2022 Photographer of the Year: The judges!

We have assembled a panel of judges from some of Australia and New Zealand’s finest photographers to judge the 10th edition of Photographer of the Year, presented by Camera House, Australasia’s largest competition for amateur photographers. Get to know the first of our jury:

Alex Cearns OAM

Britain’s Dogs Today Magazine calls Perth-based photographer Alex Cearns “one of our greatest dog photographers in the world”. Alex is Creative Director of Houndstooth Studio in Perth, Australia and specializes in capturing portraiture that conveys the intrinsic character of her animal subjects.

She photographs for dedicated animal lovers, corporate brands in Australia, the US and the UK, and around 40 Australian and international animal welfare and conservation organizations. Her images have been widely featured in international media, books, magazines, billboards and advertising campaigns.

Alex has received over 350 awards in photography, business and philanthropy and was awarded the Order Of Australia for services to animal welfare organizations through photography in 2019. Alex’s philanthropy and passionate advocacy for animal rescue inspires others with her love of working with animals and has earned her high standing among Australia’s animal lovers and a strong social media following. She is an ambassador for Tamron, Profoto, BenQ and Spider Holster and is considered an influencer in the fields of photography, business and the pet industry.

She regularly judges photo competitions and presents at events. Alex lives in Perth, Western Australia with her partner, two rescue dogs and a rescue cat.

Matt Palmer

Matt Palmer is a conservation-focused landscape photographer based in Bright, Victoria. He runs the Alpine Light Gallery with his partner Mieke Boynton. Matt has been recognized as a Master of Photography in Australia and New Zealand and in 2019 he won the AIPP Australian Professional Photographer of the Year for his documentation of fires in Tasmania.

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Matt has a diverse history in photography, including 15 years documenting the world’s most influential musicians from Metallica, Pearl Jam, TOOL, Nick Cave and hundreds more. He is also a former AIPP Australian Professional Sports Photographer of the Year for his documentation of the sport of Muay Thai and has served as an Ambassador for the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania and has worked with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy.

Matt was also chief photographer and creative director for Brisbane Roar FC, ran a wedding and portrait photography business and worked with a children’s hospital to create images and designs to support fundraising for medical care and research.

Douwe Dijkstra is a professional senior graphic designer based in Sydney. Born and raised in the Netherlands, he moved down under in 2003 and now calls Australia home. Photography is a strong passion for Douwe and he picked up his first camera at the age of 12.

Over the years his hobby has evolved from taking family photos with his grandfather’s camera to black and white art in the digital age. Douwe prefers to shoot in black and white as he simply finds it easier to capture the essence of a scene in black and white: color is just a distraction. He won the Photographer of the Year Black and White category in 2015.

Helen Wittle

Helen Whittle is a fine art photographer specializing in portraits of children, drawing inspiration from dramatic and natural light. With a style that is mainly black and white, she produces simple, emotional and authentic images.

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She is a proud member of ClickPro and has received many awards to her name. She was named Australian Photographer of the Year overall by Australian Photography Magazine in 2016, Capture Magazine’s second emerging portrait photographer of the year in 2019 and 2019 overall winner of the international Black and White Child Photo Competition.

Helen has been a judge in many international photography competitions and has been teaching children’s portraiture since 2018. She regularly speaks locally and internationally on the subject. She loves to share her enthusiasm and passion and to inspire others.

Anthony McKee

Anthony McKee is a Melbourne-based author and social documentary photographer. In 2014 he was named AIPP 2014 Australian Documentary Photographer of the Year. He has also won awards for his landscape photography. He has presented awards for professional and amateur photography on both sides of the Tasman Sea and was made an Honorary Member of the NZIPP in 2013 for his services to photography. He is a regular contributor to Australian Photography magazine.

Doug Gimesy

Doug is a professional conservation and wildlife photojournalist focusing on Australian issues. A four-time finalist for the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year and first winner of the WildScreen Panda Photo Story Awards, he is a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and his clients include National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Australian Geographic, and various Mastheads like The Guardian. Initially trained as a zoologist and microbiologist, he later completed a Master of Environment and a Master of Bioethics. Together, these two qualifications have helped shape his thinking about what type of issues to focus on and why – issues of conservation and animal welfare.

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Believing that people should focus on the issues that matter to them and those that are close to home, his recent work has focused on the conservation and animal welfare issues faced by the platypus and grey-headed flying fox – having recently facilitated the listing of the platypus as an endangered species in his home state of Victoria and published (with his partner) a children’s book about grey-headed fruit bats called ‘Life Upside Down’.

Current ongoing projects include a series of portraits entitled “Wildlife Warriors, Conservation Champions and Animal Advocates”, documents about wombats and the use of language to better shape environmental and conservation communication. He is also co-authoring a university study to better understand how wildlife images affect both emotional engagement and human behavior.

His hope is that the images and information he shares will inspire people to stop, reflect and treat the world in a kinder way.

Lisa Michele Burns

Lisa Michele Burns is a travel, landscape and underwater photographer trying to capture the world from a different perspective. Whether through her The World from The Water series or through the use of artistic reflections, her work depicts travel destinations with an ethereal pastel hue.

Preferring to photograph in extreme climates and in nature, Lisa started photography while working as a journalist for lonely planet back in 2007. She now publishes The Wandering Lens, a photographer’s guide that lists photogenic destinations and experiences alongside creative tips. Each year, Lisa, an Olympus visionary, also hosts travel photography tours in places like Japan, Iceland, and France.


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