‘SIXTEEN’ – A Nationwide photography group project. UK.

‘Sixteen’ as a project is borne out of a series of pictures I made with young people during the Scottish Independence Referendum. As a Scotsman living in England, I had no vote and so as a way of engaging with the debate I made a series of photographs of young people who would celebrate their sixteenth birthday on the day of the vote, 18th September 2014. They were the youngest people ever to vote in a UK election and I was encouraged by how engaged they were in the discussions and how seriously they took their responsibilities.

The project got me thinking about the decisions that sixteen year olds make and the opportunities available to them. It is usually the time when you are approaching final secondary school exams and deciding whether to continue in education to study for A-levels or higher qualifications or to leave school and start to make your own way in an uncertain world. At a time when my own daughter was sixteen, it felt like the first time that most people are presented with really important life decisions and I was interested in how different people from different walks of life approached those decisions. How culture, social background, location, gender, ethnicity, family etc all influence what young people think they can achieve in life and the paths they feel that they can take.

I started making more portraits of sixteen year olds in and around the north west of England and in this case asking them to write about themselves, their dreams, ambitions and fears both for their own futures and the future of the world more widely. At an age of personal transition and a time of great uncertainty in the economy, national and international affairs, environmental concerns etc., I was interested to explore the outlook of the next generation - the first social media generation - faced with a Brexit that none of them were old enough to vote for or against. In many cases theirs feels like a much more challenging future than the previous generations as technology and industry change the economy.

Shooting those first few pictures, I realised that I was interested in exploring the experiences and aspirations of sixteen year olds much more widely and so I invited a few friends and colleagues to discuss the idea of making it a group project. I am delighted to say that they all bought into the concept and over a pint of two in a north London pub everyone chipped in with great enthusiasm bringing in their own ideas and their own particular interests and proposals for different ways of working. I felt that as a group, we could really delve into the subject in some depth, exploring the experiences of young people far and wide – it was exciting, but it was going to need a lot of research, preparation, discussion etc to get it off the ground.

That’s were it all started and so before I talk a little bit about the areas I personally will working in, I just want to say a big thank you to all the photographers who have agreed to take part. It’s both a privilege and an honour to be working alongside great friends and colleagues whose work I admire.

In no particular order: Jillian Edelstein, Kalpesh Lathigra, Lottie Davies, Simon Roberts, Sophie Gerrard, Stuart Freedman, Kate Peters, Roy Mehta, Abbie Trayler-Smith, Antonio Olmos, Linda Brownlee, Christopher Nunn, Michelle Sank, Ronan McKenzie, Kate Kirkwood and Simon Wheatley.

So now I am excited that it is all coming together and really looking forward to seeing the work as it starts to take shape in 2018.

Since those initial informal meetings, it’s been a long road to get to this stage, and with the invaluable support of producer Liz Wewiora and creative director Anne Braybon, we are now seeing some real progress as each photographer starts to explore their own themes within the wider project.

Each of us is approaching the project in our own way finding different creative avenues to explore, but always in a collaborative fashion with the sixteen year olds we are choosing to work with. For my part I am concentrating on two themes, both close to my heart. I will be working in island communities around the UK, continuing in the same vein with which I started this project working on a large format film camera and asking each sitter to present their testimony in a hand written text alongside the photograph. I’m looking forward to working with schools and youth groups in some very interesting communities in the Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland, the Channel Islands and elsewhere.

The second strand of the project for me is looking at the post-industrial communities in the North of England and beyond. I’m interested to explore towns and cities that once relied on one main industry: mining, shipbuilding, textile weaving, steel and chemical manufacture etc, and learn how the experience of young people in those communities today may differ, for better or worse, from the experience of previous generations.

The project has received an initial research and development grant from Arts Council England, and we have been working with schools, youth groups, parents and others to get feedback on the project ideas and how we might involve the young people in the process. Each photographer has her or his own interests and each of us is working closely with Anne to find new ways to present the views of sixteen year olds in words and pictures. We are variously working in stills and video with spoken word audio, handwritten texts and social media messaging.

