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America's Cup Photography Awards Captured

Winners of Air New Zealand America's Cup Photography Awards Captured

Being there was indeed everything for two photographers who captured images of the 2003 America's Cup regatta.

Professional photographer Geoff Dale and hobby snapper Bob Wharton have been selected as overall winners of the Air New Zealand America's Cup Photography Awards.

The awards were introduced at this year's America's Cup to showcase and recognise the most outstanding images taken in the lead up to and during the world-renowned sporting event.

Chief judge of the awards and highly regarded photographer, Marti Friedlander, explains the brief for all entries was to show why 'Being At The America's Cup Is Everything'. It called on entrants to illustrate the excitement surrounding the event, and all entries by professional photographers had to have been published.

"We were looking for images that captured the essence of the America's Cup but also paid attention to technique, creativity and composition," she says.

Geoff Dale of Mt Albert won the professional award for a head and shoulders shot of Dean Barker at the press conference after the first disastrous race in which Team New Zealand suffered catastrophic equipment failure. The photograph was published in the Sunday Star-Times.

Mrs Friedlander says she was "moved by the photograph" and vividly recalled seeing the image when it appeared in the paper.

"When the black boat broke, Dean broke too. The whole of New Zealand felt for him and were united behind him," she says.

Bob Wharton of Torbay entered a colourful photograph in the hobby section titled 'Loyal - tooth and nail!'. It captured a group of seven children sitting on the deck of a boat in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour holding up homemade artwork displaying the 'Loyal' symbol.

The judges agreed the highlight of the America's Cup was the huge ground swell of support for Team New Zealand's defence.

Marti Friedlander says, "The winning hobby photograph clearly portrays the hope of a nation through the eyes of children.

"It groups the different levels of support together from the corporate banner and campaign symbolism to the children's artwork," she says.

Other judges included Murray Taylor (Team New Zealand) and Air New Zealand Acting Marketing Manager, John Whittaker.

For their efforts the winning professional and hobby photographers have been awarded $2500 worth of Air New Zealand travel and two return trans-Tasman (Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane) Pacific Class airfares respectively.

The two winning photographs will be displayed in the airline's Auckland Koru Lounge and will feature in its inflight magazine, attracting a national and international audience of more than 90,000 lounge visitors and magazine readers a month.

Air New Zealand Vice President Marketing and Alliances Ed Sims says the airline wanted to provide professional and hobby photographers alike with the opportunity to have their work formally celebrated.

"We were delighted with the standard of entries received. The winners really captured the essence of 'Being There Is Everything' with their emphasis on the human and personal side of the event," he says.

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