Michihiro Yamaki exhbiting Sigma products at the Germany Photo Fest in 1979.

SIGMA 60th Anniversary

60 Years of Capturing Moments That Move Us

Since day one, we’ve led with innovation and creativity, helping artists of all walks of life bring their visions to life. Through our history we recognize our community’s great impact—each photographer and videographer operating as the beating heart to our story.

And so on our 60th year, we will honor the legacy of SIGMA founder Michihiro Yamaki and the passing of the baton to his son and current CEO, Kazuto Yamaki, by giving away $60,000 in scholarships to aspiring young artists.

Thank you for joining us for 60 years of storytelling—we can’t wait to see what chapter unfolds next.

See Contest Winners

Submission Categories

SIGMA Core Values

SIGMA’s rich history is full of storytelling and tremendous growth, guiding the company toward the four core values that define who we are today. Get a closer look at what Authenticity, Precision, Inspiration, and Honor mean to the ever-growing SIGMA community. We asked Students from all over the world to shoot the best photo or film that interprets and captures one of our four core values:

Contest Winners

Authenticity

Be real. Let your genuine spirit shine through and show how your true self is reflected in your art.

Since our foundation in 1961, we have exclusively produced photography- and film-related products. In other words, we are a company that focuses all its efforts on creating tools for photography. Kazuto Yamaki has learned, “…the right combination of outer elegancy and an inner strength and authenticity can become a great inspiration to people.”

- Kazuto Yamaki – Sein, The Essentials, Early Summer, 2017

Photography

Shelby Brewer Headshot

Shelby Brewer

In the Midst

"Often, the people we dislike the most are ourselves. We hide who we truly are, fearing that others will feel that same resentment we have towards ourselves if they ever knew who we really were on the inside.

This concept has proved to be true for me and this image mirrors my inner struggles as I discover who I truly am as a person. For as long as I can remember, the color red personified negativity in my life, and because of that, I never liked the color. In this image, red covers the model from head to toe, showing the things I despise about myself fully exposed. The model is entangled in red yarn, just as I am entangled in the weight of the burdens I put on myself. It appears inescapable and lonely, the red I feel inside portrayed on the outside and contrasted by a dark blue background.

By being authentic about my emotions, I have learned that I am not alone."

Lens: SIGMA 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | A

Film

Max Hurley Headshot

Max Hurley

Authenticity

"I wanted to try to convey this sense of authenticity in my video by highlighting the loneliness that many people (myself included) feel and find in their surroundings. The decision to go with the 4:3 aspect ratio was made in an attempt to box the viewer in, essentially to make them feel trapped by loneliness. Additionally, I chose to do without color as I feel black and white can elicit a certain “beautiful” bleakness from an image."

Lens: SIGMA 45mm F2.8 DG DN | C

Precision

Be meticulous. Show how your technical skill and attention to detail brings your work to another level.

At SIGMA it is our fundamental philosophy to pursue the utmost possible precision for each part and then fine-tune our lenses. We do this not because we assume our lenses to be imprecise, but to maintain the stoic manufacturing philosophy that has defined us. No matter how much time goes by, the ideals of my father continue to influence us.”

- Kazuto Yamaki – Sein, The Essentials, Winter 2017.

Photography

Juliette Poirier Headshot

Juliette Poirier

  • School:
    University of California, Los Angeles
  • Instagram:
    @ jul_iette
Juliette Poirier precision entry image

Nathan’s Focus

"A luthier is a person who makes and/or repairs stringed musical instruments, such as guitars or violins. During restorations, the luthier mustn’t leave a trace of their hand, out of respect for the original maker of the instrument. A luthier must be organized, meticulous and patient. Luthiers are masters of both artistic and technical skills.

The art of photography is, without doubt, a craft that takes years to master, not unlike luthiering."

Lens: SIGMA 40mm F1.4 DG HSM | A

Film

Justin Steele Headshot

Justin Steele

  • School:
    Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Twitter:
    @inexlens

Trial by Fire

"When shooting this project, the idea was to capture the meticulous nature that all high-level chefs must have. Pizzeria Vittoria in Savannah, GA was voted best pizza in the state of Georgia by Food and Wine magazine. This achievement doesn't come without a strict attention to detail. Owner and head chef Kyle Jacovino tells us that most people don't consider pizza to be a medium through which precision expresses itself, our goal was to shine a light on this misconception."