I look forward to sharing some of my own work and that of my colleagues in the coming months and building an online community exploring what it means to be sixteen in Britain today.

If you would like to know more about the project at this stage, please drop me an email or connect via Facebook etc. and I'll add you to the emailing list for updates

A project website/blog will be launched in the coming months where you can keep up to date with work-in-progress, written contributions by all the photographers and behind-the-scenes pictures etc. but rather than show any of that now, whilst we are just starting out... here's a pic of tow of those first images on show at The National Portrait Gallery in London until 4th Feb.

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NEW REPRESENTATION IN USA

New Year, New News.... I'm thrilled to announce that I've teamed up with the lovely team at Greenhouse Reps as my sole representatives in the USA. Looking forward to a long and creative partnership.

Please contact Robin, Gary or Christine for any enquiries:

Greenhouse Reps NYC 
tel: +1 212 704 4300 
Robin Dictenberg: +1 917 410 7646
Gary Hurewitz:  +1 917 410 7678
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FC Barcelona Photography Awards

I'm delighted to announce that my photograph 'Arshia Ghorbani, 16, Toxteth, Liverpool' has won first prize in the inaugural FC Barcelona Photo Awards. The awards were set up to "celebrate the positive intrinsic values common to sport and culture and to communicate the importance and contribution of those values to current society." Arshia’s story is an example of the power of sport in society and a testament to the kind of community spirit that I experience all around the world and especially in Liverpool. It is that spirit of humanity, of welcoming and of togetherness that so enriches our society and must, in the end, prevail over those that spread hate and isolationism.

Arshia is an asylum seeker from Iran now living in Liverpool while he waits for his refugee status to be assessed. As a teenager he has many challenges to face to fit into a new community and new society, not least the challenge of learning a new language and continuing his education in a strange environment. The first thing he did when he came to Liverpool was play football as a way to make new friends and feel accepted. He plays for Kingsley United in Toxteth, known as Liverpool's 'most diverse' football team. He is sixteen years old and tells his story in his own words: he has written his testimony/caption in his native language: Farsi.

An English translation follows:

Hello My name is Arshia Ghorbani and I was born in 01.02.2000. That means that I am 16 years old now. I’m happy person normally but sometimes I can get angry as well. The only thing that I do cheerfully and lovingly is football. I started playing football with an adult team since I was 8 years old which made me good progress in football. I have a lot of plans and dreams, too many!! I like go to school and learning. I really enjoyed of my school and it’s lovely staff and never want to leave the school. I know that all people can’t reach they dreams. It is difficult and hard work to access my dreams. To be a surgeon doctor is one of my main aims. I am good at learning and understanding in school. My first language is one of my main barriers between me and my dreams. It is now just 3 years that I am living in UK, but even now I can’t understand some of the written words; on the other hand I can speak English very well. One of my other problems is that we can’t go on holiday, we are not allowed to travel, we can’t buy a car even if we had the money, as my Dad is not allowed to get a licence, and we don’t have permission for work. That all means we can’t make any decision for our future because we are asylum seekers. That all makes a teenage boy like me to be in desperation and stressful which is not good at my age. Unfortunately I can’t go to university because I am asylum seeker. I know it’s not the UK government fault, but if we think I had potential to be a doctor in future and I could save hundreds of humans lives. I like to help people and made smile on their face who poor and need help. That is the thing other people do for me when I was in need. Anyway I keep going on with the hope and the stress. I don’t let any problem keep me away from my dreams. I can’t and don’t want to make blame on my family or anyone for the situation I have. You must know that nothing is reached easily in the life and you must try hard. If it was easy everyone would be happy and joyful.

https://photoawards.fcbarcelona.com/winfoto/?lang=en

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This photograph is part of my early work on a group project I am leading with fifteen other photographers all around the UK. The project 'Sixteen' looks at the experience, ambitions, dreams, hopes and fears of sixteen year olds from all walks of life all around the country.

A large format C-type print measuring 150cm x 94cm will be unveiled at the awards ceremony and exhibition to be held in Barcelona in June.

