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Abbey Road Studios announces first ever Music Photography Awards

The awards, celebrating the best music photography from 2021, will be held at the legendary studios in May

By Will Richards

David Bowie, shot by Rankin
David Bowie, shot by Rankin

The legendary Abbey Road Studios has announced details of the first ever Music Photography Awards, to be held at the studios later this year.

The inaugural MPAs will feature the best and most striking music photography from 2021, as voted for by a panel that includes David Bowie photographer Rankin, Moses Sumney, Shygirl and Rolling Stone’s deputy photo director Sacha Lecca.

Along with a number of closed categories, applications from photographers across the world are welcomed for the Studio, Live, Championing Scenes and Undiscovered Photographer of the Year awards.

Discussing the awards, Rankin, who leads the judging panel, said: “Throughout my career it’s always been really important for me to support emerging and undiscovered talent in photography, so the opportunity to partner with one of music’s biggest and most prestigious brands in Abbey Road Studios for this year’s inaugural Music Photographer Of The Year Awards, is massively exciting.

“Music photography is an art form that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, so it’s brilliant to celebrate those working in the field with these Awards. What I’m always looking for with photography is a connection with the subject matter and music has been one of my main passions for as long as I can remember, so this is a real thrill.”

See all the categories for the first Music Photography Awards below, with explanations on what they represent. They will be held at Abbey Road Studios in May, with an exact date TBA.

Zeitgeist Award
“This category celebrates THE image that defines music in 2021.”
Championing Scenes Award
“This award will shine a spotlight on the importance of the grassroots movements by celebrating the photographers documenting subcultural music scenes around the world.”
Live Music Photography Award
“Capturing the image that defined live music in 2021.”
Studio Photography Award
“Exploring the process of recording music.”
Undiscovered Photographer of the Year
“We want to expose the best upcoming photographers of all backgrounds forging a path in music photography. Do you have a body of work that is waiting to be discovered?”

Noel and Liam Gallagher (Picture: Rankin)
Noel and Liam Gallagher (Picture: Rankin)

Portrait Photography Award
“A photograph that captures the spirit, essence and personality of the artist.  Stylised, conceptual or candid, it’s how the artist represents their work through visual imagery.”
Editorial Photography Award
“Editorial photography tells a story with images. It can take the viewer on a journey, illuminate written text, set a tone or present a highly evolved creative concept.”
Artist at Work Photography Award
“A defining photograph that captures a moment of creativity at work – in the studio, on stage, behind-the-scenes.”
Icon Award
“A special honour in recognition of a person whose impact and contribution to the art of music photography is unparalleled.”