SELF-employed photographer Paul J Bucknall proved he was in the frame when he snapped up an international award for Street Photographer Of The Year.
After being shortlisted for his photo entry, he attended the Societies Photographer Of The Year 2015 awards, held at The Hilton Metropole in London. The January event was held at Europe's largest photographic convention – a gathering of the who's who in the photographic industry.
The awards night celebrates the success of photographers from around the world and more than 500 people attended the prestigious ceremony to see who would be recognised for creativity, innovation and effectiveness for their photographic skill. It was also to celebrate excellence within the photographic trade.
It's good, it's a big event. I was on a table of ten. I went down with my uncle who gave me support. When my name was read out, he jumped up and hugged me. I was ecstatic! I last won four years ago. I thought it would be really great if I would win again but thought it was in my wildest dreams, as you are up against the world's leading photographers. I was surprised."
Paul triumphed in the Societies Street Photographer Of The Year 2015 for his image which was taken in Trinidad, a town in central Cuba, on the Caribbean coast. The award-winning image was described as "quirky" by the judges.
Taken one morning, off the beaten track, Paul stumbled across the couple and was amused. "I just saw them come into view, I really liked the composition, with him being so tall, she looked like she was in charge – he knew his place," joked Paul.
For the image, he was presented with a certificate, glass globe and a voucher to attend a course at the renowned Nikon photography training school.
The keen photographer has been nominated nine times in the past five years at the award ceremony. In 2011, he won Environmental Portrait Photographer and Open Photographer Of The Year.
For the last five years, Paul has been taking photographs for Arcangel – an image library which specialises in licensing highly creative, commercially relevant images worldwide.
Paul's images are used widely for book covers and career highlights include a French version of The Green Mile by Stephen King and images for the cover of Born Survivors – a story based on Auschwitz by author Wendy Holden.
"I have been doing photography all my life. I first picked up a camera when I was about 14 or 15 and I have never put a camera down since. I started on cruise liners, travelling the world, I loved it!
"I'm a stock photographer and book cover imagery is a satisfying addition to my workload . I love doing the book cover work, it's quite rewarding. It's nice to see an image I've taken on a cover sitting on the shelf in a book shop."
His passion for photography has already taken him to around 70 countries, including Iceland, Indonesia, Borneo, Mexico, Columbia, China, Philippines and India.
He added: "I have been quite fortunate. I take speculative trips here, there and everywhere – all around the world! I like to travel to different countries where I can get to meet the local people and immerse myself into their culture. I tend to use local models whenever possible for shoots. I really enjoyed Georgia on a recent trip, that was an interesting place.
"I like melting into the background and just observing – taking documentary and observational-style pictures. I also photograph horses and owners on paid commissions, I love equine portrait photography."