Professional photographer Miles Willis scored a double win for his artful capture ‘Portrait of a flyman at Hackney Empire’, taking home both the ‘Behind the Scenes’ category title and the overall accolade of ‘Best Event Photograph of the Year 2015’.
Amateur talent Ocean Belcher, from New Zealand, transported judges to a passionate rendezvous between two lovers at a party, as they found themselves lost in the music surrounding them. Her image was named winner of the ‘Music Events’ category.
Best ‘Cultural Event’ image came from commercial and lifestyle photographer Dave Bird for his characterful photo titled ‘Pride’, which also won second place in the best overall event photography of the year. Speaking of the photo, which Bird says happened very spontaneously on the London Underground one afternoon as the festival goers overheard the lady tell a friend it was her birthday, judges said, ‘The photo beautifully illustrates the way cultural events draw people together and transcend society. It captures the true essence and joy of Pride.’
Other winners on the night included Antony Alexandrou in ‘Private Events & Weddings’, Martin James in ‘Corporate Events’ and in ‘Experiential & Trade Shows’, and Steve Fleming in the ‘Sporting Events’ category, who wowed judges with the grueling drama and beautiful scenery captured in his photograph of two cyclists tackling The Fred Whitton Challenge in the Yorkshire Dales. Fleming’s image also won him high commendation from judges in the overall best event photography of the year.
Managing Director of staffing agency Off to Work and founder of the awards, Philip Atkins, said, “New categories for 2015 captured the imagination of both amateur and professional photographers and we received more than double the number of entries this year.
“Images ranged from revealing captures of personal moments at private weddings and behind-the-scenes preparation for corporate events, to energetic action shots at sporting events, gigs and festivals. Judges were looking for photographs that freeze-framed the essence of producing or experiencing live events and we judged each photo entirely on its content and technique.
“As an industry we’re all about stirring up emotions and creating memorable moments for guests and we’re very excited by the opportunity to recognise the power of great photography in telling the story of an event experience.”
Judging, which took place at the Barbican in March, saw an influential panel of events professionals split into five groups and draw up an initial shortlist of their favourite images in each category. A top three was then created from the highest scoring images across all groups’ top five selections. The overall winner of the Event Photography Awards achieved the highest score overall.
Sponsors of the awards evening included Off to Work, who provided waiting staff and cocktail bartenders, the Barbican, Perton Signs, who produced the photo prints to create the gallery, Exposure Communications, whose managing director Simon Burton compèred the awards ceremony, and Aztec Signs.
All the winning photographs will be displayed, with the help of sponsor Perton Signs, at Square Meal’s Venues & Events Live exhibition at Old Billingsgate in September.