West Australian photographer takes out top award

Simon Santi has been named West Australian Press Photographer of the Year for a portfolio of four show-stopping photos from his work for The West Australian.

The results were announced at a dinner on Sunday at the State Library in Perth.

The award was “not something I was expecting at all,” Mr Santi said. “I’m rather surprised and honoured I guess you could say. The talent in this state is huge.”

Entrants were judged on a portfolio of four photos taken over the last year, encompassing a broad range of skills. “Technical knowledge, newsworthiness; good pictures that your editor would be happy to publish,” Mr Santi explained.

After beginning his career in community newspapers, Mr Santi joined the rounds at The West Australian in 2011.

WA Press Photographer of the Year winner, Simon Santi.

WA Press Photographer of the Year winner, Simon Santi.

His winning four included an underwater photo of a water polo team, a portrait of old man at camel farm in Coolgardie, a news picture of forensic investigators, and a portrait of a German cellist.

The crime investigation shot added contrast and a touch of humour to an otherwise morbid situation, capturing two young boys walking their dogs past forensic officers, who were carrying evidence markers in the course of investigating a severed head found on Rottnest Island.

“There were some kids with thongs on, carrying their shopping, next to these officers covered head-to-toe in soft protective gear…it was quite funny,” Mr Santi recalled.

“I remember the kids walking past and hoping they would be close enough for the shot to work, and they were. The dogs even had a sniff of the officers.”

He also captured German cellist Alban Gerhardt. “He goes around the world and performs in subways and public spaces for punters,” Mr Santi said. The shot, run on the day of Gerhardt’s performance in an underground station in Perth, featured the crowd behind him “blurred and buzzing” as he played.

“I went the next day to see him perform after I finished work – it was fantastic,” Mr Santi said.

In second and third place respectively were Stewart Allen and Daniel Wilkins, both from The Sunday Times.

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