This year, the Skylife Photography Contest will be held with the theme “Discover.” The deadline for entry in the contest, which gains an increasing momentum day by day, is August 25.

The Skylife International Photography Contest, which gained importance for professional photographers and amateur photography enthusiasts in a very short time, will take place this year for the third time. You can apply for the contest, which offers flight tickets worth $12,000 as the first prize, on Skylife’s website. 

The competition represents the quality and stance of the unrivaled Skylife magazine, which reaches all around the world, just like Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s flag carrier. The theme of this year’s competition is “Discover.” Thousands of photographs from all around the world will be collected in a non-display system on the website of the Photographic Arts Federation of Turkey until the deadline on August 25, 2019. This system, which prevents photographs from being viewed, will be opened at the jury meeting, which will be attended by international names, and altogether the members of the jury will evaluate the entries. 

The award ceremony of the 3rd Skylife International Photography Contest will be held at Zorlu Performance Arts Center. In addition to the members of the press, jurors, and winners, important guests will attend the ceremony, which will be held on September 26. 

The jurors of this year’s competition are the head of the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) Riccardo Busi; the head of the Global Photographic Union (GPU) Emmanouil Metzakis; and photographers İzzet Keribar, Yadid Levy, and Ercan Akçay. In addition to these experienced and important names, the salon chairman and consultant of this competition is Sefa Ulukan, president of the Photographic Arts Federation of Turkey. Nearly 10,000 photographs were submitted to the competition last year; likewise, the participation is very high this year. As the end of the countdown draws near, we’ve discussed the process and our competition with the jurors.

Although the contest is only 3 years old, how do you evaluate its global image in the field?

It is indeed new, but given the results already reached in the first few years, it is easy to foresee a bright future. 

Is there a roadmap that can be followed by the participants, especially in themed contests?

I hope the participants did not search their archive to find pictures that they could adapt to the theme, but instead went out and searched for new pictures, pushed by their curiosity and their talent.

What kind of advice would you give to participants who want to join national or international competitions?

Attend photo clubs, meet with other photographers, look at catalogues and at the online galleries of the main photo competitions, develop a real culture of photography. Then, do not shoot for the competition but for yourself. 

As you know, the competition takes its name from Turkish Airlines' inflight magazine Skylife. What do you think about the magazine?

It is immediately obvious that it is different from all other airline magazines; the pictures, the news, the graphic impact make it unique. It makes you want to read it, not like the other ones to kill time, but out of true curiosity. 

What is the importance of obtaining the approval and support of international federations in such competitions?

The recognition and patronage of a competition by international organizations is without any doubt a pledge of the seriousness of the competition itself. In the myriad of competitions organized annually in the world, it is the only way to be recognized and appreciated.

“This Competition Is One of the Most Successful Ones”


Head of Global Photographic Union (GPU) 

Is there a roadmap that can be followed by the participants, especially in a themed contest?

Let their curiosity guide them, keep an open mind, and shoot what they have in mind.

What kind of advice would you give to participants who want to join competitions?

The photos with which they will participate should be authentic, original, and personalized. 

As you know, the competition takes its name from Turkish Airlines' inflight magazine Skylife. What do you think about Skylife magazine and the competition’s last 3 years?

Going through the pages of the magazine, during my flights with Turkish Airlines, I have noticed that it has multiple subjects, is rich in topics, and up to date. Another thing that drew my attention is its very good design and the quality of the printing. Looking at the statistics of the past two contests, the Skylife contest, which is always thematic, is ranked very highly. It is very rare for a thematic competition which has a different theme every year to have that many participants.

For many years you have been giving approval for international competitions and you conduct jury duty in federations. How do you evaluate the journey of the Skylife competition?

It is a very successful competition and with only two editions it has managed to find its place in the heart of photographers from all over the world.

Could you give us some information about the confidentiality and the strict rules of the jury meetings and the international names that make up the jury?

Having international and recognized judges is very important because it gives the competition a prestige. Experienced judges are objective, leaving aside their own preferences and evaluate what they are looking at. 

What is the importance of obtaining the approval and support of international federations in such competitions?

Their recognizability and the work they do for the photographers, give the photographic competitions under their support the necessary status in order to appeal to a larger number of photographers and eventually have more participations.



Head of International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) 

You are one of the best photographers in Turkey. How do you evaluate being selected as a member of the jury with the presidents of international federations?

Sefa Ulukan, president of the federation, is an old friend of mine. I haven’t met Ercan Akçay yet, but I know his works and I am very glad that we will work together. I have never met Mr. Emmanouil Metzakis or Mr. Riccardo Busi, but I believe that we will establish a good friendship.

Which frames do you expect to see in this year’s competition, the theme of which is “Discover”? 

“Discover” is an excellent theme. In a world where we can even take photos with our mobile phones, choosing the best photographs that truly convey the feeling of discovery will not be easy. Thanks to this photography contest, Skylife and Turkish Airlines will introduce the most beautiful places in our beautiful country to the world. 

What do you think about the competition being open to amateurs and the fact that professionals and amateurs compete against each other?

I don’t think it is right to compare the definition of professional with the definition of amateur, because being a professional photographer does not necessarily mean being a good photographer. A professional means someone who earns money by taking photos. It may be more appropriate to call them amateurs and national photographers.

How will the 3rd Skylife International Photography Contest open up a new horizon for photography enthusiasts around the world?

It's a wonderful opportunity for our photographers' milieu. The prizes are truly exciting. Of course, it will not be easy for the jury since top-quality photographs will come from all over the world. 




What do you think about the competition?

Istanbul is one of my favorite cities as it has everything. A beautiful skyline and architecture, rich and fascinating history, amazingly good food, and very friendly people. I'm happy to be a judge in this up-and-coming competition.

Skylife magazine is unique in terms of geography and diversity of readers. What can you say about the photo contest of this publication reaching people and opening up new horizons?

I think this competition reaching so many people with different backgrounds and culture is going to be fascinating.

You'll see thousands of photos sent from countless countries and cities. Does that excite you?

It definitely does, particularly as it is reaching such a wide audience coming from so many different backgrounds and places. I'm pretty sure that it will give me an insight into other people's lives and I will see places I have not been exposed to yet.




You have been working for Turkish Airlines as a professional photographer for many years. As a member of the jury for two years, how do you evaluate the progress of this competition that is still new?

Our competition has made good progress. Considering the wide audience of Skylife, we understand the importance of the competition better. Skylife is an exemplary magazine with its visual richness. It is especially unrivaled as an inflight magazine. As a result, the competition will become a cult in a short time.

Nearly 10,000 photographs were submitted to the competition last year. A high level of participation is also expected this year. How do you evaluate this interest?

Besides the number of photographs, their quality is also high. There is a sophisticated and universal language created by themes and the coverage of the magazine. Participation will continue to increase. This interest stems from the patronage of a 36-year-old school.

How does the theme “Discover,” which urges photographers to show their imagination in frames, affect participation?

The theme is exciting. Humankind has an instinct to discover. The theme of the competition promotes creativity and originality. Honestly, I think experimental photographs will be submitted. It is difficult for us to evaluate high-quality works from all around the world, but it is also an enjoyable process.

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