Photography News issue 20



Today, the highest numbers of entries come from that region, Eastern Europe in particular. As we expanded globally, entries from India and China have been growing. We want that to continue and to gain momentum across more Asian markets. The power of the images from this region is simply stunning. The Americas too is growing and we’re pleased with the raw creativity from that region. Our penetration in tier-one markets is very strong as would be expected given the built environment brief, but as new economies emerge, we expect growth from new markets. Have any entries stood out to you in particular over the years? We’ve received almost 50,000 photographs since the competition started, so it’s quite a challenge to highlight just a few. That said, those entries that challenge our perceptions or shed a new light on an existing topic tend to stand out the most. Has the competition changed or influenced your perception of how people interact with their cities? Yes, it has. Regardless of cultural and economic differences, the human race has more in common than we might think. At a basic level, we’re all rising, commuting, working, striving, eating and socialising every day. It’s amazing to get glimpses into how these activities are impacted by urban environments across the globe. Participants can enter up to 24 photos to represent the hours of the day. Have many taken up the full challenge? The average number of photos per participant has risen year-on-year, but we don’t see many people submitting 24 images. Unique to UPOTY is the sheer volume of winners. We award an overall winner, one per region and 24-hourly winners. We also have a student category, and this year have introduced a mobile category. These new additions are dramatically increasing entries as the mobile device affords such immediacy. The majority of entries are taken between 8am and 10pm, so it’s a challenge to stand out during those hours. While we receive less volume of photos midnight to 8am, these are often the most provocative and interesting. The use of light, activities captured and general tone of the photos during these hours are fantastic. Is there a particular hour that generally throws up the most interesting kinds of shots?

Take your camera with you on your commute, get snapping on a day trip to the city but whatever you do make sure you enter your best shots in this year’s Urban Photographer of the Year competition. You can submit an image to represent any hour of the day, but be sure to get it in before the closing date of 31 July 2015. All entries must be submitted via the website. Callingallurbanites Do different countries have micro trends in terms of what city life typically looks like? Inevitably, yes. Trends unique to European, Asian and American cities are captured. Some expected, others not. It’s remarkable how many similarities can be drawn, even among the most diverse cities. Is there any city scene you’d like to see represented more within UPOTY? And why? As the competition evolves and photos taken on mobile devices increase, we hope to see more amazing, split second moments. We want people to extend their creative potential finding new ways to celebrate the built environment. Are the winning images exhibited anywhere? Weexhibit them inour officesworldwideandpublish them in the highly coveted Urban Photographer of the Year book. It’s exclusive though we often get requests to purchase the book. We’re exploring formal exhibition opportunities, so we can share the creativity and diversity of the images with broader communities. What are your ambitions for UPOTY’s future? Next year we celebrate the competition’s tenth year and we’ll plan for something special to commemorate the milestone. UPOTY enables our brand to flex its creative muscle and makes us more relevant to general consumers. We’ll look to build on this creativity and brand elasticity. π To find out more, go to

How did you go about selecting the judging panel? What kind of mix did you want? We have a great group of judges, a number of whom have been on the panel for years. We are delighted to have Caroline Metcalfe with her deep knowledge of photo editing and publication, and Riccardo Busi who brings us closer to FIAP. Going forward, we’ll continue to diversify the panel geographically and from an industry perspective. What was the motivation behind appointing Martin Grahame-Dunn as chairman of judges? While the competition started in Europe, Asia and the Middle East (EMEA), the long-term objective is to become truly global. Martin reflects this ambition and is a respected teacher and judge with a long list of fellowships. He has established assessment criteria and judging panels for many national photographic associations and chaired international competition judging panels in EMEA. He’s an international member of and trains extensively with the board of the Professional Photographers Association. What are the judges looking for? Is it technique or subject? Neither; those are table stakes we expect from all entries. Rather, we ask our judges to look for people who capture something special and tell a story through their image. That’s what unifies the photographers who make it into our book, an ability to capture an acute and unique observation. What are your top tips for success in UPOTY? We receive a lot of common perspectives, familiar subjects and angles. We long for unusual views, different approaches to capturing emotion and innovative use of light and environments. We want people to capture truth, energy and passion. What makes a winning image? If you look through the book, you’ll notice a theme. Each image captures a story and brings a city to life. It’s not enough to take a photo of a stunning skyscraper; we are looking for images that tell stories and provide a view into the urban environment that others might not see.

We have received almost 50,000 photographs since the competition started

ABOVE 2014 Asia Pacific Winner Ly Haong Long’s Net Mending. BELOW 2014 Overall Winner Marius Vieth’s Mask of Society.

Issue 20 | Photography News

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