• Anthony McKee
    Anthony McKee
  • Helen Whittle
    Helen Whittle
  • Alex Cearns
    Alex Cearns
  • Matt Palmer
    Matt Palmer
  • Douwe Dijkstra
    Douwe Dijkstra
  • Lisa Michele Burns
    Lisa Michele Burns
  • Doug Gimesy
    Doug Gimesy
  • Petra Leary
    Petra Leary
  • Shannon Wild
    Shannon Wild
  • Mandarine Montgomery
    Mandarine Montgomery
  • Steve and Ann Toon
    Steve and Ann Toon
  • Justin Gilligan
    Justin Gilligan
  • Sally Brownbill
    Sally Brownbill
  • Richard I'Anson
    Richard I'Anson

We've pulled together a panel of some of Australia and NZ's finest photographers to judge the 10th edition of Photographer of the Year presented by Camera House, the biggest competition for amateur photographers in Australasia. Meet our judging panel:

Alex Cearns OAM
Dogs Today Magazine in the United Kingdom calls Perth based photographer Alex Cearns “One of our greatest dog photographers in the world.” Alex is the Creative Director of Houndstooth Studio based in Perth, Australia, and specialises in capturing portraits that convey the intrinsic character of her animal subjects. 

She photographs for engaged pet lovers, corporate brands in Australia, the USA and the UK, and for around 40 Australian and International animal charities and conservation organisations. Her images have been published extensively across international media, in books, magazines, billboards and advertising campaigns.
Alex is the recipient of over 350 awards for photography, business and philanthropy and in 2019 was awarded an Order Of Australia for services to animal charities through photography. Inspiring others with her joy of working with animals, Alex’s philanthropy and passionate advocacy for animal rescue has earned her high regard among Australia’s animal lovers and a strong following on social media. She is an ambassador for Tamron, Profoto, BenQ, and Spider Holster and is considered an influencer in photography, business and pet industry communities.

She regularly judges photography competitions and presents at events. Alex lives with her partner, two rescue dogs, and rescue cat in Perth, Western Australia.

Petra Leary


Petra Leary is an award winning New Zealand born aerial photographer. Her ability to capture her subjects from unique perspectives is striking and ground-breaking. 

She has an innate design sensibility, reflected in her unique process all the way from conception to post-production. An intrepid world traveller, she hunts out unusual landscapes, captures them from unforeseen angles such as her signature bird’s eye angle from above, and manipulates and accentuates colours in post-production to create her final work. 

Her work is simple yet bold in arrangement and composition. Belying this effortlessness are deeply honed technical skills, and a knowing iconoclastic eye for pop culture. Among many other awards, she is the Webstar Magazine Media Awards 2019 Best Photographer, and a finalist in the New Zealand Photographer of the Year 2018 Aerial Category. 

Matt Palmer

Matt Palmer is a landscape photographer focused on conservation issues based in Bright, Victoria. With his partner Mieke Boynton he operates the Alpine Light Gallery. Matt has been recognised as a Master of Photography in Australia and New Zealand, and in 2019 his documentation of fires in Tasmania won him AIPP Australian Professional Photographer of the Year. 
Matt has a diverse history in photography, including 15 years of documenting the world's most influential musicians from Metallica, Pearl Jam, TOOL, Nick Cave and hundreds more. He also is a former AIPP Australian Professional Sports Photographer of the Year for his documentation of the sport of Muay Thai, and he has acted as an ambassador for Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania as well as collaborating with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy.
Matt has also been the chief photographer and creative director for Brisbane Roar FC, run a wedding and portrait photography business, and worked with a children's hospital to create images and designs to assist fundraising for medical care and research.

Justin Gilligan
Justin Gilligan is a natural history photographer, photojournalist and Associate Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers. He has contributed to 22 feature articles for Australian Geographic and assisted on National Geographic Magazine assignments.
Several of Justin’s images have been awarded in prestigious competitions, including the overall winner of the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition, and five awards in the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Through his work, Justin strives to bring to light the beauty of the natural world and our diverse connection to it. 

Sally Brownbill

A trained photographer, through The Brownbill Effect, Sally Brownbill connects creative talent from all corners of the industry. She provides career leadership and advice and also consults on the design and editing of photography portfolios and websites. This enables creatives at all levels to present themselves as the very best they can be. She's the go-to person for those looking for or seeking to fill a freelance or permanent role in the industry.

Over the years Sal has built a reputation based on an unrivalled level of experience and the ability to inspire and connect all creatives. This is the result of a strong desire to help people, as well as a love for creativity of all kinds. 

Sal is also a mentor, judge and guest lecturer across a variety of educational institutions, an Adjunct Industry Fellow within the Faculty of Health, Arts and Design at Swinburne University and a member of several course Advisory Boards.

Douwe Dijkstra

Douwe Dijkstra is a professional senior graphic designer based in Sydney. Born and raised in The Netherlands, he relocated downunder in 2003 and now calls Australia home. Photography is a strong passion for Douwe and he picked up his first camera at the age of 12.

Over the years his hobby has evolved from taking family snaps with his grandfather’s camera, to creating black and white fine art in the digital age. Douwe prefers to shoot in monochrome as he simply finds it easier to capture the essence of a scene in black and white: colour is just a distraction. He won the black and white category of the 2015 Photographer of the Year.

Mandarine Montgomery

Mandarine Montgomery is a Melbourne based photographer and the 2019 recipient of the Ilford Trophy. She has over 40 awards from here and overseas including International Loupe Awards (Overall winner) and Canon Australia Portrait Photographer of the Year. She achieved Master - four bars- with the (former) Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP). 

Her passion shifts from conceptual portraiture and surreal landscape creations to the energetic reportage of live performance photography, where a career highlight was touring with Duran Duran during the Australian leg of a world tour as their photographer. She has exhibited her work both here and overseas including a solo exhibition in New Orleans during Jazz Fest and has contributed to a number of photography books and magazines, both online and in print.

One of her proudest moments was contributing to a charity auction where one of her images raised $16,000 via auction (edition of 2) for Make-A-Wish Australia.

She enjoys contributing to the creative development of emerging artists with one on one mentoring, as well as guidance via the various competitions she judges, most recently the 2022 NZIPP Iris Awards and the APP (Australian Photographic Prize).

Richard I'Anson

Richard I'Anson is a freelance photographer who has built a career on his twin passions for travel and photography. Over the past 36 years he has travelled the world, amassing a substantial and compelling collection of images of people and places in more than 100 countries on all seven continents.

His images are published worldwide in books, magazines, newspapers, brochures, calendars, posters, cards and websites. Richard has published thirteen books including five editions of the best-selling Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Photography, Lonely Planet's Best Ever Photography Tips and the large format pictorials: Australia: 42 Great Landscape Experiences, Nepal and India: essential encounters. 

Richard was one of five photographers selected for the first series of the award winning television documentary Tales by Light (now on Netflix). He is a Master of Photography awarded by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) and represents Canon Australia as a Canon Master Photographer.

Helen Whittle

Helen Whittle is a fine-art photographer specialising in child portraiture who is inspired by dramatic and natural light. With a style consisting of mainly black and white, she produces simple, emotive and authentic images.

She is a proud member of ClickPro, and has many awards to her name. She received Overall Winner Australian Photographer of the Year in 2016 in Australian Photography magazine, and Runner up Emerging Portrait Photographer of the Year 2019 in Capture Magazine and overall winner in the international competition Black and White Child Photo Competition in 2019.

Helen has been a judge in many international photography competitions and has been teaching child portraiture since 2018. She regularly speaks locally and internationally on this subject. She loves to share her enthusiasm and passion and inspire others.

Anthony McKee

Anthony McKee is a Melbourne-based writer and social documentary photographer. In 2014 he was named AIPP 2014 Australian Documentary Photographer of the Year. He has also won awards for his landscape photography. He has judged professional and amateur photography awards on both sides of the Tasman and in 2013 was made an Honorary Fellow of the NZIPP for his services to photography. He is a regular contributor to Australian Photography magazine.

Ann and Steve Toon

Ann & Steve Toon are a UK-based, husband and wife team of award-winning, professional photographers with a specialist interest in the wildlife and wild places of southern Africa where they spend several months each year photographing and running photographic safaris.

Their work is published in a wide range of magazines and national newspapers, both in the UK and abroad, and they are reprepresented by several leading photographic libraries. They've also written three books, two on wildlife photography and one on rhinos. You can see more of their work on their website at toonwildlife.com and and toonphotosafari.com.

Doug Gimesy

Doug is a professional conservation and wildlife photojournalist who focuses on Australian issues. A four time finalist in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the inaugural winner of the WildScreen Panda Photo Story Awards, he is a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and his clients include National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Australian Geographic, as well various mastheads like The Guardian. Initially trained as a zoologist and microbiologist, he later completed a Masters of Environment and a Masters of Bioethics. Together, these two qualifications helped shape his thinking as what type of issues he should be focusing on and why – conservation and animal welfare issues.

Believing people should focus on the issues they care about and those that are close to home, his recent work has focused on the conservation and animal welfare issues facing the platypus and the Grey-headed Flying-fox – having recently facilitated the platypus being listed as threatened species in his home state of Victoria, as well as launching a children’s book (with his partner) about Grey-headed Flying-foxes titled ‘Life Upside Down’. 

Current on-going projects include a series of portraits titled ‘Wildlife warriors, conservation champions and animal advocates’, documents wombats and the use of language to better frame environmental and conservation communication. He is also co-authoring a university study to help better understand how wildlife images impact both emotional engagement and drive people’s behaviour.

His hope is that the images and information he shares, will inspire people to stop, think, and treat the world more kindly.

Lisa Michele Burns

Lisa Michele Burns is a travel, landscape and underwater photographer who seeks to capture the world with an alternative perspective. Whether it’s through her series ‘The World from The Water’ or with the use of artistic reflections, her work showcases destinations with an ethereal, pastel tone.

Preferring to shoot extreme climates and natural, Lisa got her start in photography whilst working as a journalist for Lonely Planet back in 2007. She now publishes The Wandering Lens, a travel guide for photographers listing photogenic destinations and experiences alongside creative tips. Each year, Lisa, an Olympus Visionary, also hosts travel photography tours in places like Japan, Iceland and France.

Shannon Wild

Australian-born Shannon Wild is an award-winning wildlife photographer and cinematographer and a passionate wildlife lover and conservationist.
Since 2004, she has worked for clients such as National Geographic, NatGeo Wild and the United Nations as well as various wildlife NGO's and non-profits such as Wild Tomorrow Fund, The Perfect World Foundation and Wildaid. In 2017, she founded Wild In Africa® - Bracelets For Wildlife as a way to directly give back to various wildlife conservation organisations.
Shannon is also the co-founder of MAC MEDIA, a natural history and film production company offering full kit rental, filming vehicles and aircraft in Southern and East Africa. She has published three books to date with more in the works, and is an accomplished international speaker including for the NatGeo Live series and is on the board of directors of the Wildlife Society of Filmmakers. 
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