Photography News issue 20

14

Competitions City slicking INTERVIEW

Working for CBRE, a leading global real estate advisory firm, Paul Suchman, global chief marketing officer, found himself involved in one of the most successful competitions of its kind, the Urban Photographer of the Year competition. Here he explains more about the roots and aims of the distinguished awards

Interview by Megan Croft

Can you tell us about your role within the competition and how you came to be involved? As the global chief marketing officer, all CBRE’s brandbuilding and campaign-focusedprogrammes roll up to me. When I joined the firm the Urban Photographer of the Year (UPOTY) competition was well established and very healthy. I inherited a powerful and wonderfully creative gem. My role in UPOTY is threefold: to extend the competition’s reach to global markets; to elevate the creativity and investment into promotional work supporting the competition; and to give our regional marketing teams the space to drive awareness and participation. We’ve got an incredibly talented and passionate team driving this. CBRE is a global real estate services and investment firm. Where did the idea for a photography competition come from? The competition started in Portugal in 2006, to engage the local community by celebrating the beauty and technical sophistication of the built environment. It was so well received that we extended it across Europe, then Asia and eventually globally. The theme of UPOTY is ‘cities at work’, a

investment firm, we are aware of this responsibility. Our collection of Urban Photographer books is rapidly becoming an archive of changing fashions, landscapes and cultures. Why do you think this competition in particular has been so successful and grown so quickly? Two reasons: firstly, the world of photography has opened up to a wider audience with the rise of mobile technology and the accessibility to less expensive and higher quality equipment. Taking photos is now as pervasive as texting and people use them to document every aspect of their daily life. Secondly, the competition and all supporting communications have an aspirational nature, appealing to both amateur and professional photographers. We’ve built an outlet for creativity that allows people to share their perspectives on the urban environment with people across the globe. Simplicity and creativity… a powerful recipe. Where do you receive the most entries from and where would you like to get more from? The competition began in Europe and the momentum remains strong across the continent.

simple yet pervasive idea that has relevance in all markets. The clarity and possibility of this brief has helped it catch fire in every market. Why the theme ‘cities at work’ specifically? At CBRE, the built environment is the canvas we paint upon. We play a pivotal role in the development of urban environments and remain committed to positively shaping the future of our cities. The competition enables an inspiring glimpse into urban environments around the globe, views we might not otherwise see. The photos submitted constantly influence our perceptions and thinking about cities. It’s fascinating, highly educational and often humbling. The competition set out to enhance the profile of the built environment. Has that happened? Absolutely. Our cities are in a constant state of reinvention as populations grow, economies flex and consumption trends evolve. Documenting and honouring the built environment is a very powerful way to understand its impact on the wider environment and communities. As the world’s largest commercial real estate services and

Simplicity and creativity... a powerful recipe

ABOVE LEFT 2014 Youth Category 13-15 Winner Sarah Scarborough’s A Distant Silhouette. ABOVE RIGHT 2014 Americas Winner Johanna Siegmann’s Buffer Zone.

Photography News | Issue 20

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