Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards return for second year

London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios have announced the return of the Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards (MPAs), which celebrates the art of music photography.

The MPAs 2023 will recognize the most memorable music photos of the previous year, those that showcase live performances, the creative process, and the diverse music scenes around the world. The winners will be honored at an awards ceremony on September 21, at Abbey Road.

The awards feature a range of categories, including Undiscovered Photographer of the Year, Music Moment of the Year, Live Music, In The Studio, Underground Scenes, and Hip Hop 50. 

A judging panel, consisting of artists, stylists, photographers, and industry influencers, will determine the winners of the four invited categories: Portrait, Editorial, Artist at Work, and Icon. 

Among the panel members are British photographer Rankin, singer-songwriter Cat Burns, photographer Vicky Grout, stylist Karen Binns (Wizkid & Tori Amos), singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor, photographer Eric Johnson, stylist Matthew Josephs (FKA Twigs), and New York Times Deputy Photo Editor Nakyung Han.

Simon Wheatley, Abbey Road Studios’ photographer in residence, will join the panel for the Underground Scenes category.

“I’m thrilled to announce the 2023 Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards is now officially open. It doesn’t matter if you’re emerging, or a celebrated professional photographer, we want you to enter because we want your photographs to be seen,” Rankin said.

“I’m thrilled to announce the 2023 Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards is now officially open. It doesn’t matter if you’re emerging, or a celebrated professional photographer, we want you to enter because we want your photographs to be seen.”

Rankin, Photographer

“The MPAs is close to my heart because I founded the awards together with Abbey Road. This is our opportunity to celebrate what music photography means, not just to the audience and the musicians, but to the photographers behind the lens.”

“This year, I’ll be giving you the opportunity to win a day’s mentorship with me on a music shoot, so make sure to get your entry in before 18 July,” Rankin added.

Additionally, a shortlisting panel will be responsible for selecting the nominees for the awards. This panel includes Sacha Lecca, the Deputy Photo Editor at Rolling Stone Magazine US and a judge in the 2022 MPAs, along with photographers Yana Yatsuk, winner of the 2022 Portrait Award, and DeShaun Craddock, a finalist in the 2022 Zeitgeist category.

One of the categories in the MPAs is the Undiscovered Photographer of the Year Award. This category aims to find and recognize emerging, unsung talent in music photography, giving them the opportunity to showcase their work and be discovered by a wider audience.

The Music Moment of the Year Award celebrates the photograph that best encapsulates the defining moment in music for the year 2022.

Elsewhere, the Live Music Award focuses on capturing the essence and significance of live music, while the In The Studio Award showcases the intersection of two creative processes: music creation and the art of photography. Photographs submitted in this category should capture musicians at work in the studio, emphasizing the magic that happens when artists come together to write, experiment, or record.

The Underground Scenes Award aims to shine a spotlight on the importance of grassroots movements in music.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, the MPAs will also feature a special category this year called Hip Hop 50.

Four invited categories have also been established for the second MPAs, where the judging panel will nominate, deliberate, and present awards to acknowledge outstanding work in music photography.

The Portrait Award seeks a photograph that captures the spirit, essence, and personality of the artist. Whether stylized, conceptual, or candid, the winning image should visually represent the artist and their work.

The Editorial Award celebrates photography that engages viewers by conveying a complete story through a single image.

The Artist At Work Award honors a defining photograph that captures a moment of creativity as the artist works, whether in the studio, on stage, or behind-the-scenes. 

The Icon Award is a special recognition for an individual whose impact and contribution to the art of music photography are “unparalleled”.

Entries for the open-entry categories are free and can be submitted via the MPAs website.

The MPAs follow Abbey Road Studios’ annual Abbey Road Equalise festival held in March. The event was “designed to inspire and empower young women aspiring to a career in music.”

In November, Abbey Road Studios’ second Abbey Road Amplify, a series of workshops and panels, aimed at encouraging young people who are looking to enter the music industry.

Music Business Worldwide

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