Lens: SIGMA Cine 35mm T1.5

Inspiration

Be motivated. Demonstrate what inspires you to create and strive to improve, no matter the obstacles.

If you asked me who my mentor was, I will immediately give you the name of SIGMA’s founder, my father Michihiro Yamaki. His determination, philosophy, poise and conduct as a manager have had a monumental influence over me in many ways.”

- Kazuto Yamaki – Sein, The Essentials, Autumn, 2015

Photography

EAudrey Biche-Cais Headshot

Audrey Biche-Cais

  • School:
    American Film Institute Conservatory
  • Instagram:
    @audrey_biche
Audrey Biche-Cais honorary mention

The Rise of a Giraffe

"One of the most creatively challenging aspects of making a film is developing a visual language. Establishing a language takes long hours of conversations with the director and producers. We’re looking for inspiration together, watching films, throwing references at each other, and slowly carving out what the film’s vocabulary will be. It is one of the rare instances of complete freedom; an open space where anything goes, it’s collaborative, exciting, and always new. It is an ongoing journey, requiring persistence and dedication. We share experiences and memories, moments of uncontrollable laughter and heartbreak. Shooting a film is trusting, learning, failing, and making choices. It’s about staying open to new people and original ideas. I believe it’s about finding what’s important to you and bringing it to the table.

Maybe, inspiration leads you to dress as a giraffe at 4 am, drive in the dark for two hours, get out in the middle of the desert in the freezing cold, and wait for the sunrise. Just maybe."

Lens: SIGMA 14mm F1.8 DG HSM | Art

Film

Joseph Kitchens Headshot

Joseph Kitchens

I See Her

"My film embodies the core value of inspiration by showing the life of someone who inspires me, and the things that keep her inspired. My girlfriend Katie is an inspiring woman who helps me to grow and understand more about life, which in turn affects all I do, including my art. She herself is an inspiring person."

Lens: SIGMA 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | A

Honor

Be proud. Family, dignity, ambition… illustrate how your art represents something much more than meets the eye.

It is the workers at our factory in Aizu. Even during everyday, trivial conversations, I am often reminded and surprised at the pride and ambition they have regarding their work. Aizu people will rarely talk about their work or the products they create, no matter how proud they feel about them. But if a fraction of their dignity is felt in the products they manufacture and send across the oceans (usually by plane, so perhaps “across the sky” would be more accurate…) into so many countries of the world, then there could be no greater joy for me, who feels lucky to work in the same company with them.”

- Kazuto Yamaki – Sein, The Essentials, Summer, 2019

Photography

Mallory Grossman Headshot

Mallory Grossman

Mallory Grossman honor entry image

820

"‘820.’ It’s the address of where I’ve lived my whole life. And although I moved away for college and now film school, there’s still only one place in the world that I think of when I think of ‘home.’ I think about my home – my address – and it makes me think of family. There are so many things my parents have taught me that have taken place in that home – so many moments of joy and sadness, frustration and success. Someday, my parents will have to leave this house (its many stairs were a plight to my older relatives for years). But when they do, at the very least I’ll have this photograph to honor the only address I’ve ever considered ‘home.’"

Lens: SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | A

Film

Sofia Ayerdi Headshot

Sofia Ayerdi

  • School:
    California State University Northridge
  • Youtube:
    Sofia Ayerdi

Bonsai

"When I first decided to visit Robert Pressler at Kimura Bonsai Nursery, my intention was to portray SIGMA’s core value of "Precision" due to the nature of Bonsai trees. To my surprise, when I got to the nursery and started talking to Mr. Pressler, I discovered "Honor" was a better core value to describe the process of cultivating Bonsai trees, which also takes time and patience. Greatness is not created overnight. It takes years of hard work perfecting even the smallest detail in order to have a great art form as a result."

Lens: SIGMA Cine 85mm T1.5 & SIGMA Cine 35mm T1.5

Honorable Mentions

While we could select only one winning photograph and film per category, we wanted to include these additional submissions for their display of skill and creativity.

Photography

Gratten Perea

Gratten Perea honorary mention

Sijia Ma

Sijia Ma honorary mention

Eric Skadson

Eric Skadson inspiration entry image

Film

Charles Gleberman

Luisa Dale Silva

Gustave Reed