Association of Photographers Awards 2021 winners revealed

Association of Photographers Awards 2021 winners revealed

By Matthew Tucker
BBC News

The winners of the 37th Association of Photographers (AOP) Awards have been revealed, with images on a range of subjects, including lockdowns during the pandemic.

Image source, Michael Wharley
Image caption,

Gold winner of the AOP Documentary category: Classical Beats on Brixton Streets – The Brixton Chamber Orchestra, by Michael Wharley

“The Covid pandemic meant the latest awards have been put together across two years, so we received many more moving image and series entries this time round than ever before and, as such, there is a strong sense of storytelling to the subjects,” AOP chief executive Isabelle Doran said.

“For my first awards as the incoming CEO, I am totally captivated by what the judges have selected for each of the awards and open projects as finalists – and the choice of winners is genuinely exciting to see, with more than half of our winners this year having never won an award before.”

Formed in 1968, the AOP is a trade association, with all revenue providing support for photographers.

Here are this year’s gold and silver winning entries, with captions from the photographers.

Documentary, gold: Classical Beats on Brixton Streets – The Brixton Chamber Orchestra, by Michael Wharley

Image source, Wharley Michael

“I photographed Brixton Chamber Orchestra’s diverse, characterful group of young, classically trained musicians, in a series of portraits that aimed to showcase both them and a vibrant, modern Brixton, while sensitively tracing connections to local history.”

Documentary, silver: Cold Water Swimmer, by Hannah Maule-ffinch

Image source, Hannah Maule-ffinch

“The series explores how humans are strongest when coming together in the face of adversity.

“It is the kindness and empathy of community that is the true healer in hard times.

“Loneliness, anxiety and uncertainty was widespread during lockdown – simple acts of kindness and friendship were enough to get many people though very hard times.”

Environment, gold: Neowise and Old Faithful, by Tony Gale

Image source, Tony Gale

“Old Faithful [a geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, US] has been photographed many times.

“In an attempt to make a different image, I photographed it at night while the comet Neowise was in the sky.”

Environment, silver: Gainsborough – Craft in Process, by Alun Callender

Image source, Alun Callender

“A short film made at the Gainsborough Mill, following the processes from the dye-house to winding, warping and weaving.”

Fashion, gold: Moon Growth, by Rocio Chacon

Image source, Rocio Chacon
Image source, Rocio Chacon

Food and Drink, gold: Pan Cake, by Catherine Losing

Image source, Catherine Losing

“A fun commission for Ikea.”

Food and Drink, silver: Childhood Cakes, by Richard Pullar

Image source, Richard Pullar

“When I was little, my mother would give us cake treats – usually, a Mr Kipling cake with strawberry milk, banana milk or cream.

“These images are heightened visuals of the anticipation moment from when I was about seven years old, an increasingly distant memory.”

Lifestyle, gold: Note, by Samuel Hicks

Image source, Samuel Hicks

“I was travelling home on the London Overground – and on the other side of the carriage, I saw a small poster with the poem Note by Leanne O’Sullivan.

“I read it over and over and it really got me.

“I decided I would like to make a film based on the poem.

“It was shot at the beginning of December, just as the UK was about to go into the second lockdown.”

Lifestyle, silver: Working from Home, by Igor Emmerich

Image source, Igor Emmerich

“I wanted to create a series of images that focused on the positive outcomes of the pandemic, such as working from home, celebrating our human ingenuity and our ability to adapt.

“It was a chaotic time, however, I decided to make the compositions very calm and balanced, bringing the sense of total harmony which we were all striving for.”

Portrait, gold: Gino, Butcher, by Orlando Gili

Image source, Orlando Gili

“The image was made for a commission by Ginger Pig, to capture realistic portraits of their butchers.

“Gino, a highly experienced Lithuanian butcher, carries a pig carcass over his shoulders.

“The idea behind the shoot was to celebrate butchery, without shying away from the realities of meat production.

“Gino was therefore captured in the blood-stained outfit he had arrived in, coming straight from a morning shift behind the counter.”

Portrait, silver: Sadiq Khan, by Charlie Clift

Image source, Charlie Clift

“I photographed the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, for the Sunday Times Magazine straight after the UK’s first lockdown.

“We had all been through such tough times, it was important to hear a leader talking so openly about that.”

Project, gold: Looking out from Within, by Julia Fullerton-Batten

Image source, Julia Fullerton-Batten
Image source, Julia Fullerton-Batten

“Covid-19 swept around the world and life changed, perhaps forever.

“From one day to the next, London, a vibrant exciting city, came to a sudden and emphatic halt.

“The humming of humanity quietened and it felt like someone had pressed the pause button on life.

“Together but apart, we were all united in limbo.

“The freedom we had always taken for granted was suddenly removed.”

Project, silver: Portrait of a Village, by Catherine Losing

Image source, Catherine Losing

“Portrait of a Village documents the Ukrainian village from which my family were taken by Nazis in 1942.

“I’m the first of my family to ever go back.

“The village has witnessed great horrors – epidemics, famines, invasions and murders.

“The original focus of the project was my relief to find such a welcoming and colourful place – a wonderful Ukrainian community that didn’t echo my Black Sea German ancestors’ dark history.

“The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has turned all of that on its head.

“I’m deeply concerned about everyone who was involved in the project and fear history is repeating itself.”

Sport, gold: Calcio Storico, by Stephen Ambrose

Image source, Stephen Ambrose

“Calcio storico is a game fought between the four districts of Florence, Italy, every year – 27 men in each team play a 50-minute game.

“The game has been played since the16th Century, in the Piazza Santa Croce.

“The rules are no sucker punches and only one-on-one fighting – but apart from this, pretty much anything goes.”

Sport, silver: Flying Stars, by Todd Antony

Image source, Todd Antony

“The civil war in Sierra Leone (1991-2002) not only killed more than 50,000 people, it also led to thousands of innocent civilians having legs, arms or hands forcibly amputated by rebel soldiers or from landmines and bullets.

“The Flying Star Amputees are a group of football teams across Sierra Leone, born out of the adversity of this war.

“All the players are victims of civil-war amputations and football has brought them happiness, confidence and hope for a better future for disabled people in Sierra Leone.”

Still Life and Object, gold: Drydock – Edinburgh, by Robert J Wilson

Image source, Robert Wilson

“The image was shot at Imperial Dry Dock Shipyard, in Edinburgh.

“This ship was having work done on its hull, whilst sitting in the drained dry dock.

“This viewpoint struck me for the structure and scale of the ship… a scale that is literally painted on the stern, showing the depth of the waterline.”

Still Life and Object, silver: Poly, by Nick Ballon

Image source, Nick Ballon

“This playful series forms the basis of Maharam’s newest print advertising campaign.”

All pictures are subject to copyright.