Photographer of the Year 2021, presented by Nokia: The winners! – Australian Photography

27 January 2022

Andy Rovenko’s unique and quirky series The Rocketgirl Chronicles, depicting his daughter and her trusty spacesuit exploring a ghostly Melbourne during lockdown, has taken out the highest honours in Photographer of the Year 2021, presented by Nokia.

Photographer of the Year overall winner and People Category Winner, Andy Rovenko, Rocket Girl Chronicles.
Photographer of the Year overall winner and People Category Winner, Andy Rovenko, Rocket Girl Chronicles.

Now in its ninth year, the competition is the largest of its kind for amateur photographers in Australasia and for 2021 had a prize pool valued at more than $30,000.

Rovenko’s series was captured during Victoria’s extended coronavirus lockdown and was almost a happy accident – the photographer says he never intended to make a series with his daughter as the star, rather he was just trying to come up with creative ways to keep her entertained during another dreaded lockdown.

For judge Tim Levy, every year it becomes more difficult to judge the competition and boil down to the final shortlisted photographs.

“There are so many great images captured by amateur photographers entered in the competition each year,” he says. “It also shows the importance of planning and taking your camera with you wherever you go – you never know when the stars will align and you will get an exceptional image.”

The annual competition challenges photographers in the major categories to shoot four images that work together as a cohesive series.

From dramatic landscapes to heart-rending portraits, and every genre in between, below you can see our winners in the competition.

We’d like to thank our amazing sponsors, as without their support we simply couldn’t run Photographer of the Year. Thank you to our major sponsor Nokia, and category sponsors SanDisk, Camera House, WD, World Photo Adventures, BenQ, Haida, LaCie, MSI and Epson for your ongoing support of amateur photographers.

To our judges, we don’t envy your task, but we do appreciate your work. A huge thanks to Alex Cearns OAM, Tim Levy, Helen Whittle, Drew Hopper, Matt Palmer, Douwe Dijkstra, Ann and Steve Toon, Anthony McKee, Lisa Michele Burns, Shannon Wild, Mark Galer, Sally Brownbill, Petra Leary, and Tanya Stollznow.

To all those photographers who entered this year, thank you for your incredible work and your willingness to share it with like-minded photographers. It’s because of you that the competition continues to challenge and push amateur photography.

Finally, the competition will be back for its 10th edition and bigger than ever, opening for entries in June 2022. We hope you enjoy our winners as much as we do.

People

Winner, Andy Rovenko, The Rocketgirl chronicles.

Runner-up: Carole Mills Noronha, Covid lockdown window visits with dad.

Landscape
Landscape Category Winner, Chandra Bong, Four peaks of Patagonia.
Landscape Category Winner, Chandra Bong, Four peaks of Patagonia.

Runner-up: Niall Chang, Shifting sands through time.

Aerial
Aerial Category Winner, Heather McNeice, Shark Bay from above.
Aerial Category Winner, Heather McNeice, Shark Bay from above.

Runner-up, Alex Ham, Colours of the Pilbara.

Black and White
Black and White Category Winner, Janine Dawes, Sinister beauty.
Black and White Category Winner, Janine Dawes, Sinister beauty.

Runner-up: Wayne Riley, Rodeo

Animal and Nature
Animal and Nature Category Winner, Simone Matucci, Blackwater.
Animal and Nature Category Winner, Simone Matucci, Blackwater.

Runner-up, Hannah Le Leu, Turtle Hatchling’s Journey

Photo of the Year
Photo of the Year Category Winner, Lisa Murray, Anthropause.
Photo of the Year Category Winner, Lisa Murray, Anthropause.

Runner-up: Harman Singh Heer, Wildfire.

Creative
Creative Category Winner, Alla Kuyunzhi, Narcissism.
Creative Category Winner, Alla Kuyunzhi, Narcissism.

Runner-up: Glenda Gore, Cottesloe Mermaids.

Junior
Junior Category Winner, Matthew Barrett, Superboy.
Junior Category Winner, Matthew Barrett, Superboy.

Runner-up: Jacob Dedman, Where to now?

Mobile

Mobile Category Winner, Tony Law, Arabic man in the desert with a falcon.
Mobile Category Winner, Tony Law, Arabic man in the desert with a falcon.

Runner-up: Sara Barritt, Just Looking. 

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