Congratulations to 2023 Overall Winner, Samuel Markham
A harrowing moment captured at the heart of a bushfire in Parma Creek Nature Reserve, New South Wales, has claimed top prize in the 2023 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition and exhibition opening at the South Australian Museum on 26 August.
Photographer Samuel Markham’s winning shot, ‘My Country Burns’, was taken in the final days of 2019, in a bushfire season that remains seared into memory around Australia and the world.
“Nothing can prepare someone for being straight in the line of a pyrocumulonimbus firestorm with a built-in flashover and temperatures exceeding 1000°C,” Markham said of his on-the-ground snapshot. “While protecting my home on New Year’s Eve 2019, daylight turned into darkness with 40m-plus flames.”
This year’s judges, Mike Langford, Adjunct Professor Wayne Quilliam and Jackie Ranken, singled out Markham’s “breathtaking, scary photograph” for its “energy and visual drama indicative of the world we now live in”. “Despite the circumstances this isn’t a panicked shot; it is a studied composition with extraordinary detail,” the judges said. “Many layers draw us into the scene, giving us a genuine feeling of being part of the firestorm.”
Image: My Country Burns, by Samuel Markham, Overall Winner 2023 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.