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TAG | IPPA National Photographic Awards

The 2014 IPPA Photographer of the Year is Peter Gordon. 

To see the winning images click here

Best Architectural Portfolio: Donal Murphy

Best Single Architectural Image: Enda Cavanagh

Best Commercial Advertising Single Image: Suzy McCanny

Best Fashion Portfolio: Dermot Byrne

Best Human Form Portfolio: Michael Hayes

Best Single Image Human Form: Michael Hayes

Best Landscape Portfolio: Peter Gordon

Best Single Landscape: Peter Gordon

Open Art & Creativity Portfolio: Mark Russell Hill

Open Art & Creativity  Single Image:  Mark Russell Hill

Best Classical Portraiture Portfolio: Claire Durkin

Best Single Image Classical Portraiture: Claire Durkin

Best Contemporary Portrait Portfolio (including pets): Michael Hayes

Best Contemporary Portrait Image: Cormac Byrne

Best Children’s Portrait Portfolio: Nicole Le Saout

Best Children’s Portrait Image: Nicola Webster

Best Press and Editorial Portfolio: Michael McLoughlin

Best Press and Editorial image: John Kavanagh

Best Pictorial Travel & Fine Art Portfolio: Michael McLoughlin

Best Pictorial Travel & Fine Art Image: Kelvin Gilmor

Best Classical Wedding Portfolio: Claire Durkin

Best Classical Wedding Image: Claire Durkin

Best Contemporary Wedding Portfolio: Michael McLoughlin

Best Contemporary Wedding Image: Nicola Webster

Best Wildlife Portfolio: Philip Pound

Best Wildlife Image: Phillip Pound

Best Reportage Wedding Portfolio: Dermot Culhane

Best Wedding Reportage Image: Peter Gordon

Chairman’s Award: Gosia Tuznik

IPPA Wedding Photographer of the Year is Claire Durkin

IPPA Portrait Photographer of the Year is Claire Durkin

Winning images will be amended to this post when they are provided to me by council and reproduced with the kind permission of all the winners. Many thanks to Mike Conn and and all the staff at Conns Cameras for the sponsorship once again of the ‘Photographer of the Year” prize of a Canon 6D camera.

It would be remiss of me, on behalf of all members, not to thank Mick Quinn and all the judges who gave their time and effort throughout the year. They are the lifeblood of the awards process and to Robert Allen for his organisation of trophies and prints etc.

Well done to all the winners but it is equally important to mention all those who entered and participated in the process. Lets hope there is as many participants next year.

Cormac O’Kelly


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Burning Man Project

Peter Gordon IPPA Photographer of the Year 2013

This is a recent interview with Peter Gordon, the 2013 IPPA Photographer of the Year. Peter was kind enough to give up some time to go on camera to be asked a few questions about his photography career to date and what future projects are ahead.

I hope you enjoy it and please forgive some of the (natural) lighting issues we had to contend with. Just click on the video below…


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….. Peter Gordon.

The other category and image winners for 2013 were as follows:

The various images of those who won in various categories.

Click on the image to be taken to the gallery of winners for 2013


2013 Best Architecture Portfolio – Enda Cavanagh

2013 Best Architecture Image – No Award Given

2013 Best Commercial / Advertising Award – Cormac Byrne

2013 Best Fashion & The Human Form Portfolio – Michael Hayes

2013 Best Fashion & The Human Form Image – Edel Kelly

2013 Best Landscape Portfolio – Peter Gordon

2013 Best Landscape Image – Peter Gordon

2013 Best Open Art & Creativity Portfolio – Michael McLoughlin

2013 Best Open Art & Creativity Image – Michael McLoughlin

2013 Best Children & Family Portraiture Portfolio – Corin Bishop

2013 Best Children & Family Portraiture Images – Corin Bishop

2013 Best Classical Portrait Portfolio – Claire Durkin

2013 Best Classical Portrait Image – Claire Durkin

2013 Best Contemporary Portrait Portfolio – Claire Dunne

2013 Best Contemporary Portrait Image – Maria Dunphy

2013 Best Press & P.R. Portfolio – No Award Given

2013 Best Press & P.R. Image – Michael McLaughlin

2013 Best Pictorial, Travel & Fine Art Portfolio – Peter Gordon

2013 Best Pictorial, Travel & Fine Art Image – Peter Gordon

2013 Best Wedding Classical Portfolio – Paddy Clarke

2013 Best Wedding Classical Image – Paddy Clarke

2013 Best Contemporary Wedding Portfolio – Peter Gordon (Merit Award also awarded to Dermot Culhane)

2013 Best Contemporary Wedding Image – Dermot Culhane

2013 Best Wildlife Portfolio – Sheena Jolley

2013 Best Wildlife Image – Phil Pound

A special mention to Raimonda Milasiene who took home the 2013 Student of the Year IPPA Award.

Many congratulations to all those who, not only won awards this year but to those who entered and participated in the process. Many thanks to Mick Quinn and the other judges who gave their time throughout the year the judging sessions and finally to those on counsel responsible for the organisation of the awards ceremony. Well done all!

