The 2016 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year (APOTY) competition is now under way, and over the next few months we'll be catching up with our category winners from the 2015 competition. In this instalment, we talk to the winner of the 2015 Travel category, Glenn Elvy, about what he's been working on since his win last year.
D-Photo: What made you decide to enter the 2015 D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition?
Glenn Elvy: Without doubt the D-Photo APOTY competition is New Zealand’s blue-ribbon event for budding photographers. Previously I had made it to the final round in 2012 and 2013, but came up short both times. I didn’t enter in 2014, as I wanted to focus on strengthening my portfolio. I targeted 2015.
What was it like to have such a positive outcome in winning your category of the competition?
It was a terrific feeling to open the magazine and see my image, especially as this category is very important to me. I also think it justified taking the year out to focus solely on my photography.
Can you tell us the story behind your winning image?
The image was taken in Cambodia outside Bayon Temple (built in 1190AD by King Jayavarman VII), however the focus of the people in the image was not on the 12th-century temple, but the little blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl. I like the different layers and stories in the image.
What gear did you use to capture your image? Are you using the same gear now or have you changed your preferred equipment?
I used a Canon 7D with a Canon 17–55mm lens. For travel photography I go with two 7D bodies — I recently had one fail in Thailand, so I always pack two. One has the 17–55mm, the other with a 70–200mm F4 IS lens.
What projects are you currently working on at the moment? Can you provide a bit of an explanation about what inspired you to work on this or these?
The project I am currently really proud of is photographing rescue animals for Causes for Animals here in Singapore. I am just coming up to 100 dogs, and of those around 88 per cent have been rehomed. It is really challenging as most of the dogs have been subjected to some kind of abuse. This has taught me a lot about how to build trust and respect with animals. I am also heavily into photographing street cats. I am planning on visiting Myanmar and going back to Hanoi and the slum area of Bangkok this year to continue this project.
What inspired you to pick up a camera for the first time, and how long have you been shooting?
Back in 2000 I was completing a Diploma in Visual Merchandising and Design at RMIT University in Melbourne. Part of the course took in photography (the last days of film). I fell in love with the storytelling aspect of photography, which was very similar to visual merchandising, and I was hooked.
What would you say to someone considering entering the competition, but who are a little hesitant in clicking the ‘submit’ button?
If you have decided that photo comps are for you then you have to start somewhere … go for it! But do remember to keep your expectations in check — I have had way more photos rejected than ever accepted. If you don’t win, don’t judge or compare your work too much. We all see things in a different way — put a positive spin on it and get back out there.