Australia dominates SWPP Photographer of the Year Awards

man and woman in ropes fine art
(Image credit: SWPP, Kristian Piccoli)

The winners of the Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers' prestigious Photographer of the Year Awards have been announced – and Australia dominated the top slots.  

There were 29 categories covering all aspects of photography, judged by some of the most esteemed photographic Fellows, Masters and Grand Masters in the UK and across the world. 

As is custom, all entries that gained a coveted Gold award during the past year were put forward into the annual judging process, where their maker had the opportunity to earn an elusive Photographer of the Year Award.

This year's grand winner was selected from the typically creative Open Avant Garde category. Australian-based fine art photographer Kristian Piccoli scooped the top spot in Avant-Garde, Monochrome, Illustrative, In Camera Artistry and Visual Narrative categories.

"This is an absolutely stunning image which evokes great emotion from all the judges," noted the judging panel of Piccoli's photograph (above). "The tone of the image and the storytelling aspect work incredibly well together. An image truly representative of the Open Avant Garde category."

(Image credit: SWPP, Belinda Richards)

Overall second place Photographer of the Year also went to an Australian, Belinda Richards. Hers was the winning shot (above) within the Pet Portrait category, where the judges said:

"A perfectly composed and completely unique image which shows one of the main personality traits of cats… curiosity! An image which any cat owner would love to have of their pet."

The 2020 Monthly Image Competition had 9,804 images submitted in 29 categories throughout the year, representing a broad selection of photographic subjects from the SWPP membership, including a broad spectrum of professional fields. 

(Image credit: SWPP, Terry Donnelly)

This included the Press & PR category, where first place was picked up by Sony Ambassador Terry Donnelly for his shot of Liverpool FC fans outside Anfield Stadium as the club picked up the Premier League title last year. 

"I'm sure a lot of us remember this scene from outside Anfield Stadium in June of last year," commented the judges. "This image has captured the truly historic moment of Liverpool winning the Premier League, and has done it well, which of course is what press photography is all about. Well Done Terry!"

Donnelly also earned the top spot in the Sport category, and also collected the most Gold awards overall.

The competition is free to enter for SWPP members, and you can see all the winning entries and nominees here. To find out more about joining the Societies, you can get more info via the SWPP website.

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Alistair Campbell

Alistair is the Features Editor of Digital Camera magazine, and has worked as a professional photographer and video producer.