Waves Melbourne Australia 2014_15D545E0-A748-11E4-A6B3020F57397571Melbourne-based photographer Mihai Florea has been named ‘overall winner’ in the 2014 Photographer of the Year, presented by Olympus. The 47-year-old enthusiast photographer has been shooting seriously for two-and-a-half years, and is mainly interested in architecture and landscape subjects.

„There were some great images on your website, so I really didn’t expect this,” said a delighted Florea. „It is the greatest honor ever bestowed upon me as a photographer. A sincere thank you to the judges, sponsors and especially to Australian Photography + digital magazine for organising this competition.”

Judge Paul Hoelen praised Florea’s, „beautifully refined subjects, deliciously rich blacks, superbly handled highlights… and exquisite sense of design and vision.”

Fellow judge Tom Putt said Florea’s portfolio was sublime. „Mihai’s strong black baseline gives context to the highlights that are minimalistic and abstract in nature. His portfolio shows that he understands form, function and light as he cleverly chooses his subjects and composes them in the strongest way.”

The 2014 Photographer of the Year competition challenged photographers to shoot a portfolio of six images in one or more of four categories: landscape, portrait, black & white and nature. More than 7,656 images were submitted by the competition closing date of 7 November 2014.

As the 2014 Photographer of the Year, Florea has won $5000 in prize money and an Olympus OM-D package valued at $1495. Florea’s portfolio ‘Abstract Melbourne’ also took out first place in the Black & White category, winning an additional $1000 and a Manfrotto package worth $899.

Three other category winners were named: Sharon Wellings, 2014 Portrait Photographer of the Year ($1000 plus $1000 Camera House voucher); Yang Liu, 2014 Landscape Photographer of the Year ($1000 plus EIZO ColorEdge CS230 Colour Matching Monitor valued at $1265); and Judith Conning, 2014 Nature Photographer of the Year ($1000 plus WD package valued at $895).

The judging panel for the competition comprised some of Australia’s leading professional photographers including: Tamara Dean, Justin Gilligan, Paul Hoelen, Joshua Holko, David Knight, Tim Levy, Todd McGaw, Nick Melidonis, Mandarine Montgomery, Anthony McKee, Tom Putt, Tobias Titz, and Louise Whelan.

For more information about the 2014 Photographer of the Year, presented by Olympus, check out the February 2015 issue of Australian Photography + digital (out now in newsagencies and the iTunes store), which includes full portfolios of each of the category winners and runners up, judges comments and a list of the Top 10 photographers in each category.

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who entered the competition and to our major sponsor Olympus, and category sponsors – Camera House, EIZO, WD and Manfrotto – for making the competition possible. Entries for the 2015 competition open in mid 2015 – stay tuned for more information.