 

Travel Photographer of the Year Awards 2016

Delighted and honoured to win the Portfolio award for 'Natural World' in the Travel Photographer of the Year last week. The portfolio of four pictures is taken from my ongoing personal project 'The Lake' - you can see a wider selection from the project on the website: craigeaston.com > travel and landscape series > The Lake.

What the judges said: "Craig's images caught the eye of the judges in the earlier online rounds of the judging but it was only when they saw the sumptuous tones and detail in the prints that their true beauty and quality was fully appreciated."

The prints will be exhibited as part of the TPOTY exhibitions to be held in 2017:

Hull, City of Culture, 18th May - 30th June

Greenwich, London, 4th August - 3rd September

 

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The Independent Newspaper

It was with great sadness that I heard the announcement recently that The Independent was to cease it's print edition from March 26th this year after setting the agenda and setting the bar in British journalism for 30 years. I began my career at 'The Indy' back in 1990 and it was there alongside the best newspaper photographers of the day that I learned my trade. Great photographers like Brian Harris (book coming soon, about which I will blog I'm sure), John Voos, Glynn Griffiths, Tom Pilston, David Rose all on the staff back then (remember when newspapers had staff photographers?) and sports guys David Ashdown and Peter Jay. Alongside them was a great bunch of regular freelancers: Nick Turpin, Ed Sykes, Peter Macdiarmid, Laurie Lewis, Geraint Lewis, Herbie Knott, Steve Morgan, Robert Hallam, and then later Ed Webb, Kalpesh Lathigra, Kayte Brimacombe, Andrew Buurman etc. More followed after I left too.

I will be forever grateful for what I learned from each and all of them and proud to call many of them friends to this day.

Picture editors and darkroom staff too: Chris McCane, Keith Dobney, David Swanborough, Mike Spillard, Victoria Lukens, Susan Glenn, Karen Wylie, Colin Jacobson, John Luff, Sophie Batterbury, Simon Van Covoerden, Tony Buckingham etc.

Apologies to anyone I've missed off.

Here's a few pictures from back in the day.....

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The death of Francis Bacon, Colony Room, Soho, LondonColony Rooms copy

Ben Okri, authorBen Okri

Michael Heseltine, Conservative Party Conference, Blackpooleaston_heseltine

David Hockney, on the set of 'The Rakes Progress', Saddlers Wells, LondonDavid Hockney on the set of The Rakes Progress Opera, which he d

Miners Welfare Rally, Londoneaston_whose_job

Liberia, West AfricaLiberia_colour_01-02

War in the former Yugoslavia (Mrs Thatcher)Mrs T 4_flat

Nelson Mandela, LondonNelson Mandela

Sealed Knot, Civil War reenactment, NewburyNewbury Down

La Defense, ParisParis_Indy

Ted Heath, Westminster, LondonTed Heath interview

Armistice Day, Ypres, BelgiumYpres

 

Mazda Cars shoot, Fogo Island, Newfoundland

It's been a busy few months at the end of 2014, beginning of 2015. First up a lovely car shoot for Mazda in Canada. Essentially designed as a 'road-trip' shoot with a Mazda 3 Sport. The location was Fogo Island off the Newfoundland coast, traditionally a close knit fishing community that was suffering after the long and ongoing moratorium on the Northern Cod Fishery on the Grand Banks in the north Atlantic. The community had been struggling for years with the impact of the collapse of the fishing and recently native Fogo Islander Zita Cobb who had left and made her fortune on the mainland returned with an extraordinary project to breath life back into the island: The Fogo Island Inn is a spectacular modernist luxury hotel and the symbol of Fogo's reinvention of itself as a hub of cutting edge art and design. All in all a fascinating story and fabulous backdrop for a car shoot.

Here's some pictures.....

