Scottish photographer Ed Smith has been named a finalist in the Sport category of the Photographers Association Photography Awards this week.
His image « Alpine Start » captures an extreme winter scene as mountaineers ascend high snowy slopes before first light on a route through the stunning mountains of Glen Coe.
Ed, from Kingussie, Highlands, says: “At the time of the photograph, I wasn’t thinking of participating in awards. We had, we had a 4am start to make the most of the sub-zero conditions and get ahead of a gathering storm.
“Rab Equipment commissioned the shoot for a new mountaineering jacket, so I was very much in work mode. I was being creative, while staying aware and alert to my surroundings.
« It was later, when I thought about participating in the AOP Awards, that I considered the narrative quality of the image. »
Ed describes the setting of the photo. He says: “You are very much a team on the mountain together, but Alex and Matt, the mountaineers, are visibly isolated in the beam of their own headlamps, each focused on keeping a steady pace.
“It conveys a very real element of loneliness in the midst of such a large mountain scene. It’s an honest perspective on what it’s like to be in the mountains before dawn, particularly in winter. »
The AOP Awards are hailed as highly prestigious. Ed is delighted to have been named a finalist.
He says: “I’ve watched these awards in awe for over a decade and never entered, so it feels like a huge honor to have been selected as a finalist on my first try.
“Winning the category would obviously be the icing on the cake. But I’m in a highly esteemed company along with the other finalists, so I’m excited and grateful to feel this step forward in my work. It is exciting to connect with new colleagues and clients through what has been achieved so far.”
Award winners will be announced live at the AOP Annual Showcase event in September 2023.
Ed is an adventure, lifestyle and landscape photographer. See Photography by Ed Smith.