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We're delighted to announce the first members of our esteemed judging panel for Photographer of the Year 2023 presented by Ted's cameras.

Keep an eye on this page as we update it with more judges over the next few weeks. 

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. 

Mandarine Montgomery


Mandarine Montgomery is a Melbourne based photographer and the 2019 recipient of the Ilford Trophy. She has over 40 awards 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, photographing artists including Real Life, The Church, Kids in the Kitchen, Kate Miller-Heidke, and a career highlight, shooting Duran Duran during the Australian leg of their world tour.

She has exhibited internationally, and has contributed to a number of photography books and magazines. One of her proudest moments was contributing to the charity Make-A-Wish Australia, auctioning one of her images which raised $16,000.

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 2023 NZIPP Iris Awards and the APP (Australian Photographic Prize).

Drew Hopper


Drew Hopper (b.1989) is an Australian photographer and visual storyteller committed to documenting social, cultural, and environmental stories both nationally and internationally.

Known for his thought-provoking and in-depth use of narrative, Drew has photographed multiple feature stories for Australian Geographic, including the front cover of the ‘Black Summer’ issue (2019-2020) on the Australian bushfire crisis. 

His curiosity for different ways of living has influenced his desire to travel to new and unfamiliar territories. With a talented eye, he captures intimate imagery and works with humility, respect, and a light footprint. In 2016, Drew spent 8 months traveling across India, on an assignment to capture images for an Affirmations Publishing House book titled ‘Enlightenment’ which was released in 2017.

Drew also regularly contributes to Australian Photography magazine writing articles and judges monthly contests and has work featured in numerous publications worldwide.

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. 

Matt Palmer


Matt Palmer is a specialist landscape photographer and co-owns the Alpine Light Gallery featuring photographic art in Bright, Victoria.

Starting out in live music photography almost 25 years ago, Palmer has experience in multiple genres including portraiture, wedding, sports, documentary, and landscape photography.

Passionate about storytelling through imagery, his series on Tasmanian fire impacts helped him receive 2019 Australian Professional Photographer of the Year and Landscape photography awards.

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 has many awards to her name - as well as being a National Photographic Portrait Finalist in 2022, she received the Overall Winner award in Australian Photographer of the Year in 2016 in Australian Photography magazine, and Runner up Emerging Portrait Photographer of the Year 2019 in Capture Magazine. Helen was also the 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.

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.

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. Since 2015 his focus has been on iPhone street photography, marking a new chapter in his photography journey. 
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.

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 and landscape photographer and OM SYSTEM ambassador who focuses on regions of environmental significance and natural beauty. Lisa got her start in photography whilst working as a journalist for Lonely Planet back in 2007 and now publishes The Wandering Lens, a leading travel guide for photographers that lists photogenic destinations and experiences alongside creative tips.

Hosting travel photography tours in places like Japan, Iceland and France, she now also offers online resources and self-study courses for those keen to pursue a career in freelance travel photography. 


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