International Winners of the #unexpectedb0nds Contest


Create Fund contest winners share their individual perspectives on how to encapsulate a bond—that moment shared between two entities.

What does a bond mean to you? And how does that look like? From Shutterstock’s latest Create Fund Contest comes these images depicting a bond. See how each photographer shares their perspective and what they saw when they were capturing these moments.

Shutterstock’s goal as one of the leading stock imagery sources is to provide a wide range of photos and videos encompassing all races, genders, and perspectives. More than diversity and inclusivity, which are two resounding themes in the design and media industry, Shutterstock aims to widen the stage and have space for photographers and creatives from different parts of the world to showcase their work.

In our latest Create Fund Contest #unexpectedb0nds, we asked photographers to share an image that they think perfectly showcases what a bond truly is.

When we hear the word bond, we automatically think of two people spending time together, perhaps over coffee, or two people sharing a connection. That may be true, but what else blossoms from that word?

So many amazing photographers shared their work. Their takes on what a bond looks like and why such bond is special are all worth celebrating.

We talked to our contest winners and, here, they share their unique perspectives and artistic styles.

License this video via Ronnachai Palas.

Ronnachai Palas: Showcasing the Connection Between Humans and Animals as Part of Their Livelihood

Shutterstock: What is your craft?

Ronnachai Palas: I’m a local photographer and videographer.

SSTK: How do you want to challenge the stock content industry?

Palas: I want to present local people’s lifestyle and show their real life to the world as an authentic moment.

SSTK: How would you describe your artistic style?

Palas: I make a conversation and take more time.

It’s very difficult to take a close-up shot of people with animals like buffalo. I always shoot with 50fps footage, and when you shoot with a handheld technique, don’t forget to turn on the image stabilization function on the camera and lens.

SSTK: What made you select this image to submit to the contest?

Palas: Buffalo [have been used] in Asian agriculture for a long time. I want to show a good relationship between humans and animals.

SSTK: How can more contributors create more authentic content?

Palas: Authentic content has to be shot in real locations and real situations. Take more time with your model and shoot more shots for better work.

A little girl reads the newspaper while her grandfather sits on the park bench beside her holding a juice box
License this image via Konstantinos Dendrinos.

Konstantinos Dendrinos: When a Grandparent and Grandchild Switch Roles

Shutterstock: What is your craft? 

Konstantinos Dendrinos: Amateur photographer.

SSTK: How do you want to challenge the stock content industry?

Dendrinos: I think that stock photography is a very good idea. My goal is to upload as many photos as possible but also maintain a good quality with regard to the subject, the approach, and the perspective.

It is a very good way of showcasing your work without getting scammed or taken advantage of.

SSTK: How would you describe your artistic style?

Dendrinos: What I am trying to do through my photos is tell a story or pass on a message whenever possible.

But, then again, as a mentor of mine has said, the meaning is always in the eye of the beholder, so my job is to give the best version of what I have in front of me.

I try to approach people and situations from an independent point of view. Not making me part of the story but telling the story. 

SSTK: What made you select this image to submit to the contest?

Dendrinos: The name of the contest, #unexpectedb0nds, immediately triggered my imagination towards this—showing a grandparent with a kid, but this alone would be overplayed and boring. Kind of cliche.

So, I thought I would put a twist into the concept by having the subjects change roles. I thought it was a good idea and I feel so grateful that other people saw it this way, too.

SSTK: How can more contributors create more authentic content?

Dendrinos: I will borrow a phrase by Jindrich Streit: “Do not imitate.”

Open your eyes and ears, listen to ideas, see other people’s work but don’t try to reproduce it. Let all this blend in you and, once it subsides, you will find your own voice.

Don’t push it, don’t go after it. Do what you love, and it will come to you.

Two older women in brightly colored clothes slow dance together during a gathering of dancers in a sunny park
License this image via WomanPower.

Anastasiia Rudenko: The Bond of Being in the Moment

Shutterstock: What is your craft?

Anastasiia Rudenko: Photography.

SSTK: How do you want to challenge the stock content industry?

Rudenko: I want to fight the clichés by showing the likes of real, non-artificial characters. I would like stock photography to move away from sterile artificial images as far as possible.

