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SUN Awards still shine brightly 20 years on - Northern photographers bask in the spotlight of the 20th SUN awards.
The winners of the Sun awards will be announced at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester on 6 November at the opening of an exhibition of all the shortlisted work.
Twenty years of change
SUN (Shot Up North) has been responsible for showcasing around 1,000 images by the best northern photographers over the last 20 years, a time of revolution in professional photography. The switch to digital and the ease with which anyone can now take a passable image for commercial use, has challenged photographers who have tussled with the pace of change; not all of them surviving.
Long-established photographers Doug Currie and Ed Horwich have witnessed the changes first hand in their own studios. They also have found the time ceaselessly to champion what they consider to be the unique talents of the best commercial photographers in the exhibition and catalogue of the SUN Awards.
Horwich comments: "One of my images was in the very first show and here we are two decades on running the show and making sure regional photographers receive the attention they deserve. The 20th anniversary has been a record year for entries, it's great to see established names alongside some excellent new talent."
Famous for rain, Manchester was birthplace to the SUN Awards
The SUN Awards were established in Manchester in 1988 with a first exhibition showing at the Viewpoint Gallery in the Old Fire Station, Salford. The aim was to bring together professional photographers working in advertising and marketing, so that they could benefit from unifying at a time when the photography industry was fragmenting in the face of change.
Martin Beckett puts his finger on what makes a winner Martin Beckett, a respected commercial photographer and former chairman of the Association of Photographers (AOP) picked out his past favourite images for this year's SUN catalogue. "The best photographers are confident in their ability to look at and capture the world in their own way. All photographers are affected by changes in style and evolving techniques yet only the best remain immediately recognisable stylistically, with their own unique approach. This 20th year of the SUN Awards marks a coming of age for commercial photography. That said, not everything changes: photographers always seem to find inspiration in some enduring themes, such as empty car parks. Looking through the SUN catalogues shows how these photographers have developed and how they've become more confident, they have an air of people who just really know their business."
Doug Currie picks up the story. "It's interesting to see that along with a constant influx of newcomers, many photographers who entered the Awards in its fledgling years are still doing so
today; their pictures showing their evolvement in style, content and media. Sitting side by side in the catalogue and crossing over two decades, each photographer can assess their work in comparison to their peers, looking at changes in both the current creative climate and changes in technology and also how they have progressed in their careers."
The Awards ceremony on November 6 kicks off an exhibition of all 50 images that have made it into the highly prized SUN catalogue, a publication that has performed a sterling job of introducing commercial photographers to agencies and clients, even now when the web prevails.
For more information please visit the Shot Up North website.