More on the 2013 awards and the winners over the coming days and weeks.

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Judging The 2012 IPPA Awards

Entries for the 2012 IPPA Awards

Entries for the 2012 IPPA Awards

Have you ever wondered what goes on at the final judging of the IPPA’s annual awards? Many members have. Certainly, I’ve been curious. Last Sunday, I was able to see for myself when I participated in the judging of the 2012 awards as a stand-in judge.

Before we continue, I should explain what a stand-in judge’s role is. You’ll already have figured out that one responsibility is to cover for any judge who cannot make it on the day. In the event, all of the first-line judges were present. That didn’t preclude me from participating, however. In fact, it was encouraged and I was invited to express my views on the photographs under review. As a second-tier judge, I did not have a vote though.

Instead, the final decisions were in the hands of a heavy-weight quintet: Kevin Wilson, Barry McCall, David Cantwell, Mick Quinn and Gareth Byrne – all of whom are Fellows, all of whom have received multiple high honours in their careers. Marshalling them was Vinnie O’Byrne, the association’s chairman of judging and himself laden with accolades and distinctions.

Was I intimidated?


For the first five minutes. But it turns out they all drink tea and coffee like the rest of us. Besides, they couldn’t have been more encouraging to the new guy.

Impassioned Debate and Disagreement

That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t tell me, or anyone else in the room for that matter, if they disagreed with a viewpoint.

In fact, there was some fairly robust debate on occasion. Respectful, but robust nevertheless.

Some category winners were decided unanimously. They were the easy ones. The stand-out entries.

Other winners were reached after long discussion, multiple pleas on behalf of diverse candidate panels or prints, and tight 3-2 votes.

It was interesting to see how judges would, having heard the insights of their colleagues, change their position if the argument put forward was good enough. If it was twaddle, they’d dismiss it. I found that out first hand. You live and learn.

The Process

The judging process itself was straightforward. All of the candidate portfolios or single prints in a category would be displayed together, and the judges would inspect each one. Then, by a process of elimination, the entries would be whittled down.

Judges would first be asked to vote to keep a panel or single print in the judging. Those panels and prints that didn’t receive a vote were removed. This was repeated, if necessary, until three or four entries remained. Then, Vinnie would instruct the judges to vote only for the entry they wished to see win.

I found the final pronouncement the most powerful part of this process. When an entry had been voted the winner, Vinnie would ask the judges: “Are you happy that this is the winner of [Category XYZ]?” It might not convey as well on your computer screen, but hearing that question asked, and so directly, made you consider the magnitude of what had been decided. If you have someone of the calibre of Vinnie O’Byrne asking you this directly, you want to be definite in your mind that you can live with the decision.

Photograph of entries being judged at the finals for the 2012 Irish Professional Photographers Association awards

Vinnie O'Byrne asking judges for their vote on an entry to a single print category. (I removed image itself as leaving it may have given the photographer false hope or despair)

Keeping It Honest

None of the judges had work that was entered into the finals. You’d expect that.

One issue that crops up regularly among members is that they feel some photographers’ work is so recognizable that judges know their photographs and will act according to the individual’s reputation. I can only go on what I saw last Sunday.

Yes, some photographers have a very distinct style. It is something we should all aim for. Yet because the judges are drawn from various disciplines and have varying degrees of involvement in the preliminary judgings, not everyone has the same level of exposure to the work of every member who enters the awards. In fact, two of this year’s judges would have have seen none or very little of the work of IPPA members at all.

Watching the process unfold where a photographer’s DNA was very evident in the work entered was fascinating. If you think that a photographer’s work has an advantage because it is well-known and their style is evident, think again. It makes no difference. Every single debate I witnessed was about the photography, the images in their own right – not the photographer, nor their reputation.

I’d like to give you a very concrete example of this, but to do so would give away a category winner and the ultimate title of IPPA Photographer of the Year.

When the awards dinner has passed, please someone remind me, and I’ll fill in the gap. You’ll find it very enlightening and reassuring.

Five Tips to Help You Win

So how do you win an award? Is there a formula?

No. There is no silver bullet that will catapult you to victory.

I can instead give you five tips that will help you.

1 – Only enter strong photographs. If you’re entering a panel, don’t add a make-weight.

2 – Make sure your work is printed and presented as best as it can be. Shoddy printing and presentation lost people awards on Sunday.

3 – If you enter a panel, try to make the photographs hang together well. A mishmash of image sizes, printing techniques, themes, post-production and so on hinders the coherence of a panel.

4 – Obey the rules. One entrant’s work was disqualified because it was known not to have been taken during a genuine wedding as part of a real wedding commission, for instance.

5 – Dare to be different. Dare to follow your heart and express your vision and your voice. The strongest panels were those that were a true expression of a photographer’s individuality.

To these five, I’d like to add a sixth.

6 – Enter. It will challenge you to became a better photographer.