING Unseen Talent Award. The award provided an international platform for new Belgian, Luxembourg and Dutch photography talent to present their work on a global scale.

Sophie Jung (1982, LU) received her BFA from the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and her MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London. Her upcoming projects include online commission for Inflected Objects at Instituto Svizzero in Milan, the 4th edition of the Eternal Internet Brotherhood, Uncanny Valley at Wysing Arts Centre (UK) as well as äppärät at Ballroom Marfa (US). Her work is strict, slick and abstract as well as emotionally involved, performative and overly literal.

The jury about Sophie Jung’s work: "Photography is more and more presented in relation to other media by a new generation of artists. New and unknown possibilities for it are being explored. Sophie Jung has produced work that reminds us of the analogue period in photography. At the same time, by adding media like sound and drawing, she opens up photography's potentials to work differently on our minds and on our sense of being."

SophieJung.jpgWinning photo of ING Unseen Talent Award 2015 by Sophie Jung

From a longlist provided by three cultural scouts throughout the Benelux Unseen and ING Art Management selected five finalists:

  • Sébastien Bonin (1977, BE)
  • Lara Gasparotto (1989, BE)
  • Sophie Jung (1982, LU)
  • Sjoerd Knibbeler (1981, NL)
  • Olya Oleinic (1991, NL)

Three photography professionals in the Benelux have been invited to select five photography talents from a specific region. In order to qualify, these talents must have graduated within the last five years and must be based in the Benelux. The scouts of 2015 were: Christophe de Jaeger (Director of Photography, BOZAR, The Centre for Fine Arts, Belgium), Michèle Walerich (Curator, Photography Department, CNA, Centre National de l’Audiovisuel, Luxembourg) and Marcel Feil (Deputy Director of Artistic Affairs, Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, the Netherlands).

These artists were rewarded with a coaching programme and with a commission for the ING Collection. Whilst working on the ING Unseen Talent Programme, the selected photographers were coached by one of the world’s leading photographers, Rineke Dijkstra and several professionals from the field including Marcel Feil (Deputy Director of Artistic Affairs, Foam), Bert Danckaert (Photographer, Curator and Associate Professor of Photography, Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp), Tim Zeedijk (Head of Exhibitions, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam) and Frans Middendorff (Press Officer, ING Netherlands).

The final work of these young talents were exhibited at Unseen Photo Fair in the Gashouders’ niches, giving these young artists the opportunity to introduce their work to the international art world. During the official opening night of Unseen, an international jury announced Sophie Jung as the winner of the first ING Unseen Talent Award. She received a project production fund of €10.000. Along with the winner of the Jury Award, Lara Gasparotto was announced as the winner of the Public Award. The prize for this competition consisted of a commission to create a new work for the ING Collection.


  • Kaat Celis (former Chief of Photography, De Morgen and founder of arts management company Sluitertijd)
  • Paul di Felice (Co-director and curator of Café Crème edition and European Month of Photography Luxembourg)
  • Duncan Forbes (Director and Curator, Fotomuseum Winterthur)
  • Frits Gierstberg (Curator, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam)
  • Sanne ten Brink (Head Curator, ING Collection)

The winner of the 2014 edition was Anne Geene (1983, NL), chosen for the authenticity, technical skill and originality of her work. Geene on her final piece: "I picked these leaves from a tree in Berlin that stands in the shade most of the day. Its leaves grow round the corner because it's sunny over there: they seem to move away from the status quo with apparent ease. I'm interested in the truthfulness and evidential value of photographs, and I hope my way of showing that puts a little smile on people's face.”


Winning photo of 2014: Modifications, 2014 © Anne Geene

Other finalists from 2014 include photography talents Maurice van Es (1984, NL), Alexandra Hunts (1990, UA), Lana Mesić (1987, NL/HR) and Jan Rosseel (1979, BE).

Recognising the Netherlands’ reputation to uphold in the field of photography, ING Art Management took the initiative towards creating a new photography award as a way to encourage emerging talent by providing recent local photography graduates a stage for launching their career to a broad audience.

In this very first edition, Ola Lanko (1985, NL) was announced the winner among finalists Florian van Roekel (1980, NL), Natascha Libbert (1973, NL), Anika Schwarzlose (1982, DE) and Willem Popelier (1982, NL). According to the jury, it was she who best portrayed the "face of the Netherlands".


Winning photo of 2013: Selective Encyclopedia of Visual Metaphors, 2013 © Ola Lanko

Read about the current edition here.