Clonakilty-based photographer Steve Hayes has enjoyed a brilliant year, culminating in nine Honourable Mentions in the 2020 International Photography Awards.
Steve was thrilled with his latest awards.
“It is always nice to get recognised," he said. "They were actually my seventh award this year. Winning awards was always a target of mine, but actually winning them is unreal. It is still so hard to believe and take in.
"The standard is so high among photographers. It is a great feeling."
Steve has now won one silver, two bronze, and a lot of honourable mentions. He also captured a gold medal in a prestigious awards ceremony in Italy. Steve’s award wins were for broad categories such as Fine Art and Creativity.
The run of recent awards have opened doors and helped with sales.
“I have sold a lot of pictures abroad on the back of these awards which is great," Steve told The Echo. "It creates a very positive image.
"I have also started doing plenty of workshops around Cork in recent months. It helps with regards to my CV. It also increases my profile and ensures people have more confidence in my ability.”
What makes Steve’s story even more impressive is the fact that he only bought his first camera in 2019 and is only operating in a full-time capacity as a photographer since January 2020.
“I suppose I was always creative and artistic, owing to the musical background of my family members and I," he said. "However I fell into photography very late. I fell in love with it instantly. This time last year I was still working in my accounting job. If you had told me 12 months ago, that I would be winning awards and doing workshops, I would not have believed you!”
Steve decided to take the plunge and made the brave decision to work full-time as a photographer in a bid to spent more quality time with his family.
“I wasn’t spending enough time with my family," he said. "My son had just turned two when I decided to give up my full-time job. I had barely seen him over the first two years due to the busy nature of my previous job. That was a huge factor and I wanted to slow things down in my life. I am not confined to set hours and it is going great. I suppose there was always a pull from my artistic side to follow my intuition. I just felt life is too short and you should pursue your dreams.”