Adam Taylor snaps up Advertising Photographer of the Year for Leo Burnett Sydney campaign

Taylor explains: “By replacing creatures such as turtles or seals with actual people, we had a bold idea to lead with and one that effectively hit home the key campaign message that we all suffer from the harmful consequences of polluted oceans and waterways.”



28, September 2011

Adam Taylor snaps up Advertising Photographer of the Year for Leo Burnett Sydney campaign


Sydney-based international photographer Adam Taylor has received top honours at the prestigious International Photography Awards (IPA), walking away with this year’s Advertising Photographer of the Year Award for a series of campaign shots for the Surfrider Foundation.

This latest award scoop adds to Taylor’s growing collection of industry accolades including gold, silver and bronze at Cannes and AWARD along with a four year consecutive feature inside the pages of Luerzer’s Archive Best Advertising Photographers Worldwide.

The IPA awarded campaign titled “Our oceans aren’t the only ones in danger” via advertising agency Leo Burnett Sydney, has appeared locally and abroad in surf industry titles including Australian Longboarder, Surfing World Magazine, Surfer’s Path Surfing Life, Curl, New Zealand Surfer along with Surfrider, based in the US and UK.

The campaign highlights the devastating effects pollution has on ocean wildlife and asks society to re-think the careless disposing of rubbish into our seas.

Says Taylor: “We initially researched pictures of fatally injured ocean wildlife trapped in polluted waters to really come to grips with the situation.”


The brief assigned to Taylor was to execute a rather confronting creative concept that sees human subjects literally trading places with deceased or trapped ocean wildlife; themselves the victims of rubbish discarded into the sea.

Taylor explains: “By replacing creatures such as turtles or seals with actual people, we had a bold idea to lead with and one that effectively hit home the key campaign message that we all suffer from the harmful consequences of polluted oceans and waterways.”

The campaign consists of a series of three shots, including a mother and daughter trapped in a deadly foreshore oil spill, a garbage clad skeleton wasting away on sand dunes and a man trapped in bottle-neck packaging dangling on the surface of the seabed.

“All subjects were shot on location but we couldn’t shoot the mother and child in the oil on the foreshore because of the mess it would have made with oil draining out into the surf,” adds Taylor. “Instead we captured the talent in studio and added the backdrop in post. The overall grade was also in tune with softer lighting, creating a mood that peaks people’s interest.”

Shot on a 35milemetre digital camera in mostly all natural lighting, each shot retains its own distinct look and feel however all three shot locations convey a rugged almost prehistoric atmosphere.


Leo Burnett art director Brendan Donnelly, who worked on the campaign alongside Taylor, says the images successfully achieved the required haunting realism and eerie rawness that was needed to create cut through to reach the campaign’s target demographic.

Says Donnelly: “Not particularly interested in perfectly curated advertising shots, we instead led with a documentary style inspired approach with photographs that were neither overly composed or heavily retouched to achieve a raw and impacting series of images.”

Avid surfers and equally passionate environmentalists, both Taylor and Donnelly hope the award-winning campaign will continue to raise awareness for the protection of our oceans from the waste of human consumption.

Taylor is now listed as a finalist for the International Photographer of the Year Award at the 2011 international Lucie Awards, to be announced at a gala award ceremony at Lincoln Centre New York on October 24, 2011.


Campaign Credits:
Client: Surfrider Foundation
Agency: Leo Burnett Sydney
Creative Director: Andy Dilallo
Creative Director: Mark Harricks
Art Director: Brendan Donnelly
Copywriter: Guy Futcher
Photographer: Adam Taylor
Retoucher: Cream


Campaign Brief



3 Responses to “Adam Taylor snaps up Advertising Photographer of the Year for Leo Burnett Sydney campaign”

  1. sek disse:

    Powerful images.

  2. Tat disse:

    Magnificent campaign!

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