The 44th annual ‘Press Photographer of the Year Awards’, the annual awards of the Press Photographers Association of Ireland, were announced earlier this year in February during a specially directed live Zoom awards ceremony presented by broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan alongside Paul Sherwood, the then President of the Press Photographers Association of Ireland. The event saw photographers from all across Ireland honoured and recognised for excellence in press photography, during a year of many highs and lows.
An exhibition of this work, which has been touring various libraries and venues around the country throughout the year, is now on show in Waterford’s Ardkeen Library from Wednesday 28th September, until Thursday 20th October, when it’ll then move to Kinsale.
The ‘Press Photographer of the Year’ title was awarded, for the second year in a row, to James Crombie of Inpho Photography, whose portfolio the judges cited as “the outstanding portfolio of the awards”. James received three category awards – first prize in Nature and the Environment, for what the judges coined as “picture of the year”, ‘Murmuration’ which beautifully captured a starling murmuration creating the shape of a bird over Lough Ennell, third place in Daily Life and People for his image ‘Fishing’ taken on Lough Corrib, Co. Galway and third place in Sports Feature for ‘Golden Moment’, a very emotional image of Kellie Harrington as she celebrated with her gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The awards, which were presented across ten categories, were opened with a special address by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin T.D. and featured appearances by a host of other well-known personalities and stars including Emily O’Reilly, Neven Maguire, Robbie Henshaw, Eve McCrystal, Colm Stafford Johnson, Panti Bliss and Dearbhail McDonald.
During his address, An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin T.D., said; “The past year has seen the Irish people live through extraordinary times, with a sense of resilience and solidarity that we can be rightly proud of. The award-winning photographs celebrated today capture moments of great drama, joy, beauty, and all the rich diversity of life. I want to acknowledge the tremendous contribution that press photographers have made over the past year, and many years before that. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees”.
Speaking about the awards in February, Paul Sherwood, the then President of the Press Photographers Association of Ireland, said; “Despite another very challenging year for the association’s members as a result of the ongoing Covid situation, there was still an excellent level and quality of entries to this year’s competition for our judges to select from. James Crombie, last year’s winner of the Press Photographer of the Year Award, has deservedly retained the title this year and his superb portfolio was topped off by his now iconic image of the starling murmuration over Lough Ennell. Congratulations go to James, the other category winners and all those members whose images make up the exhibition”.
Almost 1,400 images were submitted by 100 photographers for this year’s awards and judging was deliberated online again this year, led by chair of the judging panel, former Irish Times picture editor, Frank Miller, alongside judges Eddie Keogh, International Sports Photographer and Helen Healy, Dublin native and Head of Pictures at the Financial Times and multimedia category judges Philip Bromwell, Broadcaster and Michael Lee, former RTÉ cameraman.