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The Canadian Photographer of the Year Is Me!

This is so exciting for so many reasons; many of those reasons are not even mine. My clients, the women and child in the images, are thrilled! It was an unexpected victory for them too.

Barb, my client who commissioned the images of her granddaughter, loves the story my camera tells of her children and grandchildren. They thought it was cool I had won the International Photographer of the Year for Children some years back. This time it was their precious Anna becoming part of photography history. The excitement rippled out among family and friends. It was a delight to see.

The two body painted faces are the same woman, Jackie. You have to break a bit of a personal barrier to be body painted then video/photographed with a bustling crowd around. Jackie volunteered to be part of our YouTube tv project. She was the reimagining in body painting of Picasso. Melody Kielek is the master body paint that gave me such art to work with. While I only entered her face image, the rest of her figure looked pretty wild.

The most awarded image of the collection was the high key nude. Nikki looked amazing. This image became the jewel of my submission by winning the Best Figure Study plus garnering a Judges Choice Ribbon. Each judge gets to pick one image from all accepted as being exceptional in their eyes. So that was exciting too.

The body painting with the tribal markings is a fan favourite. It has become the most requested body painting approach. Melody Kielek, the body paint artist, had a delightful time creating the designs. The simple designs hardly suggest the time and skill needed to create it. She became an amazing canvas for me to photograph.

What is cool about the images that won this award, and all the images I submit is that they are from regular photo sessions. None of the images are with hired models, backed with a high performance team to create an image just for a competition. It is surprising how many contests have entries created like that.

When I shoot a session I always approach it like they will be considered for a high level competition. When women considering commissioning us for their image based on the award winning images on display they like to know it is still our everyday work.

Of course we only consider those images that we have releases for to use for the print contests we enter.

While my clients were thrilled to be part of the reason for my new Portrait Photographer of the Year award, I am pretty pumped too. There were five other photographers as finalists, all the professional photographer members could enter their best images, the judging lasted three days with several judging panels working hard. I was up against some very outstanding work.

It’s a goal I have had for a long time, coming close on several occasions. Being top Canadian Photographer for 2017 is actually more moving than the four International Photographer of the Year awards earned earlier.

Topping it all off is seeing all the images in the prestigious 2018 Inspirations book. A few of the images even rose to be included in the Canadian Loan Collection. This is a collection of the absolute cream of the images awarded each year.

It amazes me how many people are a part of this award, important to it, who are as excited as I am. I have magazine writers contacting me for articles. At several business and photographer events they gave me a standing ovation when it was announced. There was even a US business financial leader, Loral Langemeier, doing a podcast interview going out to her thousands of listeners.

It was an emotional win for me. One writer asked what is next? Once one goal is achieved you have to focus on the next. The Photographic World Cup, which is like the international Olympics for photographers, could be my new horizon.

Perhaps one of your images will help me win that title.

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