Fogo_12Fogo_01 Fogo_09Fogo_02 Fogo_07Fogo_03 Fogo_10Fogo_04 Fogo_06Fogo_05Fogo_11

The Independent on Sunday New Review and the modern world

Just a quick update on my Scottish Referendum project - the Independent on Sunday New Review in the UK ran a lovely spread this last weekend..... Also, finally joined the modern world! Please join me on facebook and twitter for news, updates and photography discussion

The Independent Review-1

The Independent Review-2

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International Color Awards

Good News this morning from The International Color Awards in Los Angeles.... Winner 'Honor of Distinction' in the Portraits category for my image of 'Charley' from the series 'Rockabilly Nights' plus 'Honorable Mentions' for three further photographs in the Americana and Sports categories.

I'll have to watch myself with all the u's missing from 'color' and 'honor' - might turn into an American!

International Color Awards Press Release CE

 

shouldn't forget two other nominations ('portraits' and 'people') for the Scooter Club...

International Color Awards 2014_CE_nominations

 

 

Luerzers Archive - 200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide

Latest Luerzer's Archive arrived in the post this morning. As ever, a fascinating and eclectic mix of where commercial photography is at now. Here's a few you may have seen before....

Paris and Dusseldorf with InterContinental Hotels

So....that was fun.... Just back from Dusseldorf - the last of the three Travel Photography Masterclass weekends with InterContinental.

Und.....es regnete.

But we've been getting used to that and it did give us an opportunity each time to look at shooting in bad weather (I'm worried I might get a repution) After all if you've gone for a weekend away your not going to hang out in the hotel just because of a bit of rain are you?

Here's a few pics from the weekends in Paris and Dusseldorf. Once again a real mix of guests from as far a field as the US and Peru and again with a broad range of experience and interests, so it was great to chat, look at ideas and ways of seeing and challenge a few accepted 'rules' (there aren't any!). And whilst some guests wanted to take better pictures of their husband/wife/kids/girlfriends etc others wanted to get away from a rut they felt they were in and we even got into discussing the Dusseldorf school and it's influence on contemporary photography.

First up though, I'm must mention the chef at the hotel in Dusseldorf who, on my arrival, had made a chocolate 'photograph' of the skyline for me. Complete with picture frame and set on the table in my room - cool eh?

The Madness of the Dusseldorf Christmas market...

Here's the rather grand 'Le Grand' in Paris....

and finally....won't someone mention to the Dusseldorfers that their buns are a bit small? (but the Alt beer is fab!)

New Tourism Campaign for Liverpool Albert Dock

It's been a busy few weeks with the InterContinental Masterclasses, finishing off a large tourism campaign for Mid Wales (weather was so good in the summer, we had to postpone the second half of the shoot - might have been accused of misleading people!) and this big shoot for Liverpool Albert Dock. Entitled 'Magic in the Air' the campaign was devised and art directed by Brigid Benson with the brief 'to show Liverpool and the Albert Dock in a new light.' Her concept was beautifully simple, yet inspired: light the dock from the inside.

Now, the Albert Dock is a BIG place - the largest group of Grade 1 listed buildings in the UK. It is beautifully illuminated at night from the outside, but the inner quay with all the bars, restaurants, galleries and museums is dark. Our task was to illuminate the inside to a level where it glowed like a football stadium at night creating the desire for those on the outside to find out about all the excitement on the inside.

Many recce's, meetings, negotiations, permissions, help from volunteers and crew, setting up 55kW of flood lighting and 700m of festoon lighting later our shoot week arrived. So did the rain!

Now, the Albert Dock and Liverpool Waterfront is a very well known location and an iconic image of the city. It is usually shot from across the River Mersey in Birkenhead (admittedly a shot I have done previously too) but the brief this time was to come up with something new and exciting. Brigid and I crawled across rooftops all over the city looking at various vantage points and we decided on three separate viewpoints to shoot by day and by night.

First up we shot across Salthouse Dock towards Albert Dock with the River Mersey and the Wirral peninsula behind. The daytime shot was 'animated' with help from all the staff and volunteers at the Liverpool Watersports Centre who came down to sail boats around and around Salthouse Dock for us.

...and the same view by night with the electric meters going wild on the inner quay!

