Written by John Vosloo – Africa Geographic’s Photographer of the Year 2017 winner
As the fortunate and surprised winner of the Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year competition, I considered the impact this win had on me as an amateur photographer and the opportunities this contest provides to all of us as amateur photographers.
Firstly, let me say that in my opinion the entries were all of the very highest standard in terms of technical ability and of an even higher quality was the content and stories told by the photographs entered across the whole spectrum.
As a whole, the standard of entries was so high that I would not hesitate to categorise them as being on a world class level equal to the most prestigious photographic contest entries out there. I was very surprised when I saw the final result and nearly fell of my chair! Since then I have been on the proverbial moon.
This contest is, however, very distinctive with unique spin-offs for the amateur photographer. Its model is unique (the Yearbook coupled with the Africa Geographic brand recognition and endorsement) and provides the amateur photographer who enters this contest with unique opportunities to be exposed to many positive aspects including, by default and association to, being an integral part of vital conservation work with Africa Geographic.
This is an opportunity that is not always available to amateurs. Sure, there are many amateur contests around but none that are of this level both in content and in prestige and most importantly none that I am aware of which then provides the catalyst for the finalists, and other selected entries to be showcased in the highly regarded Africa Geographic Yearbook.
The fact that the photographs appear as hard copy in the Yearbook ensures that a very broad audience sees the photographs that we have taken and are then viewed for many years to come. Even more importantly, they do not appear in just any book, but in a well presented, high-quality, good-looking coffee table book. The Africa Geographic brand that the Yearbook is couched in ensures that it is placed in the highest echelons of quality books, both in terms of content and credibility, locally and internationally.
This photographic concept gives viewers who may not be fortunate to have the opportunity to see wildlife, great landscapes, etc., the opportunity to see these high-quality entries and experience the messages portrayed through them.
This in turn provides a very important opportunity to promote biodiversity awareness, which in turn ultimately gives credibility to and promotes nature conservation at large. By merely entering our photographs in this contest we are playing a vital role in promoting conservation which needs and begs for as much publicity as possible. Publicity which will hopefully lead to action.
It is a win/win opportunity leaning heavily in favour of the photographer and I strongly promote, endorse and encourage all amateur photographers to grasp this opportunity and enter your photographs. You will by default be playing an important part in conservation.
On a personal level, apart from being the fortunate winner, I am proud to be associated with the Africa Geographic brand and I know without reservation that it is a secure and highly recognised credible platform to be associated with.
Enter, and even if our photographs are not winners, we are still playing a vital part at driving conservation awareness under the auspices of Africa Geographic which our natural world and heritage deserves and in a sense demands from all of us, our children and generations to follow.