The Freedom Issue Cover Competition Winner Revealed

The Freedom Issue Cover Competition Winner Revealed

Mid-way through creating Vol. 31: The Freedom Issue, lockdown forced us to rethink the process that goes into making the magazine. Rather than shoot our cover photo internally, we handed over creative freedom to our global community of SUITCASE readers. Along with the winning shot, here is a selection of our favourite submissions.

pandemic didn’t just put a pin in our travel plans, it
paused our production too. Mid-way through creating Vol. 31: The Freedom Issue, lockdown forced us to
rethink the creative process that goes into making the

Amid this great pause, we became more connected with our global
community than ever. In reflecting on the coincidental and now
ironic theme of “freedom”, it occurred to us: what could be more
fitting than handing over creative freedom to our readers?

We called on all photographers, be they established in their
field or just starting out, to submit a single image encapsulating
what it means to be free. Our favourite submission was to land a
spot on the cover of Vol. 31: The Freedom Issue. We were
overwhelmed by entries showing freedom in myriad forms – physical,
spiritual, political – from photographers around the world. But the
image that really spoke to us in uncertain times was the one taken
by Carl
van der Linde
in Zoagli, Italy.

A crowded beach. Skin on skin. Loved ones. This photograph would
have resonated very differently a few months ago. And that is
exactly why we chose it. Today, it makes us nostalgic for carefree
summer adventures, and above all, hopeful for the future of

Alongside Van der Linde’s winning photo, here are eight of our
favourite submissions. Thank you to everyone who entered. We hope
this issue brings escapism to all our readers, wherever you may

We asked you to shoot the cover image for Vol. 31: The Freedom
Issue. Here are our favourite submissions.

Winner: Carl van der Linde

Zoagli, Italy

This image forms part of a series shot across the Mediterranean
during summer 2019. The title, Bagliore Solare, translates from
Italian as “solar flare”. To me, freedom is the scorch of the sun,
the taste of salty water on her skin. Freedom is the evaporation of
the sea on boiling pebbled beaches. Freedom is pointing your camera
and capturing the perfect moment of beauty. Freedom is travel,
freedom is sunburn and freedom is her. Falling in love is freedom.
This photograph is my freedom. It was shot on 120mm film on Zoagli
beach in Genoa, Italy.

Adrian Morris

Lombok, Indonesia

This image is from a trip I took with my girlfriend to Lombok in
Indonesia last year, though I didn’t choose it because of the
destination. To me, the picture conveys a sense of freedom that
looks inside as well as out; it strikes a balance between place and
self without focusing on a dreamy location as a representation of
getting away from the fray. In contrast to the sense of escape we
so often seek through travel, lockdown has presented many of us
with a period of pause and self-reflection, and this has paved the
way to finding inner freedom.

Kelvin Debirdz

Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya

This photo was taken on 2 June 2019, Shantel’s ninth birthday.
She’s outside her house in Kibera, the largest urban slum in
Africa. Life here poses many challenges for young girls, but today
she wears her favourite dress, bought by her mother to celebrate
her birthday. Inside, 20 children from the neighbourhood are
dancing to loud music. Framed in the doorway, Shantel is in her own
world, free. She dreams of becoming a model and a superstar. On
this day, I don’t see a child from the slum but a young, confident
and ambitious girl.

Clara Watt

Lake Geneva, Switzerland

At the onset of lockdown, I escaped to the countryside to
weather the storm of the pandemic. The photograph’s subject, a
Black man – my brother – reminds us of the global fight for social
justice, while exploring the shifting perception of water: some
holiday on sweeping coastlines, others flee from corrupt
governments and wars across those same oceans. The dark reflection
represents a past defined by systemic discrimination and climate
change; the top half, bright with the dawn sun, presents a vision
of hope in creating a free world for all.

Wij Travers

East Sussex, UK

For many of us, the freedom of expression, identity and choice
is, perhaps, valued above all else. It’s uncommon to choose a life
of restraint and restriction. On a walk to the Seven Sisters cliffs
some years ago, I noticed a people carrier full of holidaying
monks. Influenced by common preconceptions, I expected to see a
band of brothers deep in contemplation. Yet when this holy man lit
a cigarette and laughed as we looked on, I realised that freedom is
a funny thing; it’s intimately personal to each of us, however we
choose to exercise it.

Joe Howard

Lisbon, Portugal

Freedom to me is the freedom to choose where to be, how long to
stay and who to be there with. This photo captures a moment of
stillness; two people have chosen to stop, be quiet and enjoy some
respite from the otherwise busy promenade near Lisbon’s Belém
Tower. They are free. Retrospectively, the yellow line reminds me
of the many lines we have courteously obeyed while queuing for
shops over the last three months. In this image, the women lie
across the line. We are in a period of transition, from what was to
what will be.


Cairngorms, Scotland

Being from Scotland, I don’t take the vast landscapes of my
country for granted; the freedom to explore the outdoors is a
privilege. Taken on a crisp, autumnal evening on Loch Morlich in
the Cairngorms National Park, this image seeks to encapsulate that
feeling. What I enjoy about this photograph is not only the
striking scenery and glass-like water, but the anonymity of the
kayakers as they take in the views and disappear into the distance.
This is a moment I will never capture again and a memory that will
forever be etched in my mind.

Akis Katsoudas

Fournoi, Greece

It’s 7pm and the sun is about to hide behind the ocean when
three guys arrive at the pitch. The wind is strong and the dry
grasses are dancing. We are on Fournoi, one of the smallest Greek
islands; about 1,000 people live here. The island has a football
team that plays in the local league, but active players are few and
far between here, so only eight take part in some matches. They run
under the sun and play until nightfall. When it’s all over, they
start to laugh. It can be hard to concentrate on a football game
while overlooking the Aegean Sea.

Alicia Warner

Baa Atoll, Maldives

If you’d told me a year ago that I would live through a pandemic
on a tropical island, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’m a
photographer and filmmaker based in the Maldives but my intention
was never to stay here long. I was due to leave in March to start a
new job in Bangkok – the world thought otherwise. This time has
given me a chance to slow down and reconnect with my surroundings
and myself. I want my work to express the freedom that comes from
both from nature and from within oneself, without any judgement or

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