Monica van der Maden from the Netherlands has been chosen as the overall winner of the competition with an image of Noa the Great Dane (opening image!) seemingly alone in a forest, which placed first in the ‘Oldies’ category, the first time an image from this particular group has been picked as an overall winner. Monica began taking photos of dogs eighteen years ago, and has been professionally snapping man’s best friend for the best part of a decade.
After finding out she had won the world’s largest canine photography competition, Monica said: “I am very grateful to be the overall winner of the Dog Photographer of the Year competition. Photography is what I love doing the most. I always try to capture the image of a dog in a way that you can see the emotion in their eyes, when I took this picture in the forest early one morning, Noa looked at her owner and you could feel the love between them.”
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: Elinor Roizman from Israel, who won the ‘Dogs at Play’ category with a photo of Lili the Pomeranian chasing a giant bubble on the beach; Klaus Dyber from Germany, who won the ‘Puppy’ category with a beautiful image of Ceylin the 3 month-old Italian Greyhound; Carol Durrant from the UK, who won the ‘Portrait’ category with a stunning image of three Flat Coated Retrievers; Tracy Kidd from the UK who won the ‘Dogs at Work’ category with a group shot of spaniels and retriever dogs after a day of working hard; ‘Man’s Best Friend’ winner Joana Matos from Portugal; ‘Young Pup Photographer’ winner, Mariah Mobley from the United States; and Tamara Kedves from Hungary who won the ‘I Love Dogs Because…’ category.
The winner of the ‘Assistance Dogs’ category was Dean Mortimer from Castle Combe, Wiltshire, who captured the unique bond between man and dog as German Shepherd Dog, Rocko comforted his ex-soldier owner who suffers from PTSD. Sonya Kolb from New Jersey in the United States was named as the winner of the ‘Rescue Dog’ award for her intimate portrait of a rescued Labrador and his loving new owners. The Kennel Club Charitable Trust will donate £500 to the charities of both winners’ choice, Service Dogs UK and Monmouth County SPCA respectively.
This year’s Dog Photographer of the Year competition is sponsored by SmugMug, the dog-loving photo sharing site for professional photographers, and Nikon School, a photography training establishment that aims to educate and inspire photographers.
SmugMug’s European Manager, Alastair Jolly commented: “Once again, SmugMug are delighted to be sponsors of the Dog Photographer of the Year competition. It really is a pleasure to be able to judge this competition again this year, even if as always the decision gets harder and harder. It is a highlight of the year for me. I always enjoy seeing such a wonderful range of images of some truly beautiful dogs. Congratulations to all of the winners. I am sure everyone will enjoy seeing the winning images this year and I am already looking forward to next year.“
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 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 European Manager, Alastair Jolly; Technical Editor of Amateur Photography Magazine, Hollie Latham Hucker; British professional dog photographer Martin Hill; and Kennel Club representatives Rosemary Smart, Chief Executive; Simon Luxmoore, Chairman, and Pauline Luxmoore-Ball.
Rosemary Smart, Kennel Club Chief Executive said: “The judges and I were thoroughly impressed by the quality of this year’s competition entries. Selecting only ten winning images from thousands of remarkable photographs was an incredibly hard task. All of the photographs entered portrayed dogs and their many wonderful characteristics beautifully. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists and well done to everyone who entered.”
To view all the winning images visit: dogphotographeroftheyear.org.uk
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 until 5th October. The exhibition is open to the public and free to visit by appointment. Anyone wishing to visit, should contact the Art Gallery office