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Liam West – Master Photographer – M.PHOTOG – APPAS 2014

What a cracker of a haul this year. I entered 4 images across 3 categories and received my first APPA Gold in the Commercial category along with a Silver plus a Silver in Advertising. My fourth image, a print in the Illustrative category was given 78 which is considered professional standard – not bad considering how far removed it was from my normal work (this NSFW image is here if you want to see it – click High Res to see it larger).

The best news is that this gave me 4 points which put me 2 points over what I required to achieve “Master Photographer” status – a goal I’ve been working towards since entering my first APPAs in 2008.

SA AIPP Professional Photographer of the year. Again!

I still can’t believe it. Receiving this award in 2010 absolutely knocked my socks off. The fact that it’s happened again still hasn’t sunk but I’m sure I’ll get used to the idea soon enough.

I’d like to take this opportunity, away from Facebook, Twitter, Blah Blah and What Not to give a more personal account and hopefully not bore you all to tears. Sit down, it won’t be that bad.

For quite a few years now I’ve been working very hard to find a niche for my style of work. I am a technically minded creative collaborator. Ideal world for me is when an Art Director contacts me and says “Hey Liam, I’ve got this cool idea. I’m not sure how we’re going to make it work, that’s where you come in”. This is why the win this year is so important to me, all 4 of the images that I entered were highly time and labour intensive productions. The stuff I can really sink my teeth into.

The forks/wine glass image is made up of multiple images of one fork which allowed me to bend and distort them into the wine glass shape without losing too much of the original form and scale. It was nice that the judges noticed the forks had different little details on them; though they were the same image flipped I went to the trouble of adding and removing reflections here and there to make them appear to be individuals! This concept was the brainchild of Jon Pagano at Showpony Advertising, possibly one of the most outright perfectionists I’ve ever worked with and I love him for it. He’s also responsible for the Coopers Scooter that scored a Gold Distinction in last year’s awards and a Bronze at the Prague International Advertising Festival.

The Sportsmed building was part of a website and general image refresh for the business. This particular shot was captured in the early evening just after the sun had dipped below the horizon, there’s a fair bit of Photoshop trickery involved in this one but I won’t give too much away – you’d ‘flip’ if I told you how the building looks so perfectly symmetrical!

SAPOL recently ran a gun amnesty campaign which required a punchy and hard hitting image to capture the public’s attention. This was photographed at a top secret location (yes they are all real guns, except the few that aren’t!) and I added the cracked wall after the fact. The wall is actually the side of a car dealership down the road from our studio, very convenient.

The fourth image here is another Jon Pagano/Showpony creation – it was shot alongside the TV Commercial from BreastScreen SA at the impressive new Adelaide Studios. It was quite an emotional day as the talent were being directed to show real sadness and forlorn. We set up a stills set next to the motion guys and photographed the talent between breaks for the various required images but this one here was taken at the end and we had them all grouped together in one shot. The brief was to create a dramatic and sombre mood and I remember every retouch revision coming back with the AD asking if it could be darker! I love to be pushed to the limit and I think we really pulled off the desired mood in this case.

This is by far the longest blog post I’ve ever made but I think it shows just how much this all means to me. I really appreciate the huge amounts of support I’ve had from my wife, family, friends and colleagues over the last few years.

Thanks for taking the time to read this entire post, I know you did.