Istanbul Photo Awards ‘among top contests in the world’

Proud to be winning major contest in photojournalism, says winner Andrej Isakovic

The Istanbul Photo Awards is regarded as one of the top contests in the world among photographers including photojournalists, said Serbian photojournalist Andrej Isakovic, who won this year’s Single Sports category.

At a time when the whole world was trying to adopt to the new normal brought about by the coronavirus pandemic as well as other crises, photojournalists were recording history by capturing powerful images.

Anadolu Agency’s Istanbul Photo Awards did not backtrack support for photojournalism during these pressing times.

Talking about his winning entry, Isakovic, who works for Agence France-Presse (AFP), said the photo was taken during last year’s Formula 1 race.

The race was going as usual until the second half, he said.

He could have left the venue at that moment but he decided to trust his gut and stay.

“I somehow anticipated that something's going to happen, especially in that quarter,” he said.

“At the first moment, you don't think, you react by instinct, you keep on shooting pictures,” he said, referring to the dramatic crash of the 2021 season when Verstappen and Hamilton collide, with Verstappen's Red Bull nearly landing on top of Hamilton's head in Monza.

Calling the halo effect a “life-saving technological innovation,” he said he is glad there were no major casualties in the incident.

“I feel very proud to be one of this contest’s winners in the sports category as the Istanbul Photo Awards is regarded one of the top contests in the world among photojournalists and other photographers, as well,” he said.

He added that he received numerous positive and congratulatory e-mails and comments from his colleagues all around the world.

“When we put my picture aside and look at other winning images, we can see that they are all amazing images,” he said.

About choosing which photo to submit to the contest, he said that it was the decision of his agency.

Additionally, about the submission process, he underlined that the contest’s website is quite “straightforward.”

Power of images

“It’s a cliché when people say that a picture is worth a thousand words, that it can tell us so much but sometimes, it’s also true,” said Isakovic.

“I was also very proud to speak from my side for this particular picture because it was widely published, widely used on Instagram. Lewis Hamilton has thousands of comments for this image on his profile.

“For TV, everybody used this photo, which was so to speak shot in a traditional way with a photo camera. So, this proves to me and a lot of others that fought for photojournalism to have its place in the modern society to bring news to people,” he said.

“You still see the power of one single image and it is still going on despite people saying that we are overrun by multimedia. I don’t think so,” he said.

“I think that this contest is proof that one single image can bring out lots of emotions, news, and so on,” he further said.

Techniques, stories, technological developments

Stating that as an agency photographer he has to deliver photos to subscribers in real time, Isakovic said that is where the recent technological developments in the field of photography come to help.

“You can transmit images from the camera, you can do so many things in the camera, and at the end your client will receive a picture in minutes,” he said.

However, he said technology can only help if the image is powerful.

"Just one camera and one good eye is all that you need,” he said.

Additionally, he said, your instinct and experience as a photojournalist are as important.

He also gave some pieces of advice to the newcomers on the field, and as the first and the most important step, he suggested them “to be honest.”

“What I meant is that they shouldn’t play with the images. If that picture is for photojournalism, it has to be about the truth, to inform the people what's happening there to tell a nice story,” he said.

This year, the contest was supported by Canon, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Turkish Airlines.

Information related to the 2022 jury and award-winning photographs can be accessed via the website

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