After my 'Gear of the year 2014' last week I thought I would turn my attention to the best photographers of 2014. Again, about as scientific a process I used to decide the best gear of 2014 - not very, in-fact should be called photographers who I met or know who impressed me.
Firstly let me rewind a little.
I am contacted by an increasing number of would be pro shooters every year. More often than not, they are unhappy in their chosen careers and would like to give photography a shot. Often they have received very positive feedback from colleagues and friends, complimenting them on their photography.
It is a hard fact that if you drop a couple of grand on a camera these days buying a top line Canon, Nikon or Sony, providing you take the lens cap off the image quality is going to be fine.
Just one problem with this, the world and his wife has cottoned onto this and the photographic industry has been turned on its head, with supply of photography outstripping demand, and if we look at the price of oil, we all know what happens to any industry where supply outstrips demand.
This means more and more photographers are chasing less and less work, which pays less and less.
What has this got to do with my 'photographers of the year' I hear some of you ask.
Both 'winners' have followed the rule which is that is everyone else is running in one direction, you might be best advised to run the other way and carve your own niche.
I met Maya Almeida at the Shanghai Photography festival where we both exhibiting.
I chatted to her at length before seeing her work and she told me what kind of thing she shot 'underwater dance' was one of the subjects she told me about, which on the face of it sounds very niche and erm a bit of unlikely career path to take.
And then I saw her work, motion, poise and beguiling beauty which is world class.
Maya is a former dancer and also is something of a 'water baby' and she has bought the two together.
Her work is really quite brilliant and it goes someway to explain how when I met her she no representation at all and 4 or so weeks later she had 2 or 3 agents representing her all over the globe.
With thousands of photographers banging on the doors of under pressure agents this is no mean feat
I see great things ahead for Maya and believe she will go far.
The second 'winner' is my old friend Jarek Wieczorkiewicz
Who has been working with liquid for some years now with remarkable world class results.
Here is a shot from his calendar which if you hurry you may just catch one before they sell out, a collectors Item too I reckon....
What is more he was picked up by Coca-Cola for to launch their 'Fairlife' milk product.
Jarek came up with a brilliant idea, shot it amazingly, and promoted it very well too.
It was not a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination and only his sheer tenacity made it all happen.
That really is the secret.
Do something different to the vast majority of shooters, execute it brilliantly and you will be successful.