Heavenly horse snap scores photographer trip to WEG

Ana Filipa Scarpa's winning image "I'm the sunshine of my owner".
Portuguese photographer Filipa Scarpa has won the top prize in the FEI Solidarity World Photo Grand Prix for her image of Xisto, the angelic Lusitano, who has been nominated to compete at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Nomandy, France. © Filipa Scarpa/FEI

New Zealand photographers have captured two of the nine categories in an international equine photo competition.

Water featured in both of the winning Kiwi shots in the FEI Solidarity World Photo Grand Prix, with Briar Kate Bayes winning the Under-16 section with “Wet Selfie”, and Libby Law taking out the Professional Photographers section with “Splash Palace”.

Briar Kate Bayes's winning picture in the Under-16 category, "Wet selfie".
Briar Kate Bayes’s winning picture in the Under-16 category, “Wet Selfie”.

The winning entries will be exhibited in the FEI Pavilion in the heart of the Games Village for the duration of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014,  from August 23 to September 7 in Normandy.

More than 3500 entries were received for the competition, with the overall prize going to Portuguese photographer Filipa Scarpa for her stunning image of the Lusitano stallion Xisto.v

Lisbon-born Scarpa, who fell in love with photography 10 years ago, has won more than 90 national and international competitions, with her images being showcased this year at the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition and on NASA’s Earth Observatory website.

She shot her winning image at the wine producer Quinta da Lagoalva de Cima, in Portugal’s Tejo region, which also runs a stud for Lusitano horses.

“I love horses more than wine, and instead of photographing the spectacular vineyards, I headed to the stables where I saw this beautiful horse,” she said. “The light was fantastic, the horse was perfectly positioned in the middle of the window, and I took the shot in a split second. If he had moved an inch, this image would not have been possible. It was an amazing and lucky moment.”

Unbeknown to Scarpa at the time, Xisto is a successful driving horse and has been nominated to compete with Portugal’s Manuel Campilho Holstein at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy, which start on August 23. Scarpa’s prize is an all-expenses-paid assignment with Thomson Reuters at the Games.

“This is an amazing twist of fate, and I really hope I meet Xisto again, this time in Normandy! I have four sons, and my fifth is my camera. Photography is my life, and winning this competition is my biggest achievement so far,” she said.

The FEI Solidarity World Photo Grand Prix competition, aimed at uncovering photographic talent around the world in 2014, the Chinese Year of the Horse, was launched in May by the Fédération Equestre Internationale with Action Images/Thomson Reuters, asking amateur and professional photographers to submit images that capture an aspect of equestrian sport and lifestyles in a memorable and eye-catching way.

Professional Photographers Category Winner, Libby Law (NZL) "Splash-Palace".
Professional Photographers Category Winner, Libby Law (NZL) “Splash-Palace”.

“The entries across each category were of an extremely high calibre, which meant the judges had a tough time coming up with the short-list and overall winner,” said Alan Whiter, Vice President of Action Images. “The winning image captures the imagination of the viewer as it almost looks like a painting. The layers of depth, light and symmetry make for a really striking image.”

Scarpa also won the Horse Portrait category, one of nine categories for which more than 3500 images were entered.

As well as being on display at WEG, the images will also be published in FEI Focus, the official magazine of the Fédération Equestre Internationale, which is available as a free iPad application from the Apple Newsstand and online.

The category winners each receive a tablet, personalised leather photography portfolio and an Action Images/Thomson Reuters master class. All winning and shortlisted entries can be viewed on Flickr, with videos on Instagram.

The judging panel was chaired by FEI President Princess Haya, who said she was struck by “the diversity, beauty and genuine inventiveness of all the images entered in the competition”.

“The category winners, and all the shortlisted images for that matter, really left an impression on me and I am grateful to have seen the sport and horse world through so many different lenses. Needless to say it was refreshing and eye-opening!”  Princess Haya said.

The judging panel also included:

  • Deirdre Lyons, Co-Founder and Director of Corporate Image and Design at Alltech, title sponsor of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy;
  • Mark Adams, Director of Communications at the International Olympic Committee;
  • Bob Rosato, legendary sports photographer and COO of USA Today Sports Images; Melissa Farlow, award-winning National Geographic photographer;
  • Giuseppe Della Chiesa, Chair of the FEI Eventing Committee and international course designer; Alan Whiter, Vice President of Action Images;
  • Ingrid Klimke, two-time Olympic Eventing team gold medallist;
  • Arnd Bronkhorst, internationally renowned equestrian photographer; and
  • Dustin Vaughn-Luma, mobile photography and visual design specialist.


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