A Johnstone photographer is on top of the world after winning a prestigious international competition.

Graeme Hewitson has been named the highly coveted International Master Photographer of the Year at the 37th annual MPA Master Photography Awards 2020.

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He was up against well-regarded photographers from around the world but – as well as scooping five category awards – came out on top.

The dad-of-five, who runs Monument Photos from his home in Johnstone, said he was delighted to win the award.


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“I certainly didn’t expect to win it,” he told the Paisley Express. “It’s the biggest award of my career.

“If I never win anything else I’ll be delighted with that.

“It’s a huge personal achievement.”

Due to covid, the ceremony was held online this year and Graeme said the final award was a nail-biting one.

“There were three of us on screen then a fourth window popped up with the judges in it,” he said.

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“Then a fifth window came up and cut to a live feed of Trevor Yerbury, a very well-known photographer, holding the award standing outside someone’s front door.

“I looked at it and thought, ‘that looks like my front door’.

“And it was!

“I answered the door to him and he gave me the award.

“I was wearing a tuxedo on top but had jeans on the bottom half.

“It was beyond belief to win it.”

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Graeme, 48, has been named Scottish Master Photographer of the Year for the past two years and has an incredible 35 awards to his name.

He had 19 images selected to go through to this year’s international awards and on the night won four outright categories – studio portrait, advertising, equine, and industrial – won the commercial photographer award, before being named International Master Photographer of the Year.

Two of his category wins – equine and advertising – were even more remarkable as Graeme said he was practicing skills he’d only learned during lockdown.

“I’ve been a photographer 20 years but only started photographing horses during lockdown,” he said.

“I went to Ingliston Country Club and took some photos there. I was up against a woman who teaches masterclasses in horse photography.

“I’m always trying to learn something new. I tried to do unique car portraits and one of those won the advertising category.”

He added: “2020 has been a dreadful year, we lost a family member early on to coronavirus.

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“But we’ve picked up the pieces and I’ve learned new things and it’s ended in a much more positive place. I definitely tried to use lockdown to its advantage.

“I don’t know everything about photography, I’m always learning. I want to make every image, whether it’s a bride or kids at a school, an award-winning photo.”