EISA Maestro Competition Winners (UK) 2015
We showcase the first, second and third-placed winners in the UK round of the EISA Maestro Photo Contest 2015. Entrants were asked to submit a set of five to eight images relating to the theme of ‘Family’. The first-prize winner goes through to the international final, with the results announced in August 2015. AP is the UK representative for EISA on the photographic panel and had the pleasure of judging the UK entries.
1st – Neal Laver, Suffolk
‘As a teenager, we had a Polaroid camera at home,’ says Neal, ‘and when I was about 15 I bought an Olympus Trip. I had several other film cameras over the years, but struggled to learn very much. The digital era changed that, and after the birth of my son in 2002, encouraged and inspired by a friend who bought a Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro, I took the plunge and bought one too. I still have it. This camera changed everything for me. Over the coming years, I actually learned what I was doing and just enjoyed photography so much more.’ To see more of Neal’s images, visit www.neallaverphoto.co.uk.
While Neal loves all forms of photography, people are the subjects that truly capture his imagination. ‘I love working with people; they’re such compelling subjects,’ he says. ‘The characteristics of human nature, combined with personal individuality, just creates so many opportunities for a photographer.’ Here we see a lovely and intimate document of Neal’s wife and daughter, Holly. Neal’s images capture all facets of family life, from cooking in the kitchen to days out at the beach.
2nd Paul Louis Archer, Hertfordshire
‘I began my exploration of photography while studying for a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in fine art, from 1988 until 1991,’ says Paul. ‘During that period, I majored in painting, but I found the immediacy of photography to be quite liberating compared to the creative process of a painter. I enjoy the company of people and learning about their lives, loves and hopes. Consequently, my favourite subjects are portraiture, photojournalism and documentary photography. While immersed in the pursuit of photography, I strive to understand the nuances of my subjects.’
The real key to Paul’s set of images lies in his ability to bring out the character and warmth of his subjects, while demonstrating a wonderful grasp of environment and light. Visit www.paullouisarcherphotography.pullfolio.com.
3rd Gerald Marie-Nelly, London
‘I started to get serious about photography when my daughter was born,’ says Gerald. ‘I wasn’t satisfied with the photos taken with my iPhone, so I started to learn about DSLRs. I’ve been hooked ever since. I love the power of capturing memories. After losing loved ones, I realised how priceless photos are. Beautiful images of trips away also trigger valuable emotions. But for now I’m just learning as much as I can and trying to experiment with a variety of photographic techniques.’
Gerald’s images are a perfect example of how family photos can be so much more than snapshots. As Gerald says, photos can help to preserve the memories that disappear in the passage of time, and can assist us in reliving precious moments of our lives. Gerald has found a perfect balance between subject, location, light and monochrome. These are family images that he will likely cherish for all time.