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2021 Sony Alpha Awards winners

Sony Australia has announced the winners of its 2021 Alpha Awards, open exclusively to Australian and New Zealand photographers using Alpha cameras, with Matt Beaver winning the grand prize for his image, The Fog.

Matt Beaver’s grand prize winning image, The Fog.

Beaver’s image was captured on an Alpha 9 camera and 70-200mm f2.8 G Master lens. The Wagga Wagga-based commercial photographer is a former television director, who continues specialising in video.

‘After such a turbulent year it is a delight to view Matt Beaver’s The Fog; a calm, elegant and cinematic image.  It is a beautifully layered photograph, from tone and texture through to subject and focus; it draws you in with its enigmatic quality.’

The Fog was captured earlier this year in Narrandera in NSW on a freezing cold morning. Beaver was there for a commercial shoot, and while the moody foggy conditions didn’t fit the job brief, the image Beaver subsequently shot went on to earn him $10K in Sony gear. Thankfully, the fog also lifted later that day to reveal blue skies and green pastures, suitable to capture the hero image he was after.

‘I entered The Fog into the contest because I think it tells a story of rural Australia. Truth be told, I’ve seen this image a thousand times before, except in different circumstances,’ Beaver told Inside Imaging. ‘I’ve seen farmers walking through brown paddocks of dirt under blue skies and a blazing sun. It hasn’t rained in months. The farmer has checked the weather app, the predicted rain never eventuates. Crop failure after crop failure – the ground remains dry. The drought never seems to end.

‘This image was captured while we waited for the fog to clear. The drought had broken, the landscape was green again and crops were thriving. For years I’ve seen all that  Aussie farmers have gone through as they continue to work the land to feed us all.’

The sixth Sony Alpha awards attracted 4900 entries by photographers competing to win 11 categories, judged by 26 photographers.

Here’s a gallery of category winners:

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Photo contest criteria

Organising group: Sony Australia New Zealand.
Status/Objective: Promote Sony Alpha cameras, award Sony photographers.
Entry fee: Free, only open to photographers using Sony Alpha gear.
Prizes: Grand prize is $10K worth of Sony gear, $2k for category winners. Total prize pool value is $37K.
Sponsors: Sony ANZ.
Judges: 26 Sony Ambassadors and Digital Imaging Advocates.
Number of entrants/submissions: 4900 entries.
Categories: 11 categories covering the spectrum of photographic genres and styles.
Exposure: Promoted online by Sony Australia, with press release and further publicity opportunities.
Affiliations: No affiliations.
Transparency: Quite transparent.
Communication: A generic Sony Imaging ANZ e-mail contact is provided. .
Estimated Gross Revenue: Entry is free.
Copyright standards: No copyright clause in mentioned in T&Cs, however entrants provide Sony an 18-month promotional licence and perpetual licence to exhibit images in Alpha Awards exhibitions (online, physical, display advertisement, etc) .
Overall rating: It’s essentially an in-house marketing exercise to showcase the work of photographers using Sony gear. Free entry makes it a worthwhile contest from a reputable camera brand.

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