Photography News | Issue 31 | absolutephoto.com
Left David Godfrey won the Nature category with his image of a puffin in flight on Skomer Island. Below Stanley Dellimoren took this photo from the Olympic Tower in Munich and was fascinated by the shapes of hall and its scale.
category, as has always been the case, was incredibly strong, too. What was great this year was that entrants didn’t go for obvious faces, which we’ve seen a lot of in previous years. This is what makes our grand prize- winner so great. In this one shot of a leg-rowing fisherman in Myanmar, the photographer has managed to tell a story through great composition. People may argue it’s a bit of a cliché, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that there has been a great deal of thought and work behind the shot, which in this situation probably required quick thinking and great technical ability. What aspects do you look for in a winning image? What do you feel makes a photo stand out? It’s tough to pin it down to one or two key criteria, but I would say that, in five years of running the competition, we’re still looking to see photos and subject matter that we haven’t seen before. The story behind a photo is often just as important for us as the picture itself. Great technical ability should be a given, but we feel that a shot that captures a moment, gives a real sense of emotion and, most importantly, makes the viewer feel like they are there experiencing it for themselves, is crucial. Would you say there is a certain style of photography that comes across in the competition or are you seeing completely fresh work? I would like to think that all of the winning work is fresh and varied – this year’s shortlist was incredibly diverse in both style and subject matter. That said, we’re looking for photos that tell a story – they We’re looking for photos that tell a story – they obviously have to be travel-based, but narrative is also important
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obviously have to be travel-based, but a narrative is also important. This has certainly been exemplified in the portfolio category. Do you find that entries are from a certain level of photographer – professional or amateur – or is there a broad mix? There is a broad mix and what is great is that amateurs are having just as much luck in getting their imagery into the shortlist. It really goes back to what the photographer sees before they click – if they have a great composition, or are lucky to get that split-second moment, they have every chance of success. A good example is our photography winner from the nature category. The photographer decided he wanted to shoot a colony of puffins and didn’t seem to be having much luck, but with the last click before heading home he took his winning shot. Can you tell us about the judging process and who was on the panel? The process lasts around two months
between the competition closing and the winners being announced. When it closes, I work through the entries and devise a list of around ten images per category. This is then put in front of our judging panel, who spend several days deliberating before reaching a conclusion. I then collate their feedback, analyse the set of images as a whole and pull together a shortlist. We announce the shortlist and generate publicity ahead of our winners’ announcement, which took place at The Telegraph Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show in London this year. We then exhibited the winning images in London and Birmingham. On the judging panel this year alongside myself were Steve Davey, freelance photographer; Carol Enquist, senior photo editor, National Geographic Traveler magazine (US); Alastair Jolly, European manager for SmugMug; and Andy Greenhouse, co-founder of the creative motion agency Swhype. What were the winning prizes? Prizes included a five-night stay in the Serengeti for two, including a wildlife photography lesson with an on-site expert for the grand
prize winner, eight nights in Hanoi, Vietnam for the portfolio winner, four nights in an Arabian wildlife park in Abu Dhabi for the mobile winner, a seven-day Aurora Borealis photography course in Iceland for the photography winner, and a three- night five-star break in Ischia, Italy for the video winner. And the competition continues in 2016 and beyond? Yes! We’re already working hard to see where we can improve the competition, and are putting plans in place with regard to sponsors and prizes. Next time we want to expand on the success of the competition and push for more entries and even higher standards. While the portfolio category has been a great success, we need to work harder at mobile and video to get a larger response, and we may even look to include or adapt the mobile category to take advantage of Instagram as a way to enter. The shortlisted images are available to purchase as prints through theprintspace website at art.tt/y8p.
Above Peter Brisby made the shortlist with his images showing the lives of girls who had escaped the conflict in Myanmar.
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