Tony Law

2023 Non-Professional Sports Photographer of the Year

Q: Can you briefly tell us about your background and what inspired you to pursue photography?
Hi, my name is Tony Law. My professional life is primarily focused on architectural rendering and design, but I have always been engaged in the arts. I studied painting as a child, and during my time at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts majoring in Industrial Design, I started developing an interest in photography. I move to Sydney in the early ‘90s, and around a decade ago, I met a group of talented local friends who loved photography. Influenced by them, I took up photography once more. Taking photos and exchanging ideas and experiences with these people have improved my skills greatly. I now photograph a wide variety of subjects and locations, with each outing still being an opportunity to learn.

Q: What drove you to submit your work to the IPA competition and your thoughts on how winning this competition impacted your artistic journey?
The International Photography Awards competition is a benchmark in the photography industry. When I participated in this competition for the first time in 2019, I unexpectedly placed very well. Four years later today, I feel very lucky to receive this award. Entering in this competition yearly has improved my photography greatly, and has been a huge inspiration in continuing my career in this hobby. I look forward to preparing images for competitions every year, it helps motivate my photography journey and I hope to take more good photos to share with you in the future.

Q: Could you describe any challenges you faced while capturing this moment (winning image/s)?
Rodeo is a very intense and dangerous sport. Everything moves very fast and erratically. In addition to skill and technique, you also need some luck to capture great moments. Most rodeo runs only last a few seconds, with relatively long breaks in between each run as the bull gets escorted out the arena and the cowboy recovers. You really have to get locked in for those few seconds, and recognise when action will occur. On the particular day I took this shot, it was very windy and sandy, and there were thick iron fences surrounding the arena, which made finding a good angle difficult. Light was harsh as well, which further restricted favourable shooting angles. Fortunately, I was able to overcome these difficulties and captured the incredible moment when the bull bucked into the air and the cowboy was thrown off.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the most important factors in creating great images?
First of all, the picture needs to be eye-catching. The angle must be unique and creative, with subject and background working together to create an immersive image. Ultimately, the picture must bring emotion to the viewer. Lots of good images contain some of these elements, but to create a great image requires a lot of thought about every element in the frame. It’s difficult to consistently get great photos.

Q: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of photography?
The greatest challenge but also the greatest driver in continuing photography is the constant desire to improve and remain creative. I enjoy experimenting with style and aesthetics. It’s rewarding to study new techniques and find new scenic spots and compositions, and it’s something that can always keep me engaged.

Q: What motivates and drives your photography?
I often look at other people’s works and how they approach different scenes: this stimulates my own interest in shooting and exploring. There’s so much to photography that everybody has things to offer and learn from. The world around us is also ever-changing. New buildings are constantly being constructed, lakes dry and fill as the seasons come and go. Both working with the others and examining the environment us give us many opportunities to learn. This never-ending potential to grow means that I can always look forward to learning new things and exploring new places all the time, and drives my photography.

Q: What’s next for you in your career as a photographer?
I don’t have any specific plans, I just hope to go to more places, experience new scenery and subjects, try different styles, learn more photography techniques, and take more good photos.