Protecting our seas …

Protecting our seas…

Recently, I was honoured by being invited to be part of the selection panel for the OUT OF THE BLUE Prince of Wales’ Commonwealth Environmental Photography Awards. The competition, held under the auspices of HRH the Prince of Wales, aimed at encouraging Commonwealth Citizens to showcase the beauty and bounty of oceans and marine environments.

The judges’ task was to select the winners of each competition category as well as the images which have been eventually exhibited in Malta during the November Commonwealth CHOGM event. The judging panel consisted of a further three judges coming mainly from environmental backgrounds. All the judges’ CV’s are highly impressive and, apart from their vast experience, are all photographers in their own right. Besides myself, the group consisted of Terence Dormer, a diver and founder of the British Sub Aqua club; Hanli Prinsloo – multiple South African free diving record holder and founder of the I AM WATER Ocean Conservation project; and Daniel Beltra – a Spanish born photographer working from Seattle who specialises in aerial environmental photography.

The publication which accompanies the exhibition in Malta.

The publication which accompanies the exhibition in Malta.

The judging, held at the prestigious St James Palace in London, was not an easy task, with nearly 900 entries coming from all ends of the Commonwealth. The works were under different themes and categories with one category for under 18 participants as well as a Mobile Phone category. This was also another opportunity for me to learn more about selection processes and the organization of judging panels. Naturally the work, coming from so many different areas of the commonwealth as well as the cultural diversity of the participants, made for different levels and standards of entries – there were the obviously top notch images coming from professional photographers and then entries from hobbyists and youths. It made for a very intriguing mix of images. I could not help notice that some of the work was of the documentary side – just recording a scene or a holiday snapshot – yet other images had an important message as well as an obvious thematic involvement by the photographer. It was also curious that the weakest section was the mobile category. With the use and proliferation of mobile phones, I would have expected much stronger images in this section.

From a personal point, it was also a pleasure that recent efforts of myself and the MIPP to work with Atlam sub aqua club photographers are paying off. I successfully encouraged them to put in their impressive work for this competition. In fact, the Malta entry was noticeable and a good number of works left a good impression on the experienced judging panel.

© Kevin Casha

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