Perpignan Winners

You will probably have heard the names of the winners of this year’s Visa d’Or at Perpignan. More interesting for me was Philip Blenkinsop, awarded the Visa d’Or News for his coverage of the coverage of the earthquake in China, not least because of the rather unusual presentation. Pouring rain meant that the awards ceremony was abandoned, and left everyone wondering what was going to happen. Festival director Jean-Francois Leroy combed the town, award in hand searching for Blenkinsop, called him out of a restaurant and made the presentation in the street outside in the centre of a surging crowd of photographers.

You can watch the event without getting wet in a video on the PDNPulse web site (you’ll have to sit through an ad to do so.)

As you can read in the Digital Journalist, Blenkinsop chucked in a job as a photographer for an Australian newspaper in 1989 at the age of 21 finding it too shallow, sold his car to buy a Leica, some lenses and a one-way ticket to Bangkok, determined to point his camera at what was real and become a photojournalist.

At first he struggled, as few people wanted to publish pictures as raw as his, but in 1993 he was awarded the Felix H Mann Prize and 3rd place in World Press Photo for his work on the suppression of the pro-democracy movement in Thailand. In 1997 he joined Agence VU (and is now with the Amsterdam-based Agency NOOR, launched at last year’s Visa Pour l’Image.) He has deservedly picked up a tremendous series of awards including two earlier Visa d’Or – the 2003 Visa d’Or Magazine for his coverage of the ‘Secret War In Laos’ and the 2005 Visa d’Or News for his work on the tsunami.

At least Brent Stirton won his Visa d’Or Features for his pictures of the slaughter of gorillas in the Congo and not the (uncredited) images he took of of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s twin babes (which apparently made Getty $14 million.) You can also watch a video of him on PDN. Stirton, a senior staff photographer for Getty Images is another highly awarded photographer, but somehow his work sometimes makes me feel a little uncomfortable, perhaps too highly coloured and polished. Sometimes it strikes me as too much technique and perhaps not enough feeling.

One Response to “Perpignan Winners”

  1. SHUTT3R SG says:

    Thanks for the info on Blenkinsop, and for linking to the very moving/unusual video.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.