An avalanche rescue dog, a border collie called Kyron, pokes his snout through the snow, sniffing out whoever may be buried several meters beneath the mass.
This is the image that won the Portrait and Landscape category at the International Dog Photography Awards 2022.
Scroll through the gallery above to see all the award winners from this year
It was shot by Dalia Fichmann, from Switzerland, on her Nikon D3. “Away from the pistes, away from the hustle and bustle, enjoying the softness of the powder snow, the untouchedness,” she wrote of the inspiration behind her poignant photograph.
“The dark side of it: every year people are buried by avalanches. The search in rough terrain is usually very difficult. The avalanche rescue dogs are often the first responders, fighting their way through the avalanche cones on their four paws with a lot of perseverance to look for the buried people.”
Fichmann accompanied the rescue team with a camera for the day, laying down with her lens in a small, dark ice cave, letting the dogs search for her, in a bid to capture the perfect shot.
“The moment when the snow cover opens up, the first ray of light penetrates the cave, the paws dig away the snow and the dog’s nose sniffs towards you is wonderful,” she adds. “A big compliment to all the dog handlers with their four-legged friends who invest a lot of time and patience. In an emergency, they risk their own lives.”
The Dog Photography Awards is an annual competition open to professional, amateur and student photographers worldwide. It aims to promote people who specialize in dog photography and this year there were four categories, including Fichmann’s, plus Studio, Action and Dogs, and People.
Among the six judges is Audrey Bellot, a dog photographer from France who mentors professional and budding photographers across the world. There’s also award-winning Claudio Piccoli, from Italy, who lives with his four dogs, shooting pooches everywhere and offering workshops and private coaching.
Winners receive prices of €500 ($541) for each category. This year, there were about 1,400 applications from 50 countries.
Updated: January 17, 2023, 8:08 AM