Philip Smith talks through his favourite photos from this year's International Garden Photographer of the Year competition, on display at Kew Gardens.
We just starting to recover from the installation of this year’s International Garden Photographer of the Year awards day and exhibition, running near the Pavilion restaurant at Kew Gardens. It was a very busy time, but hugely enjoyable for everyone who came to see us.
We received these kind words in an email from one of the International Garden Photographer of the Year finalists this year. He had travelled from the USA to take in the exhibition.
"As for the outdoor display, I felt that the photos had been extremely well arrayed and sited and the visitors that I saw seemed to be completely engrossed. Enormously satisfying for me to experience my familiar pictures taking their places as small voices in an extremely beautiful and varied chorus of images from around the world.”
International Garden Photographer exhibition at Kew Gardens
Talking of enjoyment, as organiser, I am often asked ‘what’s your favourite picture?' By the time of the exhibition opening, Mary Denton and I have become very familiar with all of the images, and exchanged emails with most of the photographers, and often spoken to them personally. So, by the time the public gets to see the photographs we have ‘lived with them’ for many weeks and months. So, when I'm asked that question, I like to think about three different responses:
- the 'grabbers’ – the ones that struck me immediately when I watched the judging process
- the images that are ‘slow burners’ – ones that I didn’t ‘get’ when the judging was taking place but now I really like
- the ‘quiet ones' – the ones I just didn’t really notice one way or another, until I suddenly look at them afresh and see the real value of them.
Here's my personal top three:
My favourite ‘grabber’ – ‘Unmistakable Similarities’ Ute Klaphake
This photograph leapt out at the judging panel because it is so amusing.
‘Unmistakable Similarities’ Ute Klaphake
My favourite ‘slow burner’ - 'Autumn is Coming’ by Gerard Leeuw
An image that is quite difficult to ‘read’, but reveals itself over time – distinctly weird!
‘Autumn is Coming’ by Gerard Leeuw
My favourite ‘quiet one’ - ‘Martina and Peter’ by Magdalena Strakova
This one isn’t in the exhibition, but was ‘highly commended’ and included in the book of the exhibition. Just a great bit of photography – absolutely captures the decisive moment.
‘Martina and Peter’ by Magdalena Strakova
- Philip -
- Visit the exhibition at Kew Gardens
- International Garden Photographer of the Year competition
- Buy IGPOTY prints online
- Buy the book of the International Garden Photographer of the Year exhibition
*Ralph Waldo Emerson – thanks to Sarah-fiona Helme
About Philip Smith
Philip Smith is a professional photographer specialising in gardens and plants with 15 years’ experience. His photography has featured in many magazines and books including The English Garden, The Garden (RHS) , and Gardeners’ World. His work has also featured in exhibitions at Kew Gardens and the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley and London.
As co-founder and Managing Director of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Philip is responsible for the world’s premier competition in the field, which culminates in an annual exhibition at Kew Gardens and other venues. Philip is the author of Better Plant and Garden Photography.
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