Photographers Shine at Awards

May 22nd 2014

Northern Ireland’s top photojournalists were recognised tonight (Thursday 22 May) at the BT Press Photographer of the Year awards, which took place at a gala event in Hilton Hotel, Belfast.

Organised by the Northern Ireland Press Photographers Association (NIPPA), and sponsored by BT, the competition attracted almost 400 entries from over 30 photographers across the country.  Forty one prizes spanning nine categories, six merit awards, one runner up and two overall winners were awarded.

Colm Lenaghan, Pacemaker Press, snapped up the coveted BT Photographer of the Year award with Hugh Russell from the Irish News named runner up. The title of BT Provincial Photographer of the Year was awarded to John McVitty, Impartial Reporter, for the second year in a row.

Bill Smyth, NIPPA Chairman said

We were absolutely delighted with the quantity and calibre of pictures entered in this year’s competition. There is an enormous pool of talent in Northern Ireland and we’re thrilled that through this competition their creativity, skill and passion for photography can be recognised.”

Bryan O’Brien from the Irish Times and the Mirror’s Ian Down judged the entries. Ian commented:

Both Bryan and I were extremely impressed by the quality of images that we were asked to judge.  We were delighted to agree upon a much deserved winner, whose portfolio covered many of the major events from last year. The winner is a truly talented and versatile photographer - the type of photographer that a picture editor wants on his team.”

Official sponsor BT, presented the overall award to the NI Press Photographer of the year, along with the Provincial Press Photographer of the Year award.  In addition, BT employees judged a special award around the theme of community.   

Marie McMullan BT Head of Consumer Sales said,

BT is delighted to continue its support for the Northern Ireland Press Photographer of the Year competition again this year, We’ve enjoyed a long-standing relationship with NIPPA, now entering its seventh year, and the talented members have captured many journeys that BT has embarked on here over the years - from our fibre broadband rollout, to the launch of BT Sport, to our many community initiatives.  The sheer quality of the entries submitted this year is second to none and we are therefore particularly pleased to present our own BT Community  award, chosen with the help of our own people, to further recognise and reward individual talent.”

The Youth in Sport award was introduced by Dame Mary Peters for the photograph that best reflected a young person/people engaged in a sporting activity, and was launched in 2011 in memory of John Harrison.  The winner, Conor McCaughley, was presented with the John Harrison Memorial Trophy.

The competition comprised of nine categories:  news, people, politics, sports action, sports feature, features, individual study, business/PR and picture stories.  The overall winner awards were: Photographer of the Year, Runner up Photographer of the Year and Provincial Photographer of the Year.  There were also six merit awards, a BT Award and a special Youth in Sport Award.