The first ever competition to recognize and celebrate the art of music photography has come to an end, with the winners revealed on Saturday at a London awards ceremony hosted at the world's most famous recording studio.
Abbey Road Studios is responsible for bringing the inaugural Music Photography Awards (MPAs) to life, co-founded by renowned photographer, Rankin, and in association with Hennessy.
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The very first Music Photography Awards (opens in new tab) was created to honor 2021’s most unforgettable and unique music moments, as well as the talented music photographers who captured them. An awards ceremony was held at the studios on Saturday hosted by BBC Radio presenter, Matt Everitt, announcing the winners.
This year's stellar judging panel alongside Rankin included music artists Moses Sumney and Shygirl, legendary photographers Jill Furmanovsky and Dana Scruggs, Rolling Stone's deputy picture editor Sacha Lecca, and Abbey Road's managing director Isabel Garvey. Abbey Road's photographer-in-residence Simon Wheatley also joined the judges to assist with the Championing Scenes category.(opens in new tab)
The four open award categories for photographers to enter were: Studio Photography, Live Music Photography, Championing Scenes and Undiscovered Photographer. In addition, there were four additional closed-entry invite-only category awards, the Icon Award, Portrait Photography Award, Editorial Photography Award and Artist at Work Photography Award.
Lastly, the Zeitgeist Award exists to celebrate the image that defines the music scene in 2021, selected from the existing category winners and chosen specially by the judges.(opens in new tab)
The 2022 MPA winner of the Championing Scenes category was Northern Irish photographer Megan Doherty (opens in new tab), best known for her debut book ‘Stoned In Melanchol’ documenting her adolescence in the Irish city of Derry. Her image (above) features her friends shooting some street-style night portraits, and in her own words, celebrates the underdog, and the incredible irish music scene.
Winner of the Live category, supported by Philips, was photographer John Lyons (opens in new tab) with his black and white image (below) of drummer David Mrakpor, performing with rising popular jazz artist, Ruben Fox.(opens in new tab)
The Studio Photography category, supported by Bowers & Wilkins, was won by Jack McKain (opens in new tab) with a shot (below) of rapper, singer, and producer, Pink Siifu, taken while the artist was playing guitar in the studio.(opens in new tab)
Photographer Joe Puxley (opens in new tab)’s vibrant portrait of British singer-songwriter and poet, Arlo Parks, (below) awarded him with a win for the Undiscovered category, that was supported by adidas.(opens in new tab)
The highly-commended Zeitgeist award was won by Chris Suspect (opens in new tab) with his black and white shot of John Henry singing to a crowd while performing with his metal band, Darkest Hour ,at a brewery in Washington, DC.
The invited category, Artist At Work, was won by Greg Noire (opens in new tab) for his black and white live action shot (below) that features musician KennyHoopla performing at ACL festival in Austin Texas, US.(opens in new tab)
Photographer Samuel Trotter (opens in new tab) wins in the Editorial category with an interestingly composed black and white shot featuring American rapper, Polo G (on a horse) watching over his son, (image below).(opens in new tab)
The Portrait category was won by Ukrainian photographer Yana Yatsuk (opens in new tab) with her beautifully natural and intimate portrait (below) of singer-songwriter, King Princess. Finally, the recipient of this year’s MPA Icon Award (opens in new tab) was Eric Johnson (opens in new tab), best known for his work photographing the US music culture of the late 90s and early 2000s.(opens in new tab)
Abbey Road Studios' Managing Director and MPA competition judge, Isabel Garvey, says:
"Everyone at Abbey Road Studios is thrilled with the quality of the entries and winners in our first Music Photography Awards. More broadly, we’re also incredibly encouraged by the way in which the MPAs has been embraced across the arts and creative landscape. It’s been brilliant to create a platform to recognise emerging and established talent in this important field, and we’re already looking forward to doing it all again in 2023!"
The next edition of the Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards will require music photographers to submit entries that were taken this year (2022) only, so there's no better time to dust off your best low-light cameras (opens in new tab) and get back to capturing the energy of gigs and post-pandemic music portraits!
• Read more:
How to photograph live music (opens in new tab)
Let the music play! Tips for photographing live music (opens in new tab)
Legendary album covers on display in 'For the Record' (opens in new tab)
Opinion: Why I think the 'first three, no flash' rule when photographing gigs needs updating (opens in new tab)