PICS: SA photographer wins top international award for capturing sharks underwater

2019-02-17 06:28
Allen Walker has won a photography prize. (Supplied)

Allen Walker has won a photography prize. (Supplied)

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A South African photographer has won a top award for his work on sharks at the World Shootout 2018 awards.

The competition is focused on underwater photography and Allen Walker beat out David Salvatori and Filippo Borghi (both from Italy) to claim the first prize in the Sharks category.

"It's always nice to get recognition for years of work and dedication to try and master the art of underwater photography and photography in general, especially if it is only done as a hobby. Right now though, the fact that I have won a dive aboard trip to 'The Gardens of Eden', Cuba, something I could never afford, is just amazing. One big bucket list tick!" an ecstatic Walker told News24.

His love for shark photography started when he saw a variety of shark species on the Aliwal Shoal in Umkomaas, KwaZulu-Natal.

Walker said: "It was however, the likes of the BBC and NatGeos of the world that essentially got the pioneers of shark diving to find ways of attracting tiger sharks in for the filmmakers. This then progressed into a product that was offered to advanced divers and photographers.

"Being involved in the industry and an instructor first, then taking up UWP (underwater photography) as a hobby, it was natural to photograph these animals."

Allen Walker has won a photography prize.

Allen Walker has won a photography prize. (Supplied)

Allen Walker has won a photography prize.

Allen Walker has won a photography prize. (Supplied)

Allen Walker has won a photography prize.

Allen Walker has won a photography prize. (Supplied)


Walker's images capture the beauty of marine creatures and he believes it helps conservation efforts.

"Most definitely, my images have made people curious; they have evoked a sense of serenity around the 'feared' shark; they have made visible what people cannot see and they have shown that you can work in very close quarters with these animals," he said.

"More importantly, I have been able to take people on shark dives and show them firsthand how amazing these animals are. Most of my images are surreal and show the beauty of the animal and the ocean," he added.

The competition started in 2005 and has so far awarded $1 000 000 in prizes, of which $260 000 has been in cash.

The 2018 ceremony was held in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Overall, honours for picture of the year went to Andy Schmid of Switzerland, selected by Petros Michelidakis, the director of the boot Dusseldorf show.

For Walker though, his life and camera remains his daily motivation.

"My camera keeps it real for me, grounds me and reminds me of what is important in life. It has also allowed me to meet great people, speak to great people and present to great people, but most importantly, be inspired by them, and hopefully I inspire others too."

Read more on:    marine life

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