Australian portrait and wedding photography legend Jerry Ghionis stunned over four hundred guests at The Societies’ Convention Awards dinner in west London (Sun Jan 17) by picking up an unprecedented EIGHT major awards, including the coveted overall Photographer of the Year 2009 title.
Ghionis takes homes the most valuable prize in The Societies’ history – over £7,500 worth of cutting edge Nikon D3s camera and Fuji ASK dye sub printer equipment.
Over 23,000 images were entered, across 33 categories in the 2009 awards programme and Ghionis, whose international seminars sell-out months in advance, said he had been “wonderfully shocked” by winning eight awards on his own.
“In my business it’s unheard of for me to be left speechless; but this is a unique moment for me. The trophies I have won are just glass but if they show I have been in some way helpful to other photographers through my images and my workshops then that is praise indeed.”
The Convention had been billed as: “The biggest and most successful show of its kind ever held in Europe” and it lived up to expectation with over 12,500 “serious” photographers attending the sell-out seminars and trade show.
The week-long event attracted both UK and international media attention with journalists travelling to the Novotel West in Hammersmith from as far afield as Germany and Russia.
The Societies’ (incl SWPP) CEO Phil Jones said: “We are absolutely overjoyed. This year’s event has been the best in our history. Despite the recession and challenging weather we have had more photographers and imaging enthusiasts through the doors than ever before.
We enlisted over 150 speakers from across the globe to tutor across all photographic and marketing disciplines & and the seminars rooms have been packed to overflowing every day.”
He added: “Additionally, every centimetre of trade space had been snapped up by over 250 imaging companies promoting everything from capture and output equipment to interface technologies, insurance and accounts services.”
Top seminar speaker Trevor Yerbury said: “This show just keeps on growing. The interest and enthusiasm has been seriously impressive. Hundreds of delegate attended our workshops and seemed keener than ever to learn how to improve both their photographic techniques and their business acumen.”
Chis Kay, marketing manager at Loxley Colour added: “We took a whole aisle at the trade show this year to promote our products & and it paid off handsomely. This has been our best show yet.”
The Societies’ Awards (2009) winners
The Societies’ Photographer of the Year: Jerry Ghionis
Second place: Philip Nash
Third place: Steve Allen
Richard Page (Advertising category); Joe Smith (Exterior Architecture); Alan Carville (Interior Architecture); Michael Nunn (Baby category); Trevor Yerbury (Children category); Michael Nunn (Digital art); Jerry Ghionis (Fashion); Christopher Azzopard (Fine art); Philip Nash (Glamour& Beauty); Richard Martin (Landscape); Mark Nicoll (Macro category); Faye Yerbury (Monochrome); Cath Lewis (Pets); Tom Robson (Pictorial); Damian McGillicuddy (Contemporary portraiture); Christopher Azzopardi (Environmental portraiture); Sam Knight (Portraiture: Family & Groups); Julie Hughes (Pregnancy portraiture); Damian McGillicuddy (Traditional portraiture); Steve Hill (Press & News); Christopher Azzopardi (Publicity & PR); Sheila Pearce (Science & nature); Martin Scerri (Sports: ball games); Steve Allen (Sport: general); Elliot Patching (Motor Sports); Liam Kidney (Travel); Gordon Jovic (Wedding: bridal portraiture); Stuart Bebb (Contemporary Wedding ); Jerry Ghionis (Wedding: photojournalism); Stuart Bebb (Traditional Wedding); Steve Allen (Wildlife)
Jerry Ghionis also picked up five awards in The Societies’ 20 x16 Print Competition.
The Societies also awarded Honorary Fellowship status to veteran glamour and fashion photographer John Swannell and travel photographer Jim Chamberlain.
Malta’s Christopher Azzopardi notched up a record 67 Gold awards through the year and panel judges awarded a further eighteen photographers Licentiateship and Associateship status at special judgings held at The Convention. The Societies also made two new “Master” awards to Damian McGillicuddy and Aled Oldfield for their services to the organisation.