‘Creating history:’ How Alex Coppel won 2021 Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year

Photojournalist Alex Coppel discusses the perilous and rewarding process of capturing the biggest events of 2021

Coppel snaps an image of Australia’s Jess Fox, pushing herself to the limit during the final of the Canoe Slalom at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Coppel’s portfolio features an image of babies ‘drown-proofed’ at a Melbourne swim school. Covid-19
prompted a decrease in young Australians taking swimming lessons, leading to increased fears of summer drownings

“I didn’t expect to win…I was in awe of what my colleagues produced.”

Tara Davis from the USA lets her hair fly during landing, in the final of the Women’s Long Jump at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Shooting ‘The Games That Had to Happen’

USA’s Caeleb Dressel powers through the water on his way to winning Gold, in the final of the Men’s 100m Butterfly at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Charlotte Worthington from Britain executes a flip on her way to claiming Gold in the Olympics debut event of BMX Freestyle.
Poland’s Kajetan Duszynski crosses the line to win Gold in the Mixed 4 x 400m Relay, and throws his shirt over his head in the excitement. The victor’s elated cries could be heard from the stands.

Risking it all at Melbourne’s anti-lockdown protests

Police clash with protesters and pepper-spray a man during a north Melbourne anti-lockdown protest in August 2021.
A woman is arrested after allegedly biting a police officer during an anti-lockdown protest at Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station.

A future in photojournalism?

A man’s shadow is thrown across the ground on the banks of Pink Lake in western Victoria, shown from the height of a drone. Coppel laments funding cuts to photojournalism, which have made travel to such remote regions more difficult.

“I think you’re documenting what’s happening in front of you. With the medium, you’re creating history, moments in time.”

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