“Sensational“ was a typical adjective used by the Swiss press to describe Roger Federer’s victory in last year’s final of the Wimbledon men’s tennis tournament.
But the word could have equally applied to the photograph taken of him immediately after he received the trophy.
That picture has now earned a SFr10,000 ($8,117) award for the woman who took it, along with the title Swiss press photographer of 2003.
Siggi Bucher, who is from Zurich and works freelance for Reuters, scored a double first with her prize-winning shot.
She is the first woman to receive the award and it’s the first time a sports picture has been selected as picture of the year. Since the competition began 12 years ago, most of the winners have been in the current affairs category.
The prize-winning images, in categories ranging from current affairs to daily life in Switzerland and chosen from 1,338 photographs submitted to the jury, are currently being exhibited at the Swiss national museum in Zurich.
Bucher’s picture of an emotional Federer holding the trophy and “framed” between two Wimbledon ballboys, proves that while luck can play a part in capturing a moment on film, good photographers can create their own luck.
She says the picture did not happen by accident: “I was ready and prepared for the situation. On the eve of the men’s final, the Williams sisters had fought for the title. I was on the centre court and carefully observed the trophy ceremony and the interviews.
“That’s when I noticed the ballboys and ballgirls and how, between them, one could see the players.”
She added that although the best pictures are always visualised first, “I had no idea that Federer would burst into tears. It gave the situation added dramatic emotion.”
Described by the national museum as “an excellent barometer of what interests the Swiss”, the competition is judged by a jury of photojournalism specialists and confined to photographs published in Switzerland’s printed media. It is organised by the Bern Espace Media Foundation.
Exhibition organiser Ricabeth Steiger told swissinfo: “Apart from the winner, it’s difficult to single out any of the entries because the quality is so high.
“But one other I personally like in particular is a shot of drought conditions during last year’s hot summer which shows part of a dried up lake in canton Neuchâtel looking like a desert.”
The exhibition is in Zurich until February 29 and will later this year be staged at Geneva’s annual international book fair and at the national museum at Prangins in Switzerland’s French-language region.
swissinfo, Richard Dawson in Zurich
Zurich photographer Siggi Bucher is the first female winner of the 12-year-old Swiss press photo competition.
It is also the first time that the SFr10,000 ($8,117) prize has been awarded for a sports photograph.
The prize-winning images, in categories ranging from current affairs to daily life in Switzerland, were chosen from 1,338 photographs submitted to the jury.
Described by the national museum in Zurich as “an excellent barometer of what interests the Swiss”, the exhibition ends on February 29 and later moves to Switzerland’s French-language region.
Federer faces Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero in the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Friday.
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