When country Queensland-born snapper, Az Jackson, returned from the world’s biggest swimwear competition this September, he brought some excess luggage with him - the lion’s share of the tournament’s photography trophies.
The event was the UjENA Bikini Jam in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, organized by one of the world’s most successful swimwear companies. Over 200 models and photographers from 10 countries competed for more than $200,000 in cash, prizes and contracts, in an event that was watched by more than 10 million people.
The UjENA bikini Jam is currently held three times a year in exotic locations across the globe, although as many as 11 extra Bikini Jams are planned by 2009. But it was the international leg in Mexico, also known as the Main Event, where Az Jackson really put Australia on the map.
Spanning 10 action-packed days and nights, the competition was fierce, but the Mexican weather ― with its searing heat, unbearable humidity and never-ending rain - proved an even greater challenge, especially when several hurricanes circling the region threatened to destroy any photographic opportunities. But weather aside, several hundred thousand pictures were taken of the 120 beautiful bikini models.
Of the pool of talent, only 20 models and the 10 top photographers made it to the finals, where the photographers judged in a 20 minute shoot-out.
Of the five possible photography awards, Az Jackson scored an unprecedented hat-trick, taking home the top three awards as he became the first ever Australian winner in history. He was awarded:
- UjENA Photographer Of The Year 2007
- Showsum World Top Bikini Photographer
- American Model Photographer Of The Year
With no formal training in the business and after picking up a camera only 3 short years ago his new accolades have caught the attention of international magazines and companies keen to benefit from his proven talents.
“I’ve spent over 10 years on the other side of the camera as an actor and a model myself and I only got into photography to shoot portfolios for my friends because it was fun.” He says of his newly discovered talent.
“It’s been pretty crazy since I got back, and most of my time has been taken up replying to everyone. Seems like everyone wants to be my friend now” said Az on his return to Australia.
“But I’m ready to take on new challenges, gain some good clients and deliver even greater results.”
To view more of his work, or to contact Az Jackson for bookingsvisit his website at www.inspire-images.com.
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