A County Derry woman has won the Overall Photographer of the Year 2014 Award at the Professional Photographer Association of Northern Ireland (PPANI) Awards.
Audrey Kelly, of c2 Photography and Design, clinched the top prize plus five further awards at the glittering ceremony on 30th March at the Culloden Resort Hotel in Belfast.
The Dungiven mother of two also won Most Outstanding Image Award, Overall Wedding Photographer of the Year, Classical Wedding Photographer of the Year as well as being first runner up in the Under 5’s Portrait category and winning a Licentiate Award.
Speaking to the Journal from her studio Audrey said, “I still can’t quite believe it. I get wee moments of disbelief. It’s surreal. I’m excited about the future. This is just the beginning. A lot of people would stop at this, as it’s such a big achievement, but I feel like I’m just starting.”
To put a further feather in her photographer’s cap, it’s the first time since the category opened in 1979 that the Most Outstanding Image Award has been presented to a female photographer.
“Added bonuses like this make it more special.” Audrey said.
The image in question is a magical shot of a bride below a beautiful circular window while her groom looks on from a pew.
“It’s the first time the awards have come up to the Derry direction, as well. With myself, Mustafa Oymak and Donal Doherty, Derry is winning everything!”
Local photographer Donal Doherty won Fashion Photographer of the Year 2014, Creative Photographer of the Year and Mustafa Oymak won Portrait Photographer of the Year 2014. It’s a big achievement when there are so many photographers throughout Northern Ireland to compete against.
PPANI is an association of credited photographers from all over Northern Ireland. Each year they compete to win top prizes like NI photographer of the year, wedding photographer of the year, fashion photographer of the year and creative photographer of the year.
Over 500 images are entered from all hopefuls, and are judged by 5 international judges. The results for the first round were announced in February and Audrey was shortlisted in four categories.
Audrey says she a very special lady to thank for her love of photography.
“My Granny Mullan took tons of photographs. I believe that my passion for photography comes from her. She loved photos and always wanted to capture everything. It’s a bit of history, you know? When I’m shooting a wedding I always think 30 years ahead. That’s why I keep my photographs timeless. I think about the children and grandchildren who will be looking at these photos. Getting a good photographer is so important.
“Because of my Granny I feel that I am in photography for the right reasons. I’m passionate about it. My Granny isn’t well, she had a stroke recently. I visited her with my award and got my wee girl to take photos. And those photos will be important to me. She has passed on the importance of photography. I dedicate my awards to her.”
Audrey has a message for people to ‘Print, print, print!’
“People of today are excellent at capturing and recording all these special moments with their digital cameras and camera phones but unfortunately though they aren’t printing them off so they are basically pointless. You’ve got to think 20 years ahead, where will Facebook, Instagram and Twitter be then?
“If you are all to do something this week, please everyone print, print, print! Data will last 10 years if even, but a photograph will last 100 years.”
Audrey has been in photography since 2008 and joined PPANI in 2012. She specialises in Fine Art Weddings and Studio photography and opened her new dream studio in Dungiven in October 2012.
More about Audrey and her work can be found at www.c2photographyanddesign.co.uk/ or c2 photography and design’s facebook page.