Irish Times Amateur Photographer of the Year Awards 2013
We’re offering prizes of €1,000 each for best photographer and best photograph
Michael O’Sullivan of the Irish Photographic Federation, who is also a judge for this contest, estimates that Ireland has about 100 amateur-photography clubs and societies, with more than 10,000 members. In recent years they have done very well in international competitions, he says, and as a country Ireland is becoming known for a distinctive style of amateur photography.
“We have a very strong balance between documentary, reporting style and creative work,” he says. “If you look at the UK, for example, it is very skewed towards the postprocessing side of things. That’s not the same here.”
Last year’s winner
Last year’s Irish Times Amateur Photographer of the Year, Amaia Arenzana, decided to take a break from her work as a family therapist to devote more time to photography.
After several years as a keen photographer, she entered several categories in the 2012 contest on the advice of a friend. Winning the title – which took her by surprise – has given her the confidence to pursue photography more formally. She is also a judge in this year’s competition.
“When I started out I had a DSLR camera I didn’t know how to use, but over time I got better,” she says. “The award has given me confidence, and I have applied to do a part-time course at the National College of Art and Design in photography. I also allowed myself to get a nice new camera.”
Arenzana takes photographs every day, many of them documenting her family life and the changes in her children’s lives. “For me it is very spontaneous. If I feel something I grab the camera and take a picture. It has to be something that strikes me or moves me.
“You might ask, then, why am I going to college now to study photography? For me it is the chance to meet new people and to learn about new things. Photography is something I do on my own. I want to learn from others, and the award has helped me realise this.”
Her message for anyone considering entering the Irish Times Amateur Photographer of the Year contest is simple: “There is no real technical advice I can give. You have to figure things out for yourself. The best advice I was given was to just go for it.”
This competition is open to amateur photographers worldwide. Full terms and conditions are here. The competition home page is here