WA Professional Photography Awards 2019
I entered my third WA Professional Photography Awards this year since joining the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photographers) in 2017. The WA Professional Photography Awards is the State's most prestigious photography awards; its aim is to foster and advance a high level of professional and artistic standard in the creation of photographic imagery.
I entered five prints -- four in the "Travel" category, and an entry to the "Landscape - Single Capture" category (ie. landscape photographs taken without compositing stitching), and came away with an award for my entries: Travel Professional Photographer of the Year Finalist!
I thought I'd share the images and their stories. In many cases, we "consume" images without knowing much about the moments leading up to their capture; and I think images, especially those which may have a more travel documentary nature, can have another level of resonance when you reveal the stories about their capture.
So, here are the images:
Pilgrims to the holy city of Varanasi have their heads shaved by barbers on the ghats, as a sign of penance and purification. They then bathe in the Ganges river, washing away impurities and sins. This was taken during the "Lens on India" tour that I ran with Mick Porter this year, and was shot on our last morning in Varanasi as we wandered the ghats in small groups, chasing light and happenings. Varanasi is rapidly changing as more and more tourists visit each year, adding their numbers to that of the swell of Hindu pilgrims here for devotional reasons. It won't be long before the "Varanasi Vibe" changes, and I fervently hope that there will always be parts of it that will remain untouched by commercial tourism. This print scored a Silver Award in Travel.
This was a passing moment one quiet morning in the old town of Korcula (in Croatia) where I visited last year. The nun is the caretaker of a nearby chapel and every morning would be out with her broom sweeping the pavements. She was a small woman, rather bird-like, with a brisk manner and a no-nonsense expression. Later in the day, she would bring in large baskets of herbs and dried flowers into the chapel to fill that hallowed space with the sweet scent of the spring fields. Korcula turned out to be my favourite place in Croatia for its small, compact size and beautiful harbours and swimming coves. This print scored a Silver Award in Travel.
This is one of my favourite images from the time Mick Porter and I spent in Kolkata after we wrapped up the "Lens on India" tour. This man's name is Ramkumar Sharma and he is one of the teachers (guru-ji) at the wrestling akhara near Howrah Bridge (visible in the background). I had the best time hanging out with the wrestlers across the many, many hours I spent with them at the akhara. I felt so embedded and connected and accepted, making this one of most amazing travel experiences I've had in years! Guru-ji Ramkumar doesn't speak English but we still managed to connect, thanks muchly to Rahul Nopani, another wrestler at the akhara, who helped with translating. For these men, wrestling is a discipline, with lifestyle and behaviour rules that must be strictly adhered to. This print scored a Silver Award in Travel.
The mighty sand dunes of Khonggor in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia has to be seen to be believed. As many of you know, I spent some time in Mongolia on a "recce" trip and while much of the Gobi Desert reminded me of our own outback, the dunes here were certainly a sight to see. We came here to shoot in the late afternoon and into sunset. The sand in the dunes is very fine, but with a yellowish hue that turns remarkably golden and orange in the light of the setting sun.This print did very well and scored a Silver with Distinction Award in Travel.
While on the New Zealand South Island Photography Tour that I ran with Ty Stedman last year, we rounded the bend along Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown and came across this most amazing display of micro-weather in the peaks across the lake. Needless to say, we pulled up and everyone started shooting. The clouds, rain and light were just amazing and changed so quickly as the weather moved across the mountains. This print scored Silver in Landscape.
My scores in the Travel Category got me in as Travel Professional Photographer of the Year Finalist!
Thanks to the be-hatted Johannes Reinhart, lively Lynn Gail and the marvellous Mick Porter for to-and-fro discussions on entries leading up to the awards.
You can view all the award-winning images at: http://stateawards.aipp.com.au/WA/2019-wa-awards