Congratulations to Preeti and Prashant Chacko, the 2023 Better Photography Magazine Photographer of the Year – or should that be Photographers of the Year!
We had around 450 entries and there's no doubt that over the years, the standard has improved. We used to struggle to hand out Gold Awards and Silvers weren't that common either, but now the number of Silvers actually outnumbered the Bronzes – which is fantastic! It shows that our entrants are producing a very high standard of work.
When entering our competition, there are two processes at work. The first is the standard of the entry – Bronze, Silver or Gold. The judges all have decades of experience in assessing photographs and, in their mind, they know the scores they need to award a Bronze, Silver or Gold. There's no limit to the number of these awards they can deliver – if your entry reaches their standard, that's the score you get. This feedback is incredibly valuable for photographers looking to improve their work.
The second process is a comparative one. When we hand out the five major prizes, the judges are comparing one entry against another. Which landscape photograph is 'the best'? Which portfolio of four entries should win the Photographer of the Year?
However, the judges aren't only comparing one entry against another. They are also comparing the history of the awards, especially entries that have scored well in the past and possibly won awards. This year, there was some simply brilliant work, but some of it was also quite similar to entries from previous years. This is understandable as photographers develop their own style or are influenced by the work of others, but as judges, it's hard to reward the same approach year after year. A particular or approach or style has to go to new heights to continue being rewarded.
And that's exactly what has happened this. year. When you look through the Top 20 images in each category, you'll see some familiar names. They continue to produce amazing work and in many cases they continue to win category prizes because it's simply so good.
The category winners this year are:
Landscape: Magnus Jonassen
Portrait: Hardijanto Budiman
Nature: Pedro Jarque Krebs
Travel: Andrew Dickman
Each category winner takes home AUS $750 and our Photographers of the Year will share $2000! My thanks to judges Tony Hewitt and David Oliver for their assistance.
There will be an article in the March 2024 issue of Better Photography featuring the winners and telling you a little more about the stories behind their images.
If you're an entrant reading this on the competition website, you should have received an email by now with your results, the award you won (if any) and the helpful judge comment. Well, I hope they are helpful. I wrote a lot more personal comments this year, trying to refine the assistance being provided, so please take all the comments in the right spirit – we're always trying to help!
You can also see your scores by logging onto the competition site here and going to your account.