Derry man Bernard Ward's image claimed the national prize at the Sony World Photography Awards
The Sony World Photography Awards is the world’s largest photography competition, and the National Awards aims to find the best single photograph taken by a local photographer in 65 countries.
Bernard Ward’s winning image Bonfire Night 15th August 2016 in Derry has just been named as the Irish national winner.
Ward’s photograph is a notable entry and winner this year due to its somewhat controversial; bonfires have been part of Catholic and Protestant cultures for generations, and they’ve come under much criticism since troubles have subsided.
In the picture you can see lots of locals gathered to the left, watching the youths of the Bogside build the bonfire made mostly of wooden pallets. In the foreground you see cars approaching. This bonfire stirred huge controversy as it blocked a public road.
Bernard Ward is a 34-years-old father of one from Derry. He comes from a historic city which has seen amazing changes over the past 30 years, from horrific violence as part of ‘the Troubles’ in Ireland and Northern Ireland to the relatively normal and co-operative society today. He loves to document the streets of Derry and tell the story of his hometown, its history and culture through pictures.
Ward works as a marketing manager but his dream is to become a full-time photographer. Commenting on his selection as the best Irish photo of the year, Ward said: “To win such an award like this, especially in the Ireland category, is such an honour for me.
“Winning this award means everything to me and makes all the years of hard work in photography worthwhile. Photography is a passion and to win an award like this is overwhelming for me. I have always admired the level of talent every year across all categories and to be considered a winner is one of my biggest achievements to date.”
The second and third place awards for Ireland went to Gillian Hyland for The Road Less Travelled and Aaron Dickson for Untitled, from his Notes on Hospitals series.