Real life is often more unexpected than the human imagination can invent. We can see this thanks to the development of social networks.

SSTK: How would you describe your artistic style?

Rudenko: Firstly, I am a documentary photographer. So, most of all, I like to create a series of real life of people in a reportage manner. But, even when I organize the photo session, I make people do the real process.

SSTK: What made you select this image to submit to the contest?

Rudenko: I call these older women from the photo my muses. I don’t perceive them as elderly. For me, they are like girls or girlfriends.

They always amaze me with their elegant fashion style, and I want to share my observations with others.

SSTK: How can more contributors create more authentic content?

Rudenko: For me, as a documentary photographer, all the small details that go into the photo are important. Every picture on the wall is important.

In stock photography, you must take a property release or delete it in Photoshop. In documentary photography, especially at the junction of a reportage, on the contrary, you don’t have the right to delete anything.

By clearing the photo of various details, it loses some of its authenticity. Therefore, for photographers who know how to make authentic documentary photography, it is difficult to switch from one rule to another, and ethical norms from documentary photography also interfere with them.

If stock photography is interested in authentic photography and attracting documentary photographers, it should offer some assistance in resolving these collisions. Maybe take over some of the post-production functions of the image or simplify the rules where possible.

An art teacher points to the canvas his older pupil is working on as they discuss the work
License this image via gabllima.

Gabllima: On Showcasing Beauty in Everyday Events

Shutterstock: What is your craft?

Gabllima: My craft is photography. As a black queer person, photography is the art form I use for self-expression.

SSTK: How do you want to challenge the stock content industry?

Gabllima: Growing up in Brazil, you can really see the diversity that exists in the world. I mean, there’s so much culture and vivid art forms around me that I feel really inspired 24/7, and I want to explore it with my art and make Brazilian diversity known around the world.

Shutterstock allows me to do it. 

I think, if I do say so myself, I represent the new way of viewing art and how to perceive the world, in general. Being an Afro-LatinX queer person, I bring a whole new perspective to the photography and stock content industry.

SSTK: How would you describe your artistic style?

Gabllima: I would say that I play around a lot! I’ll try every aesthetic there is for me to try, especially because I love to experiment with new things.

In general, I’d say that my artistic style is more on the lifestyle editorial side. 

SSTK: What made you select this image to submit to the contest?

Gabllima: It represents connection beautifully. I mean, it’s a representation of an art class with beautiful light and editing. It’s a portrait of a truly happy day! 

SSTK: How can more contributors create more authentic content?

Gabllima: Be yourself! And let it show through your art. I make photos that are true to me.

An older woman wearing headphones leans over to kiss another younger woman on the cheek
License this image via Nuva Frames.

Vane Nunes: Fostering Relationships Through Simple Gestures

Shuttertock: What is your craft?

Vane Nunes: I am a graphic designer and photographer. Currently, I’m fully dedicated to stock video/photography.

SSTK: How do you want to challenge the stock content industry?

Nunes: I believe it’s crucial to generate content from our individual perspectives as human beings. Shifting our focus from observing others’ work to looking inward can be the most authentic reflection of society and what the industry can genuinely present to the world.

SSTK: How would you describe your artistic style?

Nunes: I prefer not to label my style as I believe it’s always evolving. But something I consistently strive for is naturalness and authenticity. I aim for a minimalistic and simple style.

SSTK: What made you select this image to submit to the contest?

Nunes: In this session, the models are real-life family members. I cherish the memory of this moment as something truly genuine.

A lot of families are diverse, and neither color nor age should hinder the creation of bonds of love and friendship. For me, that’s what the image expresses.

SSTK: How can more contributors create more authentic content?

Nunes: I think it’s essential to work not only on being a good photographer, videographer, and professional but also on being better individuals and fostering the relationships we can build through our work.

This will naturally lead us to create more authentic images because they genuinely come from within.

Simply put, a bond is a moment shared between two entities. What happens in that moment is what makes that bond special.

Images that showcase the connection and emotions shared in that moment are something the stock photography industry needs more of. And, that’s what Shutterstock is looking for in this Create Fund contest.

Everyone who submitted entries achieved this.

License this cover image via gabllima, Konstantinos Dendrinos, Ronnachai Palas, WomanPower, and Nuva Frames.

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