A Manchester based still-life photographer who has spent much of 2008 photographing domestic irons, has beaten off stiff competition from some of Europe's leading professional photographers to pick up the prestigious FEP European Commercial Photographer of the Year title at an inaugural awards presentation at Photokina.
Jonathan Beer, a commercial products photographer who specialises in bringing boring objects to life, made a last minute dash to Cologne to collect his award from Neil Warner, multi-award winning president of the Federation of European Photographers, at a special ceremony at the FEP exhibition on the Epson Stand.
"I am just so proud" he said, "I never dreamt my work would ever be appreciated on a European stage, particularly as I believe a good deal of continental still-life photography is superior to much of the ‘fast and cheap' work produced in the UK."
He added: "The fact that a world-class imaging company like Epson has got behind these awards is an indication of the weighty status of this programme. The FEP is working closely with national photo-bodies across Europe to promote highest standards of photography - and pan-European awards like this really help photographers to keep in touch with their contemporaries in other countries."
The overall European Professional Photographer of the Year award went to La Rochelle, France-based Philippe Moinet for a panel of personal work inspired by a children's comic.
Said Moinet: "I contacted a local kennel club and shot a series of images of dog owners and their pets. Then, using Photoshop, I superimposed dogs' heads on human bodies to create portraits which I hoped would have a really original appeal."
Spanish wedding photographer Enrique Oliver picked up the European Social Photographer of the Year award with a set of images described as "seriously compelling" by FEP judges.