Who’s To Judge?

Curating a panel of competition judges requires a considered approach. Canon Master Darren Jew throws some light on what goes on behind the scenes of an international competition to ensure all entries are viewed without bias and given an equal and fair go.

“Judges are heroes to the winners, and pariahs to those who don’t feature in the headline announcements. Controversy and Awards often go hand-in-hand – it’s the nature of the art / competition dynamic.

Our goal as the Awards Team is to ensure every entry has the best opportunity to shine; to have a process that is anonymous and can stand up to scrutiny; and one that brings together judges with a diversity of opinion, of experience, and experiences.

The entries will be scored by each judge independently, against a number of set criteria spanning technique, creativity, story-telling and innovation. Our Judge’s scores are then aggregated, narrowing down the field in each of the Awards’ categories. These scores are then used to identify the highest-level contenders. The initial scoring process may in and of itself produce a clear winner, or there may need to be additional rounds of scoring to produce the coveted final result. 

As an entrant you can be confident your work will be afforded the respect it deserves, and that the highest scoring entries will have stood out by winning over the hearts, and the minds, of an esteemed group of artists.”

As diverse in their chosen fields as they are geographically located, the 2021 judging panel is made up of highly regarded, skilled professionals, each with their own niche and style. 

Who are they?

Darren Jew, publisher and Foto Frenzy founder is six-time winner of the AIPP’s ‘Australian Professional Nature Photographer of the Year’.  Darren has spent thirty years documenting wildlife around the globe with abundant collaborations including wildlife, science and tourism partnerships. Speaker, tour leader, competition judge and author, his deep understanding of nature photography in our underwater world brings the highest level of international expertise to the Underwater Tour’s Team.  Darren is featured in Tales by Light ‘Submerged’, Season 1, Episode 1 on Netflix. Watch it – you’ll really enjoy it!

Y Zin Kim from South Korea is an accomplished art director, commercial photographer, National Geographic underwater photographer and Asia’s first female side mount cave diver.  Add to that the badge of TDI Instructor Trainer and world record holder for the 101m depth challenge, and it’s evident why Y Zin has truly set the bar in Korea.

Jürgen Freund brings with him gravitas and wisdom as Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers underpinned by his masterful imagery and stories behind 30 years of nature and conservation photography. Notably a challenging two year WWF Coral Triangle assignment resulted in the fascinating book ‘Wildlife Under the Waves’ and more recently Jürgen captured a photographic documentary of Prof. Peter Harrison’s GBR coral spawning project.

Rachael Talibart, whose photographic specialty is ‘the coast’, is based in the UK where she is best known for her Sirens portfolio – critically acclaimed photographs of stormy seas named after mythical beings.  Exhibited widely internationally, Rachael is the author of three books and recipient of numerous photography awards, including Black and White Photographer of the Year.

Alex Kydd is a marine biologist originally from Melbourne now living in Western Australia.  Much of Alex’s own expansive image portfolio is taken whilst freediving and has been featured in mainstream magazines and newspapers internationally. With a plethora of wins and commendations himself, Alex is no stranger to entering competitions, most recently winning the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year ‘Animal Behaviour’ in 2020.  ​

Anmari Van Nieuwenhove’s career adventure, born from a love of English literature, has led her into the world of digital communications strategy, multi-concept media development and niche art programming for non-traditional art spaces.  Working with high profile artists presenting immersive curatorial offerings, Anmari is a regular contributor to the arts publications scene in Singapore.

Our Panel of esteemed artists are looking forward to enjoying YOUR work. 

Don’t’ forget to enter the 2021 Underwater Tour Awards.  It’s certainly worth your time – there’s an AUD 20k prize pool of cash and fabulous Partner products and experiences – entry deadline is 31 March.     For more information head to the Underwater Tour Awards

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