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Abbey Road Studios announce shortlist for first ever music photography awards

Here's the full shortlist for next week's anticipated awards

Craig McDean's shortlisted shot of Billie Eilish
Craig McDean's shortlisted shot of Billie Eilish (Picture: Press)

Abbey Road Studios has announced the shortlist for this year’s inaugural music photography Lawards, which will take place later this month.

The prestigious ceremony takes place on May 14 and will celebrate some of the most striking examples of music photography over the last few years, with a judging panel that includes photography legend Rankin.

In the awards’ open categories, the nominees for Championing Scenes supported by Hennessy, include Northern Irish photographer Megan Doherty, best known for debut book ‘Stoned In Melanchol’ which documents her adolescence in Derry, as well as Above Ground, who has shot the likes of Nile Rodgers and Starrah.

The Live category, supported by Phillips, takes in nominees such as Gary Mather with a shot of Bristol post-punk star Billy No Mates and  John Lyons with an image of David Mrakpor playing with Ruben Fox.

US based photographers Aysia Marotta and Jack McKain are also nominated in Studio Photography, supported by Bowers & Wilkins, for their images of Pharrell and Pink Siifu respectively, while Spanish based Neelam Khan Vela makes the shortlist with a shot of all female indie outfit Hinds.

The Zeitgeist category, meanwhile, includes Chris Suspect for a live shot of heavy metal band Darkest Hour and Jason Sheldon for his work on a socially distanced Rise Up show, while New Zealand based Oscar Hetherington and Joe Puxley are nominated for their images of The Beatniks and Arlo Parks, respectively in Undiscovered, supported by adidas.

You can find the full list of shortlisted images for the inaugural MPAs below.

MPAs shortlist nominations:

Championing Scenes (category supported by Hennessy)

Megan Doherty

Above Ground

Rob Jones

Chris Suspect

Cicely Ellison

Live (category supported by Philips)

John Lyons

Anthony Harrison

Gary Mather

Jérôme Brunet

Studio (category supported by Bowers & Wilkins)

Jack McKain

Natalie Michele

Indy Brewer

Neelam Khan Vela

Aysia Marotta


Chris Suspect

Riccardo Piccirillo

DeShaun Craddock

Alec Castillo

Jason Sheldon

Undiscovered (category supported by adidas)

Joe Puxley

Jada & David Parrish

Oscar Hetherington

Hana Kovacs

Thomas Weidenhuapt

Artist At Work

Greg Noire

Jack McKain

Jennifer McCord

CJ Harvey

Dean Chalkley

Above Ground


Yana Yatsuk

Craig McDean

David LaChapelle

Fernando Aceves

Paul Sepuya

Samuel Trotter


Yana Yatsuk

Aidan Zamiri

Vicky Grout

Lucas Garrido

Nicholas O’Donnell

Josiah Rundles

Last month also saw Eric Johnson announced as the first ever recipient of Abbey Road Studios’ Icon Award.

Johnson, a New Jersey-raised and New York-based photographer, made his name photographing late ’90s and early ’00s icons including Biggie Smalls, Nas, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill and Aaliyah, alongside legends such as Muhammad Ali and more recent stars including Shygirl and Doja Cat.

The Icon Award is described as “a special honour in recognition of a person whose impact and contribution to the art of music photography is unparalleled,” and Abbey Road’s Managing Director Isabel Garvey said: “We have no doubt that Eric meets these criteria.

“We’re delighted that Eric has accepted the award as his work throughout his career to date has been some of the most vital and memorable in music photography.”