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Paola Ismene, Daydream in Blue, 2017 | © Paola Ismene
Paola Ismene, Daydream in Blue, 2017 | © Paola Ismene
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Photo of Tijuana Beach Wins Saatchi Gallery's #SelfExpression Competition

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 5 September 2017
Young Mexico City-based photographer Paola Ismene has been named the winner of the Saatchi Gallery and Huawei’s #SelfExpression competition for her shot of Playas de Tijuana on the border of Mexico and the USA.

Chosen from over 9,000 entries by a judging panel that included acclaimed artists including Chris Levine, Rachel Maclean, and Gillian Wearing, Paola Ismene won the open-call competition for her entry, Daydream in Blue (2017) that was shot using a mobile phone.

‘I am truly grateful for being selected…because it’s a great platform to expose the work of emerging photographers,’ said Ismene. ‘Mobile photography has allowed me to capture countless images in my everyday life. So I find it fortunate to participate in competitions like this where the use of new technologies in the artistic field are recognized.’

Paola Ismene, Daydream in Blue, 2017
Paola Ismene, Daydream in Blue, 2017 | © Paola Ismene

Ismene responded to the competition’s theme to document the world around her with a stunning shot of a desolate beach but for a candy seller. Not only does she win Huawei’s newest smartphone that boasts the world’s first 8MP Leica front camera, but more importantly a solo exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery to showcase her work.

Saatchi Gallery’s CEO, Nigel Hurst said, ‘We hope that this new #SelfExpression competition encourages everyone with a smartphone to realise its potential as an artistic tool, and inspire them to document their daily lives with even more creative vigour.’

The competition has revealed a wealth of photographic talent and has shortlisted nine other entrants from across the world, including Denis Cherim from Spain, Duncan Cunningham-Reid from Australia, Emma Gahan from Portugal, and Lola Kay from Ukraine.

‘We have been thrilled with the creativity seen in the #SelfExpression Competition,’ said Glory Zhang of Huawei. ‘Once again, people from all parts of the world have displayed incredible levels of originality. When we set the challenge, we hoped the public would take the opportunity to express themselves by looking at the world and those around them, and the photography we got back absolutely lived up to the ideas behind this competition and the exhibition.’

The Saatchi Gallery’s current exhibition, From Selfie to Self Expression, inspired the competition and may close on Wednesday September 6, but you can still view the photographers’ works online.

Want to see more photography in London? ‘Portrait of Britain’ returns to the streets of the UK.