The Kennel Club Dog Photographer Of The Year 2017
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Many years ago, and in another life it seems now, I was asked to be part of the judging panel of the annual Carnival Queen in a small town that my company had it's headquarters. Now let me just set the scene here, this is a small Island community, we all know each other and each head of family are often friends of friends! Got it? - this task is not for the faint hearted and before I even took breath, I already had visions of the coming weeks, the excitment of the 8, 10 and 12 year old girls in their categories talking to their families about their outfits, planning everything right down to their pretty shoes, and how their hair styles would be. When I let out my breath again which seemed like 10 minutes I found myself being talked into this task ahead. I felt like collapsing on the floor, I was in serious need of oxygen or a glass of something much stronger than tea (and it was only 10am!). The then Mayor said that out of each category which would have 20 beautiful little girls we had to choose 3. They would then go forward to the next round (different little party dress change!) and to the final selection and who would be crowned Carnival Queen. Let me tell you for weeks I did not sleep, and for several weeks after, it was far worse, lets just say that I made sure if I needed milk I went out after dark or I drank black tea instead and to this day I still prefer black tea with lemon!
As in life there is always going to be the winners and losers, and yes it is about taking part but come on... what a task it is to try and be completely impartial and to choose carefully.
So let us fast forward to 2017 and today I am talking about dogs and in particular The Kennel Club Annual Dog Photographer Of The Year. The Kennel Club managed the intimidating task of picking the winners of the Dog Photographer of the Year 2017 competition. They of course didn't get to meet the real photographers or any children in the process so really their task was truly not that bad. They probably got a nice cup of tea and cake on the side too.
Behind the photography though is a real story, a dog, an owner, a working dog, a rescue dog, a double amputee, a cute little puppy with his life ahead of him and an old dog looking straight at the lens with a lifetime of secrets behind his eyes. How do you choose, is it the story behind the image, or the composition, the lighting and the exposure. I am sure the panel of the Kennel Club have this sorted by now, but they had a pool of over 10,000 images from 74 different countries. It was in the end a Portuguese photographer Maria Davison who came out as top dog photographer.
Davison’s image below captured her friend’s rescue pup, an adorable golden retriever cross, resting his head against her friend’s battered canvas shoe. Yzma soulful brown eyes and his need to be reassuringly glued to his human in the photo are irresistible. The image also placed first in the ‘Man’s Best Friend’ category. Now, you may immediately say..but this dog is clearly black..please write to the Kennel Club for more answers on this one!
Other categories in the competition cover working dogs, playing dogs, rescues, assistance dogs, old pups and puppies. All the winners, second, and third placing entries in each category are on display at the Kennel Club until the end of August.
Each photographer is mentioned and it is worthwhile noting that they are without a doubt outstanding and if only I had just a little of their talent in composition, lighting, exposure and knowledge I would be a far greater person in my instagram posts of which I think I must start saying #nofilter as I just haven't a clue on how to set filters (nor have I the patience or indeed the time) I always bow my head to those who have so much talent and may never be seen, and, so I do truly hope that this blog post may help a little in getting their work out there and that indeed they may be acknowledged for their creativity.
And of course we must never forget their muse..the dogs without them they would never have received the recognition in the first place. Now just look at these guys how on earth could you resist such loyalty and love without bounds.
I leave you with this thought and these images my dog lovers and friends they are my particular favourites of the winning categories because of the stories behind the images and the composition.
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Assistance Dogs Charity Category
2nd Place Winner
Photographer: John Ferrett, United Kingdom
Dog: Reno, Cross Breed.
Title Composition: "Always by my side"
This particular photo was taken at a local park during a session with a fellow photographer.
Reno, who is pictured with his owner, a double amputee never left his side. I wanted to capture the true bond between them. His owner tells me that he has trained Reno himself to assist him in everyday life and shared with me that Reno is a Godsend and is a massive part of his life.”
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Aperture: F4.5 ISO Speed: 1250, Focal length: 182mm, Exposure program: Manual Exposure time: 1/320 S, Flash: No
Website / http://www.jferrettphotography.com
Instagram / jferrettphotography
Facebook / johnferrettphotography
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1st Place Winner
Photographer: Anastasia Vetkovskaya, Russia
Dog: Sisley Shou Gerat Grant Ahtiar AK JAR - Afghan Hound
Title Composition: ‘Black Beauty’
This magnificent Afghan was incredibly nice to shoot - he is very expressive and emotional.”
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Aperture f/8.0 ISO Speed 100 Focal length 135.00 Exposure program Manual Exposure time 1/160 S Flash Studio light
Website / Vetkovskaya.com
Instagram / vetkovskaya.photo
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2nd Place Winner
Photographer: Igor Abramovich, UK
Dog: Rex, breed unknown
Title of Composition: “Life”
“I was visiting my grandmother in Ukraine who has an old dog and two cats. Rex was a stray puppy that my grandmother took home years ago. During my stay there I have took a bunch of photos of all the animals and one of the best photos was this one.
This photo was taken on a very hot day (31 degrees celsius) in Ukraine. The dog spent most of the day motionless in his doghouse trying to hide in the shadows from the burning sun.”
Nikon 7200 Aperture: f/2.8 ISO Speed 1600 Focal length 46 mm Exposure program Manual Exposure time 1/640 Flash No
Instagram / Igor.abramovich
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1st Place Winner
Photographer: Mirjam Schreurs, Netherlands
Dog: Tyson, boxer
Title of Composition: ‘Full Concentration’
"The picture of Tyson was a wow moment for me and during this shoot I knew that I would like to continue photographing dogs.This picture was made at the end of the shoot, the dog sat down and had a wonderful concentration to his owner this was a wonderful moment.”
Nikon d750 Aperture: F3.2 Iso speed: 400 Focal lenght: 200 mm Exposure program: Manual Exposure time: 1/320 Flash: no
Website / http://www.mirjamschreurs.nl
Instagram / mirjamschreursfotografie
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Rescue Dogs Charity Category
3rd Place Winner
Photographer: Kaylee Greer, USA
Dog: Joshua, Pitbull Terrier (cross breed)
Title of Composition: “Home.”
Joshua sat behind the bars of his cold cage at the shelter wondering why people kept passing him by. Every day, he held out hope, wagging his tail furiously as people would peer in curiously at him for 8 long months, he curled up on his concrete floor, then, one morning, on a day that started just like all the ones that came before, Joshua wagged his trademark tail wag right into the heart of passing stranger and suddenly, his story changed forever. That passing stranger was the photographer
"The next morning after adopting him only 12 hours or so since he left his well worn place in his shelter cage we went on our first walk together as human and dog, and I was lucky enough to capture this moment. This is the definitive, tiny slice of time in which the joy can only be measured by the size of his perfect smile. A moment in which Joshua realised that he had finally found freedom. A moment in which he had finally been given the second chance at life that he so deserved. A moment in which Joshua discovered he was finally home.”
- Technical specification
Canon 5D Mark III, Aperture: f/1.8, ISO Speed: 100, Focal length: 16mm, Exposure program: Manual Exposure time: 1/200 S Flash: Yes (Paul C Buff Einstein 640)
Website / http://www.dogbreathphoto.com
Instagram / dogbreathphotographer
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The Kennel Club: www.dogphotographeroftheyear.org.uk