For the first time in the more than 20-year history of the Kalgoorlie Miner Best Goldfields Photograph Competition, the same image has taken out both judges’ and people’s choice awards.
Kalgoorlie-Boulder relief teacher and photographer Philip Sutton’s Two Up Shadows was selected from 131 entries as the winner of the $500 main prize but the local of more than 10 years was stunned to discover his shot had also been named the people’s favourite.
Mr Sutton was even more flattered to learn his other photo called Piano Boy had come in second place in the people’s vote.
Mr Sutton has no formal training in photography but supplied images for a Sydney-based stock library before putting the camera away in the 1990s.
Mr Sutton only revisited his beloved hobby after purchasing a digital camera and has since developed a portfolio of stunning images at locations across Asia and Australia, with many taken at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Two Up Shed.
“I’ve been out to the Two Up so many times because it looks so inviting with its old rustic look and the colourful folk that go there but it can be quite hard to photograph,” Mr Sutton said.
“(The winning photograph) kind of grew on me, it sat there for a while and I asked my wife what she thought but she didn’t like it at all and still doesn’t.
“She said, ‘Don’t put that one into the contest, you are wasting your time,’ but I’m glad for once I didn’t listen.”
Mr Sutton said what made the image work so well was the presence of a shadow at the bottom of the shot.
“Just as I was going to take it, somebody walked past and I think without the shadow it wouldn’t work,” he said.
“It’s one of those rare moments where everything came together.
“It puts a mystique and mystery into the picture and you wonder who it might be.”
Piano Boy was also a risk for the photographer who rarely shoots in monochrome. Mr Sutton said he was pleased with the response the image received.
“I barely ever shoot in black and white but just for some reason I clicked that image into black and white and it just jumped off,” he said.
“Sometimes the eye of the people on the street is more discerning than the judges who are looking for a specific criteria and with that in mind, I think the peoples’ choice is more special than the judges’ award in some ways.”