Photography News issue 24


Photography News Issue 24


Bird Photographer of the Year Flying high A new photo comp has taken off and it’s all about birds. We speak to organiser and judge of the British Bird Photographer of the Year, Rob Read, to find out more

The competition subject is very specific; why do you think it’ll work? It’s a targeted competition that provides the opportunity for a growing interest in birds to be celebrated visually. There are so many species of bird and they have such diversity as a group, no wonder so many people dedicate their lives to studying and recording their varied habits. You only have to look at the growing interest in birds generally and the spread of digital photography to realise that it will be a popular competition. Recording bird sightings on a camera is the modern birder’s notebook and method of choice. The photo industry is flooded with competitions, what do you hope will make yours stand out from the rest? Firstly it promotes a strong conservation message through its financial support for the BTO. It also provides the entrants with the

Interview by Megan Croft

What role do you take in the competition? I am responsible for organising the competition in conjunction with the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology); the project manager if you like. From appointing the web development team and overseeing the web build, to sponsor negotiations, marketing and promotion and everything in between. Why was the climate right to launch the comp now? Digital technology has revolutionised photography; particularly in the last two or three years. Major advances have been made with top-end DSLRs and everything from bridge cameras to smartphones. Pretty much everyone takes pictures and some surprisingly good ones at that.

It’s a targeted competition that provides the opportunity for a growing interest in birds to be celebrated visually

opportunity for recognition and the chance to be published in the competition book. Importantly, there are great prizes on offer too. The top prize for the winning image is £5000 withgenerous category-winner andrunner-up prizes available from our sponsors Swarovski Optik, Alamy and Country Innovation. Not only this, but there is also a prize of £2000 for the best portfolio of six images, recognising a consistency of skill and technique; something many competitions seem to overlook.

And young photographers aren’t forgotten about either. We think it’s important to nurture the next generation and have partnered with the Cameron Bespolka Trust to offer the Young Bird Photographer of the Year title in Cameron’s memory. Cameron was a talented young birder who was tragically killed in an accident two years ago. All images submitted by entrants under 18 on the date the competition closes will automatically be entered for this prize.

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