The second shot incorporated more of the iconic waterfront: The port of Liverpool Building, one of the 'three graces' that form the centrepiece of the waterfront (we were shooting from the Liver Building so that's not in shot!!), the new Museum of Liverpool and the Echo Arena and BT Convention Centre in the background.

and last but not least... 'The Flagship' - Brigid's mad idea was to bring the flagship ZEBU into the middle of the Albert Dock and light it with festoon lighting all around and up and down the masts. Big thanks to all the volunteers and crew and especially the 'top men' who scaled the heights to make the vision a reality. Charlie the skipper had to come down from Whitehaven to manoeuvre the ship into position and then did an amazing job trying to hold it there still enough for us to do the shot. Usually in a week of bad weather I'm happy as long as it's windy. On this occasion of course we weren't allowed any wind either - needed to hold the ship steady for as long as possible and hopefully get the reflections too. All worked out in the end, but there were a few nervous moments for the client (I remained calm and confident all along - honest!!)

This blog has moved....

Sorry to regular readers - the blog has moved and I didn't notice! Ooops! I redesigned the website last month and the blog address changed at the same time. Please find me here: http://www.craigeaston.com/news/

Oh and here's a little taste of what you'll find....

latest post 08/08/13...

More images from my ongoing series ‘Dreich’. All prints from this series are made in two sizes:

46”x34.5” on 50”x40” paper, C-type print on Fuji Crystal Archive: edition of 5 plus 2 AP

22”x16.5” on 24”x20” paper, C-type print on Fuji Crystal Archive: edition of 10 plus 2 AP

Travel Photographer of the Year Exhibition

Had a lovely evening at the Travel Photography of the Year Awards Ceremony and Private view last week. The show is being held at the Royal Geographic Society in London from 12th July - 18th August and a private view was held in the gardens on a lovely sunny evening last Wednesday. The 300 guests were treated to some special whisky cocktails courtesy of Cutty Sark and although I was dashing off later that same evening for a 5 day shoot in Wales, I did manage one and it was delicious. Cutty Sark and Appletize - perfect for these warm summer evenings. If you think you don't like whisky, try it.

The show was organised by Chris and Karen Coe and their team at TPOTY and the prints were made by Steve at Genesis Imaging in West London.

The presentation took place in the Ondaatje Theatre and we were treated to a lovely slide show of winners and other entries over the 10 years of TPOTY - I must say that seeing the standard of the other photographs in the film and on display made me very honoured to have been selected as the winner. You can see a selection and hear the judges here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23226029

IMG_1515I was presented with a beautiful trophy designed and made by glass designer Jane Beebe...

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...and met some lovely people from all around the world.

I was especially pleased to have the chance to meet and say congratulations to Sam Fisch who was over from New York City for the opening. Sam was presented with his trophy for Young Travel Photographer of the Year, an award he won for a beautiful set of pictures of horses and cowboys shot in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Well done to him. If he's this good when he's fifteen......

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Final thanks to Wayne Pilgrim, my assistant who took the pictures above whilst he was with me on the evening so that we could make a sharp exit west - It was well after midnight when we arrived and I had him climbing the Brecon Beacons the next morning in 30°C - I think he's still talking to me.

Uisge Beatha: Water of Life

Just back from two days up in Scotland. Chris Coe, one of the founders of the 'Travel Photographer of the Year Awards' very kindly took me up to Glasgow to meet the people at Cutty Sark Whisky where, with the expert guidance of Master Blender Kirsteen Campbell, I was to blend my own whisky as part of the TPOTY prize. I've always been fascinated by the Whisky story and have photographed in a number of distilleries over the years so the opportunity to learn about the blending process and tour the bottling plant was a honour beyond words.

So...cue the pictures.

First up, Kirsteen in the blending room, all wood panelled the way it should be - apparently the room was moved piece by piece from the original blending room in a beautiful old Georgian building in the city to the modern HQ and bottling plant up the road.

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The alchemy begins....

