WINNER ANNOUNCED: FORMAT Festival Shutter Hub Portfolio Award 2019

© Simona Ciocarlan

We’re delighted to introduce you to Simona Ciocarlan, the winner of the Shutter Hub Portfolio Award at FORMAT19. Simona Ciocarlan is a Romanian-born visual artist and photographer based in Glasgow, United Kingdom. She recently graduated receiving a First-Class Honours Degree in Photography at City of Glasgow College, specialising in fine art and documentary photography.

In her work she explores the relationship and impact between traditions and the modern era, investigating how our perceptions over the world are influenced by cultural heritage and seeking to reference the diverse layers of personal history and collective memory that shape our identity.


© Simona Ciocarlan

© Simona Ciocarlan

© Simona Ciocarlan

I am honoured and delighted to have won the Shutter Hub Award, as I have been following the organisation’s activity and admire its ethos. Moreover, I feel encouraged and flattered to have been chosen on this occasion as the quality of work presented at the Format Festival portfolio review was extremely high. For the future I am determined to keep on researching and developing the present series, but also to produce new work. For certain this mentorship will help me evolve as an artist and I am thrilled to be part of such a positive and supportive community.

“They danced in a different way” is an examination of memory, nostalgia and cultural projections, seeking to provide insights into the lives of people that continue to practice ancestral rituals and wear traditional attire in Europe. We desire to understand where we come from, thus my intention is to use this project as a trigger for discussions about the importance and meanings of our inherited legacy, focusing on the fluid borders of identity and the connection between tradition and contemporary culture. My photographs are glimpses of people’s lives, documenting stories of individuals or communities from different regions of Romania. The red thread that connects all these narratives, including my own, is represented by the Romanian folk textiles and ancient traditions and rituals. Romanian folk textiles, could be regarded as an interplay between invention, innovation and ancient heritage transmitted from generation to generation, acting as symbols produced over centuries of cultural exchange. It’s fascinating to discover ancient traditions still being celebrated and preserved in our days. Although many aspects of a culture could be considered unfamiliar, ultimately, we are all bound by the same primordial feelings – love, hope and fear.


© Simona Ciocarlan

© Simona Ciocarlan


FORMAT19 winners of the Portfolio Review Awards:

FORMAT Lishui Photography Festival Special Exhibition – Winner Jan Stradtmann

Guardian Portfolio Review Award – Winner Zoe Savitz

Grain Photography Hub Portfolio Award – Winner Sophie Gerrard

Guernsey Photography Festival Exhibition Award – Winner Anais Lopez

FORMAT Festival Shutter Hub Portfolio Award 2019 – Simona Ciocarlan

Spectrum Photographic Award Prize – Winner Margaret Mitchell

John E Wright Award – Winner Carrie Woolsey

LensCulture Feature Award – Winner Debbie Cooper

Street Level Photoworks FORMAT Award – Winner David Severn

FORMAT19 Reviewers Choice – Winner Monica Alcazar-Duarte



Not a Shutter Hub member yet? Join here for opportunities to promote your work online and in exhibitions, access selected opportunities, events, seminars and workshops, meet up and share photographic experiences, and become part of our growing community…


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