Neutral Ground Reborn announces top 12 photos of the year

Published March 28, 2021, 1:24 AM

by Ronald Jayme

By James Enriquez

For many of us, 2020 will always be a memorable year. The pandemic has hit closer to home than any of us could imagine. While a lot of industries and activities have come to a grinding halt, photography was there through it all to record every harrowing moment.

The Neutral Ground Reborn, an online photo community, has been championing the spirit of the Filipino photographer since its re-inception in 2015. The 5,300 strong group members participate in daily competitions with no restrictions in their creative vision – the photographer and the image. In the community that fostered collaboration and comradery, all that mattered was the burning desire to push one’s creativity and consequently learn from one another. 

Photos competed daily, weekly, and monthly. And finally, a “photo of the year” was declared to represent the values and mission of the group. Since the lockdown, taking photos have been somewhat difficult. Despite this challenge, members came out with brilliant images that are captivating and tugging at our heartstrings.

Top 1: The Farmer by Christian Basa

This year, Ireland-based photographer Christian Basa bagged the coveted “Photo of the Year” award with his photo “The Farmer.” Using heavy symbolism of hardship and strife, Christian was able to produce this masterpiece with only a medicine dropper, a single speed light, and a tripod-mounted camera. 

Top 2: Golden Reflections by Roland Batacan

The second-place image also serves as memoriam. Rolly Batacan, an OFW in Dubai, passed away last May 2020. Yet his powerful image “Golden Reflections” still resonates with everyone and has made it through all the way to the top five. Perfectly balanced, a massive cloverleaf basked in the afternoon sun is reflected from the side of a high-rise building in perfect symmetry. The NGR community will surely miss his brilliant imagery.

Top 3: Mother & Child by Mac Omega

The third-place photo is no stranger to this community. “Mother & Child” by Quezon City- based photographer Mac Omega, is a heart-warming portrait in black and white that captures not only the emotion but the great tones and contrast as well. Shot from his home province of Leyte, Mac chanced upon the pair while out in a park with his family. Trusting his instincts, he then waited for the perfect opportunity and captured an image that conveys a depth of emotion from an unlikely source. 

Top 4: Change by Esher Diaz

The challenges for photographers are always present, further exacerbated by an ongoing pandemic that has claimed livelihood, liberty, and life. But nevertheless, NGR remains an avenue for Filipino photographers to shine through and to realize their creativity while continuing to give hope wherever in the world they may be. The group’s membership continues to grow and encourages everyone to keep on shooting – not for the fame or prestige, but for the love of the arts.

To our new and incoming members, welcome to the Neutral Ground Reborn.

Top 5: Worshipper by Rosaline Baylosis
Top 6: Wyvern by Alfred Jurcalis
Top 7: Alone by Myra Silva Gal
Top 8: Baler Rocks by Welski Angeles
Top 9: The Image by Marlon Villaverde
Top 10: Reflection On My Window by Sylvia Zamora
Top 11: Fishing Vessels by Welski Angeles
Top 12: Razeen by Roland Batacan