Fanshawe faculty member wins national photography award

Artist rendering of a tree. CREDIT: TREVOR POTTELBERG
Pottelberg has also won the provincial Photographic Artist of the Year award, as well as a number of best-in-class awards at both the provincial and national level.

A school of Contemporary Media faculty member and Fanshawe graduate has been awarded with the title of Photographic Artist of the Year from the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC).

Trevor Pottelberg, a professor of photography at Fanshawe, received the award at the PPOC’s national exhibition on April 22, which celebrates the best of Canadian photography. The PPOC, according to its mission statement, strives “To qualify and support photographers to become industry leaders and to inform the public of the value in hiring an Accredited Professional Photographer.”

“I’m still on cloud nine right now after finding out that I won this coveted award,” Pottelberg said. “It’s like winning a Juno in the photography world.”

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Pottelberg, who has been with the PPOC for nine years, has also won the Photographic Artist of the Year award for Ontario, along with a number of best-in-class awards at both a provincial and national level.

When taking the photos that were responsible for his win, Pottelberg said that he knew what he had was a “keeper.”

“I’ve entered the National Image Salon Competition each year and have learned so much from watching the judging. I usually know when I get a ‘keeper’ image during the year, and I typically flag it as a candidate for my competition entry,” he explained. “It’s one of those gut feelings you get when the image pops up on the back of the camera and you say to yourself, ‘This one is definitely going into the Nationals.’”

He kept that confidence in his work when he submitted his work, as he had been nominated for the National Photographic Artist of the Year award several times before, but unfortunately came up short.

“I had a different feeling this year though. When the competition was over, I felt like this was my year to win it. I had scored very well on all four of my entries and had a wide variety of subject matter. I entered into four separate categories which made it very challenging, but super rewarding at the same time.”

Pottelberg has been a professional photographer for the past 23 years, graduating from Fanshawe’s photography program with a two-year diploma in photography and a one-year diploma in advanced photography. In that time, he developed his style, to where now people can recognize his work before reading his name.

“I take great pride in knowing that my work is at a high enough level to compete against some of the best photographers in the Nation. I don't live in an area where images are there for the taking. I can't just walk out the door and photograph mountains or free roaming caribou.”

As for what’s next, Pottelberg has his sights set on the World Photographic Cup (WPC). He represented Canada on the international level in 2021, but hasn’t made it to the finals yet. He also plans to encourage more students to enter the PPOC competitions, as it's great experience for a young photographer.

“I love being able to share my passion and knowledge with my photography students. A few years ago, some of my Fanshawe students took home all of the Student Awards in the show. This was a proud moment and one that I'll never forget!”

Pottelberg’s photos can be viewed on the PPOC website at