The Kennel Club has announced the winners of its annual Dog Photographer of the Year competition. Now in its fourteenth year, the international competition received almost 7,000 entries from over 70 different countries around the globe, including Brazil, Canada, USA, China, Russia, Australia and New Zealand.
Denise Czichocki from Switzerland has been chosen as the overall winner of the competition with “Dreaming Merlin”, which sees Merlin, the 14-year-old rescue Podengo, sat amongst a magnolia setting, which was also placed first in the ‘Oldies’ category.
After finding out she had won the world’s largest canine photography competition, Denise said: “I am really proud and overwhelmed, I still can’t believe it! There are so many good photographers out there and I won this title, it is absolutely amazing.
“I have always loved to take pictures of everything, and my passion for dog photography started when I had my own, I wanted to create lovely memories of all of them. Over the years I have developed my photography to become more emotional.”
The Kennel Club’s Dog Photographer of the Year competition comprises ten categories: Portrait, Man’s Best Friend, Dogs At Play, Dogs At Work, Puppy, Oldies, I Love Dogs Because… (for entrants aged between 12 and 17 years old), Young Pup Photographer (for entrants aged 11 and under), Assistance Dogs and Rescue Dogs.
The other category winners were: last year’s winner, Monica van der Maden from the Netherlands, who won both the ‘Puppy’ category with a heart-warming image of two Weimeraner puppies and the ‘Dogs at Play’ category with a mischievous photo of Waylon the Australian Shepherd; Dorine Scherpel from Canada, who won the ‘Dogs at Work’ category with her photo which was captured in The Lake District earlier this year; Cat Race from the UK who won the ‘Man’s Best Friend’ category; Anastasia Vetkovskaya from Russia, who won the ‘Portrait’ category with a stunning Saluki; ‘Young Pup Photographer’ winner, 11-year-old Sabine Wolpert from the United States; and Mariah Mobley from the United States who won the ‘I Love Dogs Because…’ category.
The winner of the ‘Assistance Dogs’ category was Angelika Elendt from Germany for her portrayal of the important role dogs play in helping people with mental, emotional and/or physical disabilities. Anne Geier from Austria was named the winner of the ‘Rescue Dog’ award and her photo captured the close bond between her and her rescue crossbreed Finn. The Kennel Club Charitable Trust will donate £500 to the charities of both winner’s choice, Streunerhoffnung and Die Seelentröster – Tiere helfen Menschen e. V respectively.
This year’s Dog Photographer of the Year competition is sponsored by SmugMug, the dog-loving photo sharing site for professional photographers, Flickr, the worldwide image and video hosting service, and Nikon School, a photography training establishment that aims to educate and inspire photographers.
Flickr and SmugMug’s Global Marketing Manager, Alastair Jolly commented: “We are delighted to return as sponsors of the Dog Photographer of the Year and it is a pleasure to be able to judge the competition once again. The calibre of entries across the board was exceptionally high which made our decision incredibly difficult but I always enjoy seeing such lovely images that portray the wonderful bond between dogs and humans. Congratulations to all the winners, they are all truly deserving.”
Neil Freeman from Nikon School added: “Nikon School is proud to support the Dog Photographer of the Year competition and looks forward to working with the Kennel Club on future photography collaborations and projects.”
The overall winner will receive an original oil painting of their image by award-winning artist Sara Abbott. All category winners will have their images on display at the Kennel Club in Mayfair, and will win a year’s membership to Flickr Pro as well as a SmugMug photography website to showcase their work online and a one day photography course offered by Nikon School UK, as well as a trophy and exhibition print from Loxley Colour presented during an award ceremony.
The judges for this year’s competition were commercial and editorial dog photographer, Elke Vogelsang; Nikon UK representative, Neil Freeman; SmugMug’s Global Marketing Manager, Alastair Jolly; Editor of Amateur Photography Magazine, Nigel Atherton; artist and professional photographer, Alice van Kempen; and Kennel Club representatives Rosemary Smart, Chief Executive; Steve Croxford, former Kennel Club chairman.
Rosemary Smart, Kennel Club Chief Executive said: “The quality of entries we received this year was very high and all of the judges were thoroughly impressed with all of the entries. As such, it has been a tough selection process but the winning images are truly remarkable and do a wonderful job of displaying the dogs and their individual characteristics. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists and well done to everyone who entered.”
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 London from 5th July until 3rd October. The exhibition is open to the public and free to visit by appointment. Anyone wishing to visit, should email the Art Gallery office.
To view all the winning images visit: www.dogphotographeroftheyear.org.uk.