AG|WPJA Photographer of the Year
The AG|WPJA proudly recognizes the Photographer of the Year (POY), that member holding the most contest points (except those awarded from categories designated for portraits and/or details) at the end of each year.
2012 AG|WPJA Photographer of the Year
Andrea Cittadini, Italy
Andrea Cittadini tells the newlywed’s story by capturing the natural emotions and the narrative of the day through his lens, in brilliant detail. In telling their story, he not only captures the present moment but also the moment that speaks to their past and to an auspicious future. In short, his artistic wedding photojournalism tells a narrative that stands outside of time.
To capture clear, emotional photography is Andrea’s aim. He follows emotions as they flow throughout the day. From father to daughter, bride to groom, mother to son, and so on, there’s a wealth of poignant feelings, crystalized through Andrea’s lens. Elated, nervous, wistful, relieved—whatever his subjects express becomes nearly tangible through his photographs.
2011 AG|WPJA Photographer of the Year
Edoardo Agresti, Italy
While Edoardo Agresti’s subject matter spans from weddings to cultures around the globe, the driving force behind it does not vary. It is his love of reporting on what lies between his camera and the world that comes across in every image he captures.
Edoardo views each wedding he photographs as a journey. “The wedding is an event and if you want to tell [its] story, you must shoot in a photojournalistic style,” the lifelong traveler says. He has been traveling since the age of 9. Along with photography, he attributes his love of travel to his father. Travel, he says, “has helped me develop a particular sensitivity, and tune my heart and mind, so that I can capture reality in all its beauty, depth and intimacy.”
2010 AG|WPJA Photographer of the Year
Juliana Mozart, Brazil
Juliana Mozart, AG’s 2010 Photographer of the Year, admits, “I’m a very frustrated ex-bride!” Years ago, the photographer she hired to capture her momentous day forgot to replace the flash’s battery. The videographer did not show up. The day passed without any tangible remembrances of it. She jokes that her therapy for having an empty wedding album is photographing each of her client’s weddings with much love and passion.
Though in truth, Mozart’s passion for her work comes from something that cannot be pinned down. It’s evident in her photography, in which the angles and perspectives from which she captures her subjects are constantly shifting in unexpected ways. When looking at her work, the viewer feels as though she has been transmitted into the artful, beautiful way in which Mozart sees the world. She finds surprising ways of framing a moment, making her work always new and fresh and idiosyncratic.
2009 AG|WPJA Photographer of the Year
Marcin Labedzki, Poland
The WPJA is honoring a member of the Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Association (AG|WPJA) with a Photographer of the Year (POY) award. Marcin Labedzki of Gdanzk, Poland, has earned through contest points the title of AG|WPJA POY 2009. In addition to the title, Labedzki will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a trophy with his name engraved on it.
“Winning this award is a very special distinction and I’m happy that my work has been honored like this,” says Labedzki. “I think being a wedding photojournalist is the greatest thing in the world. Not many people have the luxury of turning a passion into a profession. In photography nothing is impossible. The only limit is our imagination.”
2008 AG|WPJA Photographer of the Year
Emin Kuliyev, New York
When shooting weddings, award-winning New York photographer and AG|WPJA Photographer of the Year (POY) 2008, Emin Kuliyev practices rapt attention. For as many as 13 consecutive hours Kuliyev focuses on the day’s event, without eating, sitting or losing concentration. No detail is so small as to slip his notice. No physical twist, bend or turn is too much for him, including multiple hours of standing.
And that kind of focus doesn’t end on the wedding day. Kuliyev spends a month afterward culling through up to 8,000 images he typically shoots over the course of a wedding, from getting ready to reception reverie. He compares a day’s shooting to climbing Mt. Everest while hauling a large, heavy camera bag—but he wouldn’t do anything else in the world.
2007 AG|WPJA Photographer of the Year
Dino Lara, Phillippines
Sometimes photographer and place are a perfect match. The exotic Philippines brings out the best in AG|WPJA photographer Dino Lara, who is a native of the multi-island nation. A lush, romantic and picturesque country, the Philippines inspires Lara and provides a sensuous backdrop for his award-winning wedding photography.
Celebrating his 10th anniversary in 2010 as a wedding photojournalist, Lara was awarded the AG|WPJA Photographer of the Year (POY) title in 2007. He credits hard work for his award-winning style. “I do a lot of preparation before I photograph a wedding so that I’ll be able to react quickly when a rare moment comes,” says Lara. “One way I keep myself ready is by feeding my eyes and mind with visual art. I watch a lot of movies—about four or five a week—read books, go to art galleries, and look at magazines and web sites.”
2006 AG|WPJA Photographer of the Year
Chenin Boutwell, Southern Carolina
About 10 years ago when she was a second-year law student and part-time wedding photographer, Chenin Boutwell of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., was offered a position as a public defender, her dream job. But her heart was in photography. So after finishing law school Boutwell launched her business as a wedding photojournalist, never once regretting it.
Personable and talented, Boutwell keeps a full schedule photographing about 25 weddings a year and teaching workshops to other photographers. Her contemporary style is fun, detailed and emotional, earning her a loyal following, awards and lots of media exposure. Several magazines and two recent wedding books have published her images. In 2006 Boutwell was named AG|WPJA Photographer of the Year and two years later The Knotnamed Boutwell Studio one of the top Southern California wedding studios.