Australian photographer recognised at Global Arctic Awards

By Jared Richards 14 April 2016
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Joshua Holko named Arctic Photographer of the Year.

AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHER Joshua Holko has won five medals including Arctic Photographer of the Year at the 2015 Global Arctic Awards. Holko is the first Australian to win at the prestigious awards, now in their fourth year.

“Protecting the Kill”, the above shot, won the Best Polar Bear award determined by FIAP, the International Federation of Photographic Art. In the photo, Holko captured a female polar bear carefully guarding a freshly killed bearded seal on the frozen Templefjord in Svalbard, Norway. Taken during the winter sunset, the bear’s breath is illuminated in a golden haze.

“When I took the photo I was about 100m away from the polar bear. I had been photographing it for two days, and waited until sunset for the best light – temperatures dropped to below -20°C. It was a combination of timing and patience,” says Holko.

Penguins arctic photo johsua holko

Joshua Holko’s “Penguin Love” was awarded a gold metal in the ‘Organisers’ Choice’ category. (Image: Joshua Holko)

Held in Salekhard, Russia’s closest town to the Polar circle, the Global Arctic Awards are open to entries from across the world but has been dominated by European photographers – Holko is also the first non-Norwegian to win Photographer of the Year.

“Winning the Global Arctic Photographer of the Year award is a huge thrill and honour for me,” says Holko. “The incredibly high standard of photographic work being produced in Europe is very intimidating and I am deeply humbled to have had my work chosen from a pool of such amazing photographs and amazing photographers.”

Holko swept up the awards this year. He won another FIAP award for his photo of an arctic fox fight, and three medals; a gold for a sunset silhouette shot of two penguins, and two silvers, one for a landscape shot of Iceland’s Goðafoss waterall, and one for ‘Polar Bear Blush’, capturing a Polar bear’s blood-stained face mid-meal. You can see them in our gallery.

Born in Melbourne, Holko travels throughout the world as a landscape, nature and wildlife photographer. Fascinated most by polar and sub-polar regions, Holko also runs workshops and expeditions, teaching and guiding other photographers on how to best capture the Arctic and sub-Arctic world.