Fiona Lake wins international photography award

North Queensland photographers acknowledged among world's best

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Fiona Lake's world-winning photograph, taken during the celebrations of the 95th anniversary of the last service by the Cobb & Co coach between Surat and Yuleba and published by the Queensland Country Life in September 2019.

Fiona Lake's world-winning photograph, taken during the celebrations of the 95th anniversary of the last service by the Cobb & Co coach between Surat and Yuleba and published by the Queensland Country Life in September 2019.

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Townsville-based freelance photojournalist Fiona Lake has been acknowledged as one of the best in the world in the field of agricultural photography.

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Townsville-based freelance photojournalist Fiona Lake has been acknowledged as one of the best in the world in the field of agricultural photography.

In the early hours of Saturday morning Australia-time she was announced as the winner of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalism 2020 Star Prize for Photography for her exquisitely-composed aerial image of a bullock team published by the Queensland Country Life last September.

Ms Lake's entry had earlier in the evening been announced as the winner of the nature/landscape category.

Commenting on the news, she said the win highlighted the affinity that rural Australians have with their animals.

Her airborne shot looks down on Philip Thomson's bullock team, one of the ways in which the 95th anniversary of the last Cobb and Co trip between Surat and Yuleba was commemorated last year.

Ms Lake has previously been a runner-up in the IFAJ photography awards with one of her favourite photographs, of a chopper pilot leading a mob of cattle from the air.

"I was in the chopper with him and took the photo looking back over his shoulder," she said.

"It was a unique thing to witness and showed such skill.

"I do think photos have to tell a story, not just be staged."

Related: Fiona's exhibition to whisper in Washington

She said Australia probably had the best range of photographers and the best range of subject matter at their fingertips.

"I'd encourage them all to work towards getting their work published and entering it in these awards," she said.

Another North Queensland photographer, Cloncurry grazier Jacqueline Curley was judged runner-up in the production category of the photographic competition for her poignant image from the catastrophic weather event in north west Queensland early last year, published in Graziher magazine.

Jacqueline Curley's poignant and prizewinning image.

Jacqueline Curley's poignant and prizewinning image.

Other Australian winners in the international competition were Canberra-based ABC reporter Brett Worthington, who won the 2020 IFAJ Star Prize for digital media for his multi-platform entry Popping Prosecco's Bubble, and Matt Turner, who took out first place in the people category of the photography competition for his image of young South Australian winemakers, published in the Advertiser's SA Weekend magazine.

The awards would normally be announced during the IFAJ world congress, which Denmark was due to host this year before COVID-19 restrictions were imposed, and was conducted virtually instead.

Australian Council of Agricultural Journalism president Pete Lewis congratulated the winners on their success against the best ag journalism and photography that the 54 IFAJ member nations put up.

"It is terrific to see such outstanding Australian work recognised as the world's best, particularly given how tough things are right now for so many of our journalism colleagues across regional and rural areas," he said. "These stories and photographs join a long list of ACAJ winners in the premier annual international rural journalism awards."

NFF president Fiona Simson added her congratulations to the announcement saying, "our rural journos in Australia are second to none. I'm glad they're globally recognised for it!"

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