Announcing the Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards 2022

Announcing the Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards 2022

15th February 2022

Today, Abbey Road Studios announces the inaugural Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards 2022 in association with Hennessy - the first ever awards to celebrate the art of music photography.

The MPAs will recognise the year’s most unforgettable, unique and unsung music moments and the varied and talented photographers who captured them. The winners will be unveiled and celebrated at an official MPAs ceremony in May 2022, hosted at Abbey Road Studios.


Over its extensive 90-year history, Abbey Road Studios has served as home to the legends who defined music history and shaped popular culture.

The Studios have remained a consistent space of innovation and creativity, with a legacy that extends beyond music, through images that have immortalised artists and producers. This includes perhaps the most iconic album cover in music history – four men walking on a zebra crossing.

In celebration of Abbey Road’s 90th anniversary, the MPAs will honour the images that capture the magic of live music, the creative process, and the exciting music scenes and movements taking place across the world. The awards will recognise photographers at all levels - whether established, emerging or undiscovered – via open-entry categories as well as categories chosen by an esteemed judging panel made up of artists, photographers and influential names across the global music and photography industries.

Abbey Road Studios invites professional and emerging photographers from all around the world to enter the four open-entry categories titled Studio, Live, Championing Scenes and the Undiscovered Photographer of the Year, while the judging panel will choose one of these entries for the Zeitgeist award. These categories can be entered by photographers at all stages of their career via the official MPAs website.

Alongside these are four invited category awards, with the nominees and winners chosen by the official judging panel - made up of photographers, artists and experts within the music and photography industries. The official MPAs judging panel will nominate, debate and award these categories - each bringing to the table their own creative eye and expertise of the global music and photography industries. The invited categories are titled: Icon, Portrait, Editorial and Artist at Work.

Detailed info about each category can be found here: MPA.PHOTO.


Helming the inaugural Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards 2022 judging panel is legendary photographer, publisher and film director Rankin.

Alongside a globally successful career as a photographer and director, Rankin established himself in the publishing world as co-founder of seminal title Dazed & Confused, with Jefferson Hack, in 1991. Since then, Rankin has published titles including AnOther, AnOther Man and the biannual fashion and culture print and digital platform, Hunger, alongside more than 40 books.

Rankin’s career has seen him work seamlessly across both fashion and music - directing and shooting music videos for the likes of Miley Cyrus, Rita Ora and Kelis and shooting portraits of everyone from David Bowie to The Rolling Stones and The Queen. His photography has been published globally in titles including Vogue, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone and exhibited in galleries globally.

Joining Rankin is legendary music photographer and Rockarchive founder Jill Furmanovsky. Jill’s unparalleled 50-year career has seen her photograph many of the biggest names in rock music including Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Blondie, The Police, Led Zeppelin, The Pretenders, Bob Dylan, and Oasis and many more. Jill has also directed videos for Oasis and The Pretenders, published a number of successful music photography books (including 2021 Sunday Times best seller Oasis at Knebworth) and notably worked as Abbey Road Studios’ photographer in residence from 2017 to 2018.

Ground-breaking Ghanaian-American singer, writer and multidisciplinary creative Moses Sumney will be joining the official judging panel. Since first emerging in 2014 with his debut EP, Moses has received consistent critical praise across the board for not only his music, but his dynamic live performances and visuals as well. Most recently, Moses premiered his feature-length performance film Blackalachia at the Perez Art Museum Miami during Art Basel 2021, which was accompanied by a live album. Moses is joined by Shygirl, a multidisciplinary artist originating from the East London club scene, with a unique vision and style extending beyond the world of music and into high fashion. Beyond her genre bending and highly conceptual music, Shygirl was the centrepiece for Riccardo Tisci’s AW21 presentation and has soundtracked shows for the likes of Mugler and Savage x Fenty.

History-making American photographer and director Dana Scruggs will also join the MPAs panel this year. Dana’s incredible career has seen her break boundaries - becoming the first black person to photograph the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine in its 50-year history in 2019 and the first black female photographer to shoot an athlete for ESPN’s Body Issue, in its 10-year history. Dana’s impressive career has seen her shoot renowned names across the music industry including Megan Thee Stallion, Janelle Monae, Mariah Carey, Travis Scott and more.

Also joining the panel is Rolling Stone’s Deputy Photo Director and photographer Sacha Lecca. Sacha has worked with the storied magazine since 2007, preceded by stints at CMP Media, the Guggenheim Museum and Newsweek magazine. His photography has been featured in Rolling Stone, Huck, Whalebone, Alt Citizen, The Photographic Journal, American Photography 36, and on various album covers. Sacha also recently appeared in Icon: Music Through The Lens, a six-part television series on the history and cultural impact of music photography, on Sky Arts in the UK and PBS in the US.

Rounding off the judging panel is Abbey Road Studios’ very own MD Isabel Garvey. Named by Fast Company as one of their Most Creative People in 2019, Isabel has led a complete transformation of Abbey Road Studios since joining in 2014. During her time at Abbey Road, Isabel has been instrumental in modernising the Studios and bringing in the next generation of studio talent - with the addition of three new studios and the launch of Abbey Road’s educational branch, the Abbey Road Institute. Isabel also led the launch of Europe’s first music tech incubation programme, Abbey Road Red, which has seen over 15 successful music tech businesses graduate.

Isabel says: ‘We are thrilled to launch the first Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards. It’s an important category of photography that hasn’t been officially recognised before and I am honoured to be able to make this happen with the MPAs.

Abbey Road’s legacy has not only come from the incredible artists and records made here, but through the iconic imagery that has captured these seminal moments and transported them around the world. I am excited to work with our panel of talented judges to find and celebrate the next generation of image makers across the globe, who are shaping the way we see music.'



Zeitgeist Award
This category celebrates THE image that defines music in 2021. THE picture that makes you stop. Makes you think. Makes you feel. A visual statement of music in 2021. We look through the lens to celebrate the photograph that captured a moment in time, the mood, the spirit of the year. An image of the year in music that could be remembered for generations to