PhotoComment attended the Profoto Award’s Gala Prize dinner on Thursday 19 March 2009 and was suitably impressed by the standard of photography awarded by the PPSA and their panel of judges. Watch out for our April issue of PhotoComment magazine to see the winning images and learn more about the photographers behind each lens.
Here is the official press release from Sony SA.
Sony News Release – 19 March 2009
Top photographers in Southern Africa awarded
Top professional photographers and photography students were presented with the 2008 Profoto Awards, presented by Sony, at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Sandton on 19 March.
At a gala dinner, attended by many luminaries in the photographic industry, 152 single entries were awarded gold, silver and bronze 2008 Profoto Awards certificates in 16 different categories, and 140 portfolios were awarded gold, silver and bronze certificates in the professional and student categories. Photography students could only enter portfolios.
The 2008 Profoto Awards, the only competition for all categories of professional photography in Southern Africa, is a combined effort of Sony South Africa and the Professional Photographers of Southern Africa (PPSA) to promote professional photographers, and to acknowledge their talents and dedication.
It attracted the largest number of participants since its inception in 1989, with more than 4 000 images being submitted, fully justifying its reputation as the most prestigious and influential photographic competition on the continent. Also, for the first time in the competition’s history, entrants had to register online and post their photographs digitally.
The gala dinner was the culmination of a series of electronic messages that created much excitement and interest within the photography industry, and enabled the organisers to keep participants up-to-date with the evolvement of the competition, such as the call for entries, the closing date, the announcement of the judges and the judging process.
The public was also involved in the competition, as they were invited to predict the ‘Image of the Year’ online. Maritsa Botha voted for the correct image and by doing so won a Sony α350 DSLR kit, which included a camera body and lens.
The electronic format of the Awards enabled judges to view and judge entries anywhere in the world. Four international judges formed part of the judging team, which comprised specialists in various fields. The top finalist images, selected from over the 4 000 images, were selected on Saturday, 7 February 2009. The final judging was conducted live on Sony High Definition BRAVIA LCD TVs at Sony South Africa’s head office in Midrand.
The 2008 Profoto Awards “Image of the Year” was also selected during the final judging process. This image, a monochrome toned image of a tree frog’s foot, was taken by Hansie Oosthuizen, a professional photographer from Hermanus in the Western Cape.
According to PPSA President, Pieter de Ras, the 2008 Profoto Awards came at the right time, as many photographers hadn’t had the opportunity to have their work judged by their peers.
He added that it became very apparent at the live judging of the Profoto Awards that there are two distinct camps with regards to where professional photography is going.
“On the one side, there is the ‘traditional’ outlook where some of the judges totally dissociated themselves from any form of manipulation of the image. The other camp felt that the final result was what counted, with total disregard to ‘image manipulation’.
This is, and is going to be more of a debate, as we move further into the digital era. If a photograph has been manipulated, can we still call it a photograph, or should it then be referred to as an image?”
De Ras continued: “The judging was however a success and only the best have made it to the top.”
Following the awards ceremony, the finalists’ images will be exhibited at shopping malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town, where members of the public will be able to view the work of Southern Africa’s top photographic talent.
From 21 to 28 April, the winning 2008 Profoto Awards images will be on show in the Banking Mall Court at Sandton City, and will also be exhibited in the Upper Stuttafords Court at Canal Walk, Cape Town from 26 May to 1 June. These images will also be promoted in leading print publications, as well as on the internet and on the Profoto Awards website.