Saturday 19 January 2019

Snapper Bill makes history with US award

‘Bastille Day Fireworks in France’
‘Bastille Day Fireworks in France’
‘Snow at Kinnard’
‘Sulphur Tuft Fungi in Galtee Wood’

Bill Browne

An amateur photographer from Mitchelstown has made history by becoming the first from Ireland to be recognised with a prestigious award for his work by the Photographic Society of America (PSA). 

Bill Power has become the first Irish photographer to become a designated PSA Galaxy Exhibitor (Colour Class), adding the accolade to the long list of other national and international awards he has earned over the past decade. 

These include the 2016 Irish Photographic Federation (IPF) Photographer of the Year Award and the Southern Association of Camera Clubs Photographer of the Year award, making him one of a select group to have held the regional and national crowns simultaneously. 

Although he had "dabbled" with cameras all his life as part of his passion for recording history and writing, it was not until 2009 that Bill had what he described as his 'eureka moment' behind the lens. 

"I took a shot along Blackwater River. When I uploaded it onto the iMac I thought 'wow, I really like that'. That was the eureka moment when I decided that if I really put my mind to it I could take better photographs," he said. 

"That's what I have been trying to do since. In 2010 I joined Mallow Camera Club and began to make sense of the many things that I instinctively seemed to know about photography but hadn't fully understood before." 

Since then his natural flair for catching that special image, combined with a single-minded determination to master his craft, has seen Bill win more than 350 awards from 35 countries across the globe, the distinction of a Fellowship with the IPF and membership of the European-based International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP).

 As well as winning awards for his own work, Bill is much in demand as an international adjudicator and over the last year has judged competitions in Ireland, the UK, France, Denmark and Bulgaria. 

Bill, who last year joined the Blarney Photographic Club, said that while becoming a FIAP member was not an easy task by any means, the PSA Galaxy Exhibitor designation was a much tougher proposition as the society is a much larger one with a global membership. 

"The standards demanded by the PSA are extremely high and as anyone who has ever entered international salons will appreciate acceptances and awards in these competitions are hard earned. But, gaining distinctions from FIAP and now the PSA are well worth the effort," he said. 

"The PSA's guru in Ireland, Denis Whelehan, tells me that I am the first Irish photographer to receive a Galaxy recognition, something that I am very proud of. Many people are put off by the PSA distinction process, which is understandable. But, believe me, if I can do it anyone can." 

Bill said that while he is available for professional shoots, he has never, as yet, seriously considered taking up photography as a full-time career. 

"Never in my wildest dreams when I first took up the hobby would I have dared dream it would take me this far and I think the fact that it is a pastime rather than a career has helped me retain my enthusiasm," said Bill. 

"I love the challenge of finding subjects of my choosing and feel that doing it for a living might take some of that thrill away. When I started I said it was something that I would do for me and for the sheer love of it. I've never lost the thrill of seeing my images come to life through the camera lens and would not want to risk dampening that feeling by turning it into a chore." 

To see more of Bill's work visit