Cutty Sark is blended from a mixture of fine grain whiskies and famous single malts such as the Macallan and Highland Park. Chris and I were taken through a 'nosing' and tasting test with Kirsteen explaining and demonstrating how the different liquids affect the blend. The range of flavours and nuances was extraordinary - whether it was the different grains, the level of smokiness imparted by the burning of peat under the malting floor or type of cask in which the whisky has been matured. Of the samples we tried I was astonished at the difference the same whisky exhibited after maturing for the same length of time in either American oak casks or Spanish oak casks - totally different flavours imparted from the different wood.

To me the difference between the grain whisky and the malt whisky was very identifiable and so we began by blending only the malts to establish the basic taste that appealed to me. Like a scientist in the coolest science lab you're ever likely to see, Kirsteen led me by the hand, blending 10 mls at a time of various single malts to get to a really tasty blend with just the right level of smokey peat and a slight sweetness from a malt matured in American oak casks.

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Then it was a question of balancing the flavour of the malts with the grain whisky to bring a smoothness to the overall blend. CEWhisky60

OK, here I am pretending to know what I'm doing (but fooling nobody, I imagine)...

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With the vast range of whiskies, casks, strengths, peatiness, etc. etc. the blending process is an art that takes years to learn. Of course, I was never going to be an expert in one day, but it was made a lot easier for me by the fact that we blended from a narrower range of malts selected by Kirsteen based on the type of whiskies I like.

Each different variation we worked on was marked down in chalk on the slate worktops and only with constant comparison with previous versions was I able to arrive at something which I am really proud to call my own. I do have a note of every malt, type of cask and quantity of each that went into it, but of course I'm going to claim that as a 'commercial secret' so don't ask. Suffice to say it tastes bloody lovely!!

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With Kirsteen and my final blend... CEWhisky66

and the little sample bottles that Chris and I were given to take away with us whilst Kirsteen makes up the full quantities for bottling. CEWhisky73

An enormous thank you to Chris and Karen Coe at Travel Photographer of the Year and to Wendy, Jason and Kirsteen at Cutty Sark.

What a privilege!

Craig

all photographs ©Chris Coe 2013

New artworks for London Offices

Just completed a series of night-time shots of London for the offices of a leading private equity firm. The pictures are all of specific areas of London as briefed by the client and I chose to shoot them all at night - during a very cold snap in January! Beautiful large format Lambda prints mounted on aluminium sheet made by Steve at Genesis Imaging in Fulham.

Here's a few of them....

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Easton_Holborn_8

Easton_St_Pancras_square_8

Easton_Thames_square_8

Holborn

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St Pancras_room

 

The scooter club.....and more awards news!

Happy New Year to all and I begin this year with a determination to complete 'The Scooter Club', a project I started at the back end of last year. All guys who are fanatical about the old Lambretta and Vespa scooters from the 50s and 60s - mostly they have been riding them for years and in many cases owned them since new (I understand that some of the parka jackets are not as slim fitting as they were back in the day!). Some of these machines are extraordinary and as soon as the weather improves and I can persuade the guys to bring them out, there will be more pics to follow.... scooterclub_01

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and I've also heard that I had three series of pictures selected for 'Honourable Mentions' at the International Photography Awards in Los Angeles:

Dreich; Eiffel Tower and the VisitBritain 2012 Olympics campaign.

Travel Photographer of the Year 2012

I am delighted to be awarded the Cutty Sark Award for the Travel Photographer of the Year 2012 from an outstanding field of photographers worldwide. My thanks go to the judging panel, a hugely respected group of photographers and industry professionals whose work I admire. To have my photography selected as Overall Winner from the highest quality international competition is an immense thrill. http://www.tpoty.com/winners/2012

Regular readers of this blog will have seen the images in previous posts, but here's a little reminder...

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Association of Photographers Awards 2012

Just a quick addendum to the previous post.... I was delighted to hear last night that a series of four of the Conté à Paris pictures were awarded Best in Category for Commissioned Design at the 2012 AOP awards. Unfortunately I was unable to make it to the presentation evening and party, but by all accounts it was a good night: http://vimeo.com/50789868

http://awards.the-aop.org/2012_Photographers_Awards