The Kennel Club has announced the winners of its annual Dog Photographer of the Year competition. Now in its tenth year, the competition received almost 13,000 entries from a staggering 90 different countries.
Anastasia Vetkovskaya from Russia has been selected as the overall winner of the competition with an image of Sheldon the English Springer Spaniel entering the water early one morning. The image initially won the ‘Dogs at Work’ category. The winning photographer lives in Moscow with her husband and two children plus their three dogs, two cats and a horse.
DPOTY 2015 Overall Winner, Anastasia Vetkovskaya.
Upon winning the biggest canine photography competition in the world, Anastasia said: “I have loved animals from an early age, which is why I went to Moscow Veterinary Academy and became a veterinary surgeon in 2007. Around this period of time, my husband gave me my first SLR camera and since then I have devoted all of my free time to photography. My speciality is pets and I am inspired most by horses and dogs.
This particular image (above) was taken during dog training one early autumn morning. The dog, Lordsett Just One Look (Sheldon), belongs to a friend and often becomes my model.”
The competition consists of eight categories: Portrait, Man’s Best Friend, Dogs At Play, Dogs At Work, Puppy, new category Oldies, under 18s’ category I Love Dogs Because…, and Assistance Dogs and Dog Charities.
The other category winners were: Tom Lowe from North Tyneside, who won the ‘Dogs at Play’ category with a photo of Baxter, his pet Westie, emerging from Loch Lomond; Linda Storm from Colorado, who won the ‘Puppy’ category with an adorable image of a rescue puppy enjoying a bowl of milk (below); Jamie Morgan from Maidstone, who won the ‘Dog Portrait’ category with a stunning image of two Afghan Hounds against an idyllic backdrop; Fiona Sami from Bristol who won the ‘Man’s Best Friend’ category with an understated photograph of a man and his dog travelling by train; under 18s’ category ‘I Love Dogs Because…’ winner 16 year-old Jade Hudson from Lincolnshire; and Kevin Smith from Worcestershire, who won new category ‘Oldies’ with a portrait of 12 year-old crossbreed, Lizzie.
DPOTY 2015 Winner of Puppy category, Linda Storm.
The winner of the ‘Assistance Dogs and Dog Charities’ category was Michael Higginson from Preston, Lancashire, who took a relaxed photograph of his brother Dale with family pet, Esta. A prize of £500 for this category will go to Michael’s chosen charity, Dogs for Good.
Speaking about his win, Michael said: “I was pretty surprised when I got the call. I’m not one for expressing myself emotionally but I had the largest, longest lasting smile and my partner Cat – who came 2ndin the Puppy category – was enthusiastically star jumping around the room. Winning the Assistance Dog category has made it even more special. It’s an honour to be able to show the world what a difference a dog can make to someone else’s life.”
This year’s Kennel Club Dog Photographer of the Year competition is sponsored by SmugMug, the dog-loving photo sharing site for professional photographers. The company’s European Manager Alastair Jolly commented: “At SmugMug we are passionate about two things – photography and man’s best friend – so being on the judging panel for this year’s competition has been a fantastic experience. The quality of images entered in to the competition was incredibly high, making it very tough to choose the winning few. We look forward to meeting the winners at the awards ceremony and introducing them to the SmugMug community.”
Each of the eight winners will receive a print of their image courtesy of Loxley Colour, a SmugMug business account, and a two day photography course with dog photographer Andy Biggar, a former finalist of the competition who has gone on to great success. The overall winner will also receive an original oil painting of their winning image by internationally award winning artist Sara Abbott. Two runners-up for each category will also receive prizes.
Judges this year included Head of Exhibitions at the Photographers’ Gallery, Clare Grafik; Press Association’s Group Picture Editor, Martin Keene; professional dog photographer, Samantha Clark; SmugMug’s European Manager, Alastair Jolly; and Kennel Club representatives Rosemary Smart, Chief Executive; Simon Luxmoore, Chairman, and Pauline Luxmoore-Ball.
Rosemary Smart, Kennel Club Chief Executive said: “The entries for this year’s Dog Photographer of the Year competition were some of the best we have ever seen. Choosing the winners was an incredibly challenging task and we commend every photographer who entered. Each of the winning photographers beautifully captured the essence of their canine subjects on camera, demonstrating how important dogs are to us in every walk of life. The winners showed great technical skill and we look forward to seeing more work from them in the future.”
All of the winning images plus the photos that placed second and third for each category will be on display at the Kennel Club in Mayfair, London from 28thJune until 12thSeptember. The exhibition is open to the public and free to visit by appointment. Anyone wishing to visit should contact the Art Gallery office email@example.com.
To view all the winning images visit: www.dogphotographeroftheyear.org.uk.