Chris Saunders wins AIPP Photographer of the Year

Perth photographer, Chris Saunders, has won the AIPP Australian Professional Photographer of the Year Award for a portfolio of abstract aerial images.

Photo: Chris Saunders. Source: AIPP APPA.

While an AIPP member for only three years, Chris has pocketed several awards including the 2018 AIPP WA State Award top prize.

He’s an engineer for an oil and gas company, who spends his spare time photographing landscapes.

‘What I really enjoy about aerial landscapes is it allows you to see things from new perspectives and explore new areas,’ he said. ‘To see the scale of what people can do to our landscape, you can either be in awe of it or mortified by it.’

The award-winning photos were taken in the far reaches of Western Australia – at Lake Lefroy near Kalgoorlie and the Lacepede Islands off the coast of Broome.

Chris told ProCounter he prepares by studying landscapes on Google Maps and visualising the type of image he’d like to capture when there.

‘Of course the reality can be very different from the plan, so you always need to be reactive but it acts as a great starting point,’ he said.

‘In my images I try and find a narrative that I can build on in post production so I look for shapes and textures which can help tell the tale.  As a rule I try and keep my images simple or uncomplicated.  Whilst I have my own stories that each image is for me, the wonderful thing about abstract images is that everyone is free to interpret them differently.’

Chris shoots with a Phase One medium format XF and IQ150 back, a Schneider 80mm f2.8 Blue Ring, and captures the images from a light aircraft.

Photo: Chris Saunders. Source: AIPP APPA.

While only joining the AIPP a short time ago, Chris has been photographing as an enthusiast for 20 years.

After attending workshops by award-winning WA landscape photographers, Tony Hewitt and Christian Fletcher, Chris was inspired to further develop his skills.

The challenge of entering the APPA awards have, over the last three years, created a step change in my abilities.  Landscape photography allows me to spend weekends and trips away, and I can then work on developing and selling my prints during the evenings for weeks and months afterwards – so it really meshes well with having another paid profession and both can exist in parallel.’

Photo: Chris Saunders. Source: AIPP APPA.

The Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA) ran over three intense days in Melbourne, with live judging and print critiques.

A total of 1814 entries were submitted into the awards with 692 awarded silvers, 290 awarded silver distinction, 63 awarded a gold and 19 awarded a gold distinction.

Here’s the full list of APPA winners:
– Australian Professional Photographer of the Year – sponsored by Olympus, AON & Panasonic- Chris Saunders (Perth)
– Australian Commercial Photographer of the Year – sponsored by PPIB – Lisa Saad (Melbourne)
– Australian Documentary Photographer of the Year – sponsored by Sony – Lacey Barratt (Melbourne)
– Australian Family Photographer of the Year – sponsored by CR Kennedy (Profoto) – Kelly Champion (Adelaide)
– Australian Illustrative Photographer of the Year – sponsored by Eizo – Suellen Cook (Hobart)
– Australian Landscape Photographer of the Year – sponsored by Fuji – Chris Saunders (Perth)
– Australian Nature Photographer of the Year – sponsored by Lacie/Seagate – Darren Jew (Brisbane)
– Australian Newborn Photographer of the Year – sponsored by Camerahouse – Jodie Andrews (NSW Central Coast)
– Australian Pet/Animal Photographer of the Year – sponsored by DigiDirect – Karen Alsop (Melbourne)
– Australian Portrait Photographer of the Year – sponsored by Kayell/Canson – Steve Wise (Perth)
– Australian Travel Photographer of the Year – sponsored by Camera Electronics –  Lesley Downie (Noosaville)
– Australian Wedding Photographer of the Year – sponsored by Nikon – Dan O’Day (Canberra)
– Australian Creative Photographer of the Year – sponsored by Chromaluxe – Rebecca Croft
– Australian Emerging Photographer of the Year – sponsored by ProPhoto – Belinda Richards (Melbourne)
– Australian Student Photographer of the Year – sponsored by Nikon – Callan Shiel (Perth)
– Australian Album of the Year – sponsored by Momento Pro – Eric Ronald (Footscray, VIC)
– Australian Photographic Book of the Year – sponsored by Momento Pro – Peter Eastway (Collaroy Beach, New South Wales)
– Australian Overseas Award – sponsored by AIPP – Tony Carter
– Highest Scoring Image – sponsored by Ilford – Darren Jew (Brisbane)
– AIPP Epson Signatureworthy Award – sponsored by Epson – Barbara Brown (Perth)
– Australian Tertiary Institution of the Year – sponsored by Starleaton – North Metropolitan Tafe, Western Australia
– Agregate Grand Master Award – Geoff Comfort (Canberra)


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