2019 Photographer of the Year: The judges

We’ve pulled together a panel of some of Australia and NZ’s finest photographers to judge the 2019 Photographer of the Year presented by Panasonic, the biggest competition for amateur photographers in Australasia. Meet the first of our judging panel:

Drew Hopper

Drew Hopper is a travel and documentary photographer based in Australia, specialising in the Asia-Pacific region. His curiosity for different ways of living have influenced his desire to travel to new and unfamiliar places. Through his travels he has developed a photographic style that is unique, simple and compelling. Drew is a regular contributor to Australian Geographic, covering photo assignments throughout Australia. He also regularly contributes and writes for Australian Photography magazine and has been featured in numerous travel, photography and lifestyle magazines worldwide.

Hillary Younger

Hillary is an award winning landscape photographer based in southeast Tasmania. Her first explorations of the island’s forests, mountains and shoreline were on horseback, later venturing into remote locations on extended hiking trips. In 2007, she went into the mountains with a camera, for the first trip with a specific photographic intention. She has had numerous exhibitions, both solo, and collaborative and has been published in several magazines, including Australian Geographic and On Landscape.

She is known for her Tasmanian landscapes, particularly seascapes, as well as mountain landscapes from more remote locations around the world, including the Ladakh Himalaya, the Yukon and the Rockies. She conducts photo workshops both in Tasmania and internationally. She has been a judge of a number of photographic awards including the Epson International Pano Awards and Focus Australia Annual Awards.

Her passion is connection to the land, and to explore the relationship between the self and the landscape. Her photography aims to communicate the intimacy of that relationship. She is renowned for her dramatic wide angle images of less photographed locations and her original compositions. She values uniqueness, originality and the courage to explore both physically and artistically. She is a proud member of Nature First: The Alliance for Responsible Nature Photography.

Jacques Van As

Brisbane Based landscape photographer and videographer Jacques Van As was born and raised in South Africa and moved to Australia in 2009. With a passion for nature and adventure since he was young, it was only a matter of time before landscape photography lured him in and he began travelling in search of unique and exciting landscapes.

Jacques runs photography workshops that focus on taking people to dream photography locations, while honing their skills. He also enjoys the art of film photography and spends many an hour in the darkroom working on black and white prints.  

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.

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. 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.

Helen Whittle

As well as being named Overall Winner of Australian Photography magazine’s Photographer of the Year in 2016, Helen was a finalist in The Voice Collection 2016 and runner up in the Photographer of the Year, Portrait category, in 2015. She is inspired by dramatic and natural light, and produces simple, emotive and authentic images. With a style consisting mainly of black-and-white, she sees beauty in the everyday.

Lisa Michele Burns

Lisa Michele Burns is a travel, landscape and underwater photographer who seeks to capture the world with an alternative perspective. Whether it’s through her series ‘The World from The Water’ or with the use of artistic reflections, her work showcases destinations with an ethereal, pastel tone.

Preferring to shoot extreme climates and natural, Lisa got her start in photography whilst working as a journalist for Lonely Planet back in 2007. She now publishes The Wandering Lens, a travel guide for photographers listing photogenic destinations and experiences alongside creative tips. Each year, Lisa, an Olympus Visionary, also hosts travel photography tours in places like Japan, Iceland and France.

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 250 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.

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