Irishman scoops prize at Sony World Photography awards
A photo of monks in Tibet has won the Ireland National Award at the world’s biggest photography competition, the Sony World Photography Awards.
The photo was taken by Limerick-based photographer Christopher Roche.
Mr Roche‘s winning image “Monlam, Taktsang Lhamo” was chosen as the single best photograph taken by an Irish photographer entered into any of the awards’ ten Open categories.
Mr Roche is a filmmaker and photographer born in Canada who is based between Limerick and London.
“Last year I was second, so persistence pays off and it looks like I’m heading in the right direction. It is wonderful to receive recognition and it makes the memory of standing in the freezing cold of a Tibetan winter, sometimes at altitude, now seem well worth it. Photographing different faith traditions across the world, I try to tell stories rather than create pretty images. I’m grateful that there’s an audience for it."
Roche took the photo at the prayer festival of Monlam in Eastern Tibet during the winter.
“Tens of thousands of pilgrims join the monks in celebrating the event,” he said. “Here, the monks of Taktsang Lhamo are performing the ritual known as the ‘Turning of the Buddha’ where a statue of the Maitreya Buddha is carried around the four corners of the village. Maitreya is a Buddha who will appear on Earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment and then teach the dharma. This ceremony is to ensure that the earthly realm will be ready for his arrival."
In addition to being published in a new Sony book of the world’s best photos, Mr Roche won a Sony A7 Mark 2 camera worth almost €2,000.
Two Irish runner-up awards were given to Jason McGroarty and Norma Gleeson.