The 43rd annual Press Photographers Association of Ireland awards ceremony took place in Dublin on 26th February 2021, via an online live-streamed event, with the work of photographers from all corners of the country showcased and rewarded. There were more than 2300 individual logins to the ceremony, with most being watched by multiple viewers.
The event, prizes and various categories were introduced in video clips by well known names from the worlds of entertainment, sport, politics and media - Minister Catherine Martin TD, Samantha Power - Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, film producer Lord David Puttnam, CNN reporter Donie O'Sullivan, former Ireland rugby player Jamie Heaslip, Leitrim hurler Zak Moradi, Glamour USA editor Samantha Barry, actors Liam Cunningham, Gabriel Byrne and Pat Shortt and Marian Keyes, Librarian from the dlr Lexicon, who kindly host the PPAI's exhibition every year.
James Crombie of the Inpho sports picture agency was named ‘Press Photographer of the Year’.
James was awarded 1st prize in Sports Action, for his photo 'Foggy Semi Final' taken during the Mayo Vs Tipperary Semi-Final of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship and 2nd prize in Sports Non-Action, for 'He Is Risen', which captured a fan watching a GAA match while standing on a ladder propped against a graveyard wall.
James has also recently gained widespread renown and fame for his image of a starling murmuration over Lough Ennell in Co.Offaly.
The judging panel was chaired by photographer and former Irish Times Picture Editor Frank Miller who was assisted by internationally acclaimed photographers Edmond Terakopian and was joined by award winning Reuters sports photographer Eddie Keogh.
The multimedia award was judged by Michael Lee, now retired RTÉ cameraman and Philip Bromwell, RTÉ News video and mobile journalist.
Crispin Rodwell, President, The Press Photographers Association of Ireland, said; As one of the country's leading sports photographers James Crombie is a regular sight on rugby and GAA grounds at home and abroad, but his winning of the Press Photographer of the Year title is a testament to the breadth of his talent and his extraordinary eye, both inside and outside the sporting arena. As the first sports photographer to win the title in thirty years, this hugely popular photographer has written his name into the PPAI history books.'
The awards also featured the announcement of a new honorary member to the association, for outstanding contribution to the PPAI and to press photography in Ireland.
Kieran Clancy, a former staff photographer for the Cork Examiner, who retired in 2016, was presented with the honour.
Due to the effects of Covid-19 The Press Photographers Association of Ireland ‘Press Photographer of the Year’ Exhibition, featuring 123 images is currently available online and subject to restrictions, will hopefully visit locations around Ireland later in the year in both digital and physical form.