A photo by Montana farm and ranch photographer and National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) member Todd Klassy was awarded top prize in an international photography competition – the first time the award was given to a photographer from the United States in 14 years.
Photographers compete in three categories – people, production, and nature – from which an overall winner is selected. Klassy's photograph of a cowboy moving cattle on a rainy day in the Bear Paw Mountains near Lloyd, Montana was the photograph selected by the judges as the winner of the people category. It was then selected by the judges as the overall winner among entries from over 30 countries.
The award was presented today at the 2016 IFAJ Congress in Bonn, Germany.
Klassy learned he won the award when he received a text message from Germany where the awards ceremony was taking place.
“They invited me to attend but didn't tell me I had won anything until today. My little brother got married this weekend in California so I just couldn't make it.”
A delegation of American Agriculture journalists and editors accepted the award on Klassy's behalf.
Although the annual competition has been running for more than 20 years, this is the first time a photographer from the United States has won an award from the IFAJ Star Prize for Agricultural Photography contest since 2004.
Klassy who hails from Havre, Montana, said he knew the photograph as a good one the moment he pressed the shutter button on his camera.
“I just finished photographing on a ranch in southern Blaine County when a spring storm moved through the area,” Klassy said. “I decided to follow the storm looking for opportunities to make a photo. As I winded my way through the gravel roads in the Bear Paw Mountains I stumbled upon some ranchers moving cattle to greener pastures.
“I hung back and watched as they moved cattle in the rain. Polite as most cowboys and ranchers are in Montana, they approached me and said I could pass through the middle of the herd, but I declined. And I am sure glad I did.
“I pressed the shutter when the cowboy, his horse, and his dog lined up perfectly with steam rising over the Bear Paw Mountains in the background,” he said.
In the past year the photo has been published several times by many different publications, including Western Horseman and National Geographic.
“I am elated,” Klassy said. “I couldn't be happier. When you make a career for yourself as a farm and ranch photograph this is a pinnacle of achievement. I couldn't be more honored.”
CLICK HERE to see more of Todd Klassy's photos. Here at Northern Ag, we are huge fans of Todd Klassy's work and feel pretty lucky that Klassy is here in Montana, showcasing our hard working farmers and ranchers.
Source: Todd Klassy press release
Photo credits: Todd Klassy and used with permission