Shutterstock's Viewfinder Challenge

For round four of the Viewfinder Challenge, we asked you to focus your efforts on “Real People,” by submitting your photos, illustrations, and footage spotlighting everyday human thoughts, actions, interactions, and emotions.

As always, we got some fantastic entries, so it was up to the judges to pick the three that would take home the top honors in Viewfinder Challenge 4. Read on to see who made the final cut, and to get some insight from both the judges and the winners about the winning entries.



Two Old Friends Sitting on a Bench by Magomed Magomedagaev

What the Judge said: “This portrait of two old friends nailed our request for real, unstaged images. Their straightforward composure, combined with the clean, natural lighting, makes this photo highly usable for a range of projects — from ad campaigns to editorial stories.” – Jon Feinstein, Marketing and Partnerships Manager

What the Winner said: “This shot was taken in a small village in southern Russia. I like to photograph people in real-life situations, and seniors are something special. I love to capture their images. To find new seniors, I make trips to old mountain villages, where we go from home to home, meet people, talk to them, and explain what am I taking photos for. This time, we returned home after such an outing and noticed two men sitting by the wall. My uncle, who accompanied me, told these two men grew up in the neighborhood and never stopped arguing with each other, so it was a surprise to see them sitting so peacefully. I told them about my work and asked them to just sit and not pay attention to me, and I took some portrait shots in about 15 minutes. I only noticed the chicken sitting beside them when I was back at home in Moscow at a big monitor.”


Man with Heart in His Hat by Valeriy Bondar

What the Judge said: “We felt this illustration was a really well executed conceptual interpretation of the theme. The simplicity and clarity of the artwork really drives home the concept of an everyday person with love on his mind.” – Tim Goldman, Illustration Acquisition

What the Winner said: “I was reading a book about creating illustrations when I made this. Among others, there was a method of creating “literal” artworks like this. At first, I thought I would draw a picture with an actual rain of cats and dogs. At the same time, I was working on illustrations for Valentine’s Day, and it occurred to me that the human mind must consist of love. So I drew that idea literally. It would be nice if people held love in their heads and used it often.”


Snowfall at the Principal Square of Monza, Italy by Claudio Giovenzana

What the Judge said: “This video answered our call for ‘Capturing Humanity’ by using lighting and elements of nature to starkly illustrate the universal human feeling of loneliness.” – Dan Reiss, Branded Content Producer

What the Winner said: “I was walking at night in my small town in Italy, when suddenly, on a corner I’ve passed by thousands of times, I saw the opportunity to frame my girlfriend with the snow and the profiles of buildings in the low-light background cast by the fluorescent street lamps. I took out my 5D Mk III with the 40mm pancake (my traditional configuration for when you don’t want to carry a camera, because you think nothing will happen), and I captured this little snippet of my city under the snow. The rest was all post-production, emphasizing the red-channel contrast and the vignette of the frame.”

Check out more of our favorite submissions in our Viewfinder Challenge 4 Lightbox »

Stay tuned for an announcement in the coming weeks about the next Viewfinder Challenge theme!