Out of the Blue International Photography Competition & Exhibition
During the recent CHOGM events, the OUT OF THE BLUE PHOTOGRAPHY exhibition was inaugurated at the MarItime Museum in Vittoriosa by HRH Prince Charles. The opening brought to fruition the work of many months which included the preparation of rules, launching and promotion, the judging, preparation of exhibition boards and the collating of a publication. All this was a great opportunity to showcase the value and importance of our blue planet and raise awareness around all Commonwealth countries on the value of our seas. A vast area of our global ocean lies within the jurisdiction of Commonwealth countries. More than half of Commonwealth countries are islands, to whom ocean matters are of vital importance.
HRH Prince Charles delivering his opening speech
Through the work of Kevin Casha, MIPP President, Malta had a substantial entry and local photographers left an excellent impression with the international judges. Two MIPP members had their works amongst the finalists: Joe P. Smith and Nick D’Ancona’s images are also exhibited in the Maritime exhibition. Furthermore, other work, mainly coming from the photographic section of Atlam Subacqua Club, in Malta, was close to making it to the final selection. The competition’s overall winner was Ms Ashley Wee, from Canada with a photograph of a sea turtle taken in the Bahamas. Ms Wee attended the exhibition’s inauguration.
MIPP President Kevin Casha together with the overall winner, Ms Ashley Wee
The Out of the Blue competition, exhibition and book were made possible by the partnering organisations which were The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit, The Royal Commonwealth Society, National Geographic Pristine Seas, the CHOGM Taskforce and the Malta Institute of Professional Photography. Kevin Casha himself was instrumental for the success of this event as he was not only one of the Judges but also Picture Editor and Exhibition Coordinator. The exhibition is open to the general public from the 28th November to the 11th of December 2015.
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 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
Having already read so much about Steve McCurry, the famous American photojournalist, I approached the tranquil and quiet halls of St James Cavalier in Malta’s capital city of Valletta, with due respect and reverence. I have always admired McCurry’s work. For me, he has the knack of being in the right place at the right time and, as Cartier Bresson would aptly put it, of capturing the “right moment!”
During a recent lull in my usual busy, somewhat stormy lifestyle, I was experiencing, not for the first time and definitely not for the last, a feeling of dissatisfaction about my photography. Trying to find inspiration and perhaps some answers to my “artist’s block,” I picked up a book by Reza Deghati, entitled “War and Peace,” (www.nationalgeographic.com/books).
This book had been given to me a few months ago by one of my ex-students as well as a dear friend, Charles Mifsud. I had not yet had the time to savor it fully.