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Caithness photographer takes runner-up spot in Scottish Press Awards

By Alan Hendry

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James at the Millbank rugby ground in Thurso to cover a Caithness home game.
James at the Millbank rugby ground in Thurso to cover a Caithness home game.

Caithness freelance James Gunn says he is "really chuffed" at being named runner-up in the Sports Photographer of the Year category at the Scottish Press Awards.

He was beaten to top spot in the category by Ian MacNicol, of Getty Images, a multi-award-winning full-time professional photographer based in Glasgow.

It was the sixth time James had been shortlisted, having been runner-up in 2009 and a finalist in 2010, 2011, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

His high-quality sports images have appeared regularly in the John O'Groat Journal and Caithness Courier over the years.

James (58), who lives at Harpsdale, said he was delighted to learn of his runner-up achievement. He had submitted a portfolio of action photos covering football, rugby, surfing and cycling, all taken in Caithness and published in the local papers during 2019.

"I am really chuffed as all of the other finalists are full-time professionals covering all the major sports events in Scotland and beyond. Ian MacNicol won it last year and has done so many times before," James said.

"I could not have done this without the dedication of the sports organisations, clubs, teams, competitors, players and officials in Caithness. The time, effort and money they put into sport, year after year, is amazing and often not fully appreciated.

"It is a pleasure to capture the thrills, spills and emotions of winning or losing. I hope my photos put Caithness on the map, for a wee while at least."

Others shortlisted in the Sports Photographer of the Year category were Garry McHarg (Daily Record), Bill Murray (SNS Group Agency) and Robert Perry (European Pressphoto Agency).

The Scottish Press Awards, now in their 41st year, are organised by the Scottish Newspaper Society. The prizes will be given out at a ceremony later this year.

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