TWO Hobart photographers have snapped up top spots at the national Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) Awards, held last month.
More than 250 of the country’s best professional photographers gathered in Sydney for the awards presentation, which was a culmination of three days of intense photography judging by experts in the photographic industry.
Hobart local Matt Palmer took out the title of 2019 AIPP Australian Professional Photographer of the Year for his powerful landscape images depicting the devastation caused by climate change, while West Hobart resident Andrew McConachy was named AIPP Australian Travel Photographer of the Year.
Mr Palmer, a former Brisbane photographer now living in Hobart, is a passionate environmentalist and said landscape photographers had a responsibility to tell stories of the changing world.
“The photographs I submitted this year came at a great cost, as 3.5 per cent (approximately 500,000 acres) of Tasmania burned during the summer past,” he said.
“Habitats were destroyed, pristine forest, natural communities of rare plants, trees and animals were wiped off the earth by firestorms that were unfathomable in size and inescapable.
“The aftermath made for dramatic photography, but in taking something from the Earth, I am left owing something.”
Mr Palmer said his photography was an attempt to repay his debt to nature, captured in places he visited before the fires and telling the story of their transformation.
The image of ‘cockatoo in a tree’, taken in the Hartz Mountains area south of Hobart, was taken after the land had been cleared by forestry.
“The only reason I could photograph the yellow tree so clearly was the land I was standing on had been completely cleared,” he said.
“I was standing on a hill of nothing more than mud and burnt tree trunks.
“Photography has helped me see the world in a different way and motivated me to experience moments such as standing in 100kph winds on the Tarkine Coast, watching six-metre waves crashing into the jagged rocks.”
Mr Palmer is well known in the photographic community for bringing awareness to social issues.
Mr McConachy, on the other hand, works as an engineer for a consulting firm when he’s not running his photography business.
“I’ve been a professional photographer for seven years but my interest in photography began as a child when my parents gave me a plastic Diana Camera,” he said.
Mr McConachy said his love of travel photography stemmed from meeting different people and experiencing their cultures while visiting other regions of the world.
“I also have a great love of architecture, which features strongly in all my images,” he said.
“My image of a bike at the base of stairs was inspired by the great Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Hyères image taken in France in 1932.
“The image is about the fleeting moment of the bike rider, but also the incredibly beautiful architecture of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.
“I waited just more than an hour before the bike came past in the perfect spot.
“Another image is of Fanelli’s Café in SoHo, New York, which, during the prohibition period from 1920 to 1933, was used as a Speakeasy.
“The café building is one of the oldest in New York and has stood at this location among the cobblestone streets of SoHo since 1847.”
Mr McConachy said he wanted to show diversity and celebrate different cultures in his photographs.
“Sending a message of acceptance and valuing each other’s differences is something that’s needed in the world right now,” he said.
For more information about the AIPP Awards, visit www.aippappa.com.
Photo credit: Matt Palmer.