Bank teller wins top travel photo prize

Last updated 15:48 20/05/2014

IN THE MOMENT: A man sews rice sacks together in the village of Tordi Garh, India.

THE RIGHT TIME: Indian women at Jama Masjid Mosque, New Delhi, India
JOSHUA DONNELLY: "India has always intrigued me. I always thought I had to do it; I was a bit scared because the perception is it's dirty and filthy, but it was amazing."

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A Nelson man who has been named the Cathay Pacific Travel Photographer of the Year says the win is "mind-boggling".

Joshua Donnelly has been working as a bank teller at ANZ in Richmond for the past 10 years and has only been taking photos seriously since 2009.

He beat a field of professional photographers for the award.

Former Nelson Mail journalist Anna Pearson was runner-up in the photographer of the year category, and won the best travel image outside New Zealand category.

Donnelly, a former travel agent, has travelled the world extensively. His winning photos for the award were taken in India last year.

He said he had a strong passion for photography, and would love to turn it into a professional career.

He entered four photos into the competition. Three had been previously published in D-Photo magazine.

"India has always intrigued me. I always thought I had to do it; I was a bit scared because the perception is it's dirty and filthy, but it was amazing."

He was there for two weeks, and said the photos he took reflected capturing people "in the moment".

In a black and white photo taken at a mosque in New Delhi, he said he needed to wait until the right time to capture the atmosphere.

"I didn't want any tourists in there, so I waited for quite a bit. I was delighted with the outcome, I think it has a very authentic feel to it."

Another photo shows a man sewing rice sacks together in the village of Tordi Garh, India.

Donnelly saw him and thought he would make "an amazing award-winning photo... I was able to recognise the moment at the time".

He was not planning on attending the awards ceremony in Auckland last Friday but the organisers convinced him otherwise.

The awards, which aim to "celebrate excellence in travel writing and photography", were judged by industry experts.

Auckland-based commercial photographer Aaron K was one of the judges and said Donnelly used "strong, evocative imagery to create a visually engaging travel story that felt authentic and uncontrived".

Donnelly said the feedback was "fantastic, really positive that maybe I could look at things as in a professional career", which would be " a dream come true".

Donnelly, who has won other New Zealand competitions, found this win "mind-boggling".

"I have followed this competition for a long time even before I put an entry in.

"I have admired these people for a long time, so it's amazing to have that same honour as the people who have won previously with their amazing entries, it's mind-boggling really."

He had previously got $5000 for winning a House of Travel photography competition, which he spent on the trip to India.

Next on his travel list is Cambodia - he won flights to get there in this competition.

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Donnelly said he also wanted to return to India - "it's one of the greatest places to photograph" - but he also plans to see his own country.

"That's something I need to consider as well. Travel photography doesn't just mean overseas, you can do it in your own country as well."

- The Nelson Mail


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