• 29.09.2014 Contests

    Fritz Pölking Prize 2014: winners announced!

    With his story on „The pollarded beech trees in the forest of Gorbeia“ Urtzi Vera from Spain has won the Fritz Pölking Prize 2014. This inter- national prize awarded by the Society of German Nature Photographers (GDT) and Tecklenborg publishing house since 2007 in memory of the late Fritz Pölking, is given away annually to honour exceptional photographic work. This may be a special wildlife photography project or a portfolio of photographs.

    For the jury, consisting of Gisela Pölking, Edwin Giesbers, Georg Kantioler, Patrick Brakowsky and Michael Lohmann, it was not an easy task. Jury member Patrick Brakowsky explains: „We got to see many beautiful images - creative, varied, unconventional and classic, sometimes spectacular, sometimes humble, but mostly not quite enough to make a consistent line of images or a portfolio. The strength of many of the entries was in powerful single images rather than in a photographic topic or story and so, four frontrunners quickly emerged in the two age groups.“ In the end, Urtzi Vera from Spain succeeded to convince the jury of five with his extremely focused photographic view, finding the spectacular in the unspectacular and his independent visual language. Brakowsky: „In Urtzi Vera‘s portfolio everything came together as it should be – photographic and artistic skills, an intense study of the habitat and a subtle view for the seemingly unspectacular, „everyday“ nature around us.“

    The pollarded beech trees in the forest of Gorbeia have captured Urtzi Vera‘s imagination since his childhood days. They received their characteristic appearance during the 18th and 19th century when the trees were trimmed to increase the number of their side branches to produce more timber for making charcoal. Today it is unfortunately their odd beauty that makes them vulnerable to collapse and decay. Vera: „Their man-made shape, the way the fog gets tangled in their branches and the fact that it is their undeniable fate to vanish forever - all this has inspired me to photograph these trees time and again over a period of seven years.“

    Contact: urtzivera@hotmail.com / www.urtzivera.com

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    Fritz Pölking Junior Prize 2014

    The subtle and the seemingly nondescript is also on the agenda in the portfolio „In the life of black-necked grebes“ by young Belgian photographer Michel d’Oultrement. As juror Patrick Brakowsky explains the jury‘s decision: „His images of black-necked grebes in a wetland do not show any action or highly unusual situations, but live by the atmosphere of the moment. The photographer makes the play of light, its colours and reflections on the water the true subjects of his photographs while integrating the birds expertly in the picturesque settings.“

    Michel‘s favourite time for photography is long before sunrise or in the evening when the sun sets. D‘Oultremont: „Light conditions on the water are fantastic then, which never fails to deeply touch me. It is these kinds of emotions that I want to bring out in my images, and my project is an homage to this wonderful bird, which continues to fascinate me as it did on the first day.“

    contact: micheldoultremont@hotmail.com / www.micheldoultremont.com

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