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Winners Recap: Darren Bandoo

In an age when digital photography is so accessible, anyone with an iPhone fancies themselves as the next Hélène Binet. In such a pool of competition, how does one self-professed novice make a splash big enough to be noticed?

Darren Bandoo is the underdog story with a loud bark, even since taking the first prize in last year’s Experiential Events category he admits, “It’s actually been quite a rollercoaster.”

Like many of the 2017 EPAs first prize winners, it was a last-minute decision to submit his winning photograph. Working for an AV company supplying plasma screens and audio-visual tech gear, Darren had dabbled in photography and video. It wasn’t until being asked to take photographs on behalf of the company for an event that he realised his potential.

“I was stoked! You enter so many competitions, you don’t think you’re going to hear back, just to get that first email (that he had been shortlisted) was wonderful.”

He was sipping Bintang in Bali at the time he received the news that he had won the top prize in his category. In a sea of professional and budding photographer talent alike, Darren’s peculiarly titled ‘This is how you do it, lads' floated high above the rest.

Above: 'This is how you do it, lads.' 2017 Winner, Experiential Events Category

But since winning at the last year’s awards, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. The photographer was made redundant from his job halfway into the year, and instead of licking his wounds, Darren saw an opportunity. Three months pay secured, he sought to turn his passion into a hard-earning career move, focusing on weddings and events and pursuing photography as a full-time job.

“It really taught me about taking a chance, if you really want to do something you’re only holding yourself back if you don’t do it or you don’t try.”

It is this exact mindset which makes Darren a compelling artist. His inspiring self-belief and determination to overcome the odds. His desire to grow and conquer his passion. His vision.

Since He says about event photography: “It’s about trying to tell a story…you’re looking for those images that from start to finish can capture each moment and build this tapestry of what’s going on.”

Entries for the 2018 Event Photography Awards are open until 25 February. ENTER NOW!

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