“And the winner is…Simon Stacpoole.”
Six magic words from the host, Kate Silverton, that summed up the best possible start to 2015 I could’ve hoped for. My first major sports photography award – the BT Sports Photographer of the Year – was presented to me during a ceremony at the Honourable Artillery Company Headquarters in London last Thursday, the 5th February, where hundreds of distinguished guests from the industry congregated for the prestigious annual Picture Editors’ Guild Awards.
Despite being a freelancer, my sports work is heavily associated with Offside Sports Photography, so it was only right that I dragged along the boss, Mark Leech, with me for the black tie event held only a stone’s throw from the company’s former offices on City Road.
My category had three nominees – I was shortlisted alongside Adrian Dennis of AFP, and Reuters’ Phil Noble. The competition was strong, both guys had great sets of pictures, I just felt pleased to be in amongst them, so I was absolutely delighted to come away with such an accolade. You spend ages looking through your favourite pictures beforehand, then you narrow them down to a shortlist, and then you narrow the shortlist down to a shorter shortlist, and eventually you arrive at the final cut, by which time you’re usually sick of the sight of them. You never really know what the judges are looking for in competitions, and different competitions vary from one to another, so you’re always best off putting forward a set of pictures you’re happy with yourself, rather than trying to second-guess what other people are hoping to see, and hope they catch the eye. Fortunately for me, this year, they did.
My winning folio of five pictures can be seen below…