The 2016 Epson/NZIPP Iris Professional Photography Awards are sneaking up fast with an early-bird registration closing date of May 30, and a final closing date for entries being June 6. This year's awards includes a brand-new category of Wildlife and Wild Places, which is open to any person earning an income from photography.
This category focuses on the submission of images that celebrate the beauty, wonder, and diversity of nature. It is hoped that the images will encourage interest in the outdoors and bring greater awareness to our natural world — and the need to protect what nature has to offer.
Images submitted to this category must be of nature, and must showcase wildlife or plant life in its natural habitat. This includes land animals, mammals, aquatic life, as well as natural landscapes and environments, astrological scenes, birds, insects, amphibions, repitles, and flora. It is not a category where submissions of domestic animal, farm animal, and captive wild animal images are accepted.
Darren Jew is a multi-award winner of a similar category of the Australian Professional Photography Awards, hosted by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, and will be on the judging panel for the inaugural Wildlife and Wild Places category at the Epson/NZIPP Iris Professional Photography Awards. We spoke with Jew about his work and achievements, and what he's looking forward to about judging the category.
D-Photo: Your work has a very strong nature focus — what started your interest in photographing elements of our natural world?
Darren Jew: From a young age I was exposed to adventure, nature and the ocean, and photography ... I'm sure those influences have left their mark.
You’ve won the Canon/AIPP Australian Professional Science, Environment and Nature Photographer of the Year award five times! What does that mean to you?
The APPAs have been a really important part of my life since I started entering in 2007. The category wins are great, but the most important part of the process for me is selecting and preparing my entry ... the personal challenge and goals I set myself are the most beneficial part.
Why do you think it’s important as photographers to document nature and environment?
So many people are disconnected from the natural world; I guess I feel that one thing I can do is to help them reconnect. If they reconnect they might then start to show a little more respect.
For photographers wanting to get started with wildlife and nature photography, where would you recommend they begin?
Get a good understanding of photography and the subjects you want to shoot.
You’ll be judging the brand-new category of Wildlife and Wild Places included in this year’s Epson/NZIPP Iris Professional Photography Awards. What will you be looking for?
I'll be looking for the same thing that I look for in any photography: skill, creativity, emotion, and innovation.
With this new category’s focus on in-camera capture rather than heavily Photoshopped imagery, how do you think this focus could enhance the images captured within this category?
The documentary genres offer us a reflection of reality — single-capture images have a level of authenticity for the viewer that can't be matched by composites.
For more information about the awards and where to enter, click here.