Telling Stories

Scrolling through hundreds of entries in this year’s Topshot photo competition, I started to shortlist those that immediately grabbed my attention. But my short list very soon became a long list and I was happy not to be one of our online competition judges, invited to help nominate a final six for public scrutiny and voting. Six, and only six! Wow, that would be a tough task. I now had a shortlist within a shortlist and still had 30 or more images. Time to phone a friend, having already shared the image link with longtime FlyLife designer and layout collaborator, Jeremy Price. Surprisingly (or not), the images Jeremy enthused over were all at the top of my own shortest list. The jubilant celebration, the brownie with the sulphur dun, the aerial shot of the river bend, the epic New Zealand panorama, the frigid reel, the rod bent like Beckham and the sea of clouds above the lonely boat to name a few. In debating why a salty Brisbanian graphic designer and semi-retired Tasmanian trout doctor would be drawn to the same images — knowing full well that these might not translate to popular choices in the splash-and-grab world of social media — Jeremy hit the nail on the head. “They all tell stories,” he said. And if they don’t fully tell the story, they certainly hook us into any accompanying text, demanding to know so much more. How do I get there? What’s that all about? Who is that dude with the dog? What’s that guy after in the high-country creek? Is that child securely anchored? Other shots, we agreed, blind us with colour and sheer beauty, particularly those stand-out portraits of the fish we seek. We all admire the real thing for a moment or two in hand, even attempt to capture their spirit in a snap-shot, but rarely do we do justice to the essence and vitality of the living fish. So here are some of our favourite stories from the photo competition, in pictures. And if you would like more words you’ll find an explanatory paragraph or two on the FlyLife website together with more information on the judges’ six finalists and the winning entries based on the public vote. Apologies for some cropping here and there to fit the layout.

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