Our biggest stories of 2021

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With the year now drawing to a close, we've been going through the analytics, digging in the bins, and scouring a bunch of Facebook comments to find out the biggest stories of the year on the AP website.

You can think of this as a very unscientific year in review of the photography-related stories that got people talking, sharing, debating, and in some cases arguing, about this year.

So, without further ado, here are the stories on www.australianphotography.com that you clicked on the most:

Bushfire by Robert Irwin, Australia
A fire line leaves a trail of destruction through woodland near the border of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York, Queensland, Australia. The area is of high conservation significance, with over 30 different ecosystems found there, and is home to many endangered species. The fires are one of the biggest threats to this precious habitat. Although natural fires or managed burns can be quite important in an ecosystem, when they are lit deliberately and without consideration, often to flush out feral pigs to hunt, they can rage out of control and have the potential to devastate huge areas.
Bushfire by Robert Irwin, Australia A fire line leaves a trail of destruction through woodland near the border of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York, Queensland, Australia. 

5. Robert Irwin wins People’s Choice Award in Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020

The story that the son of the late, great, Steve Irwin had won a photo competition was probably not all that newsworthy on its own – after all, Robert has been making a name for himself as a talented wildlife photographer for a fair while, and is no stranger to entering photo competitions either. But, combine it with a pretty impressive shot taken by a drone of a bushfire, and a sniff of controversy around the legalities of how it was captured, and well, suddenly, it was one of the biggest local photography stories of the year, and it was only the second month of 2021.

As it turned out, it was a bit of a non event. Irwin's image was, as he explained to the ABC, captured legally on the Steve Irwin Nature Reserve on Queensland's Cape York Peninsula, an area of land treated as private property controlled by the Irwin family.

4. AIPP shuts doors after 75 years

In our mind at least, this was the biggest Australian photography story of the year, despite it only appearing a lowly fourth in our countdown.

The closure of the AIPP after 75 years of advocating for the interests of our professional photographic community came as a big shock to many, and also lit up the comments section on our Facebook page with plenty of people weighing in with passionate opinions about the institute's positives and negatives. Whatever your views, it's safe to say the landscape of professional photography in Australia will never be quite the same with the AIPP gone. 

3. Captivating underwater photograph wins Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2021

We'll admit we're big fans of the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition, and clearly you all are too, as this was our third biggest story of 2021.

So maybe it was the images, or just maybe (clutching at straws a little here!) it was because a number of our marvellous AP contributors were recognised this year - Justin Gilligan, Doug Gimesy and Georgina Steytler, as well as our Mono Awards runner-up Ashlee Karas. Whatever it was that drew you to it, this was an incredibly popular story this year.

Julie Thomas, Camouflage, Winner: 2020 Photographer of the Year.
Julie Thomas, Camouflage, Winner: 2020 Photographer of the Year.

2. Photographer of the Year 2020, presented by Nokia: The winners!

Yep, we know – we thought it would appear higher too! That said, it's probably no surprise that our winner's announcement for Australian Photography's very own Photographer of the Year competition is always right up there in the page views. Thanks to your amazing images, this is always a hugely popular story.

And that reminds us, keep an eye out for the 2021 winners announcement next month. 

1. Adobe launches free version of Lightroom for desktop

Turns out there's nothing quite like the words 'Adobe' and 'Free' to get people clicking! Our story on Adobe making a limited, desktop-only version of Lightroom available as a freebie for Australian customers was far and away our biggest story of 2021. 

What we didn't realise at the time was that Adobe never intended the freebie to last forever, and the trial ended (somewhat quietly we might add) a few months later – maybe we just sent too many people to the Adobe website? We'll never know.

So that's it, our top five stories of 2021. Thanks for your comments, shares and eyeballs, and we look forward to sharing more photography related news and views with you in 2022. 

Cover image: Bushfire by Robert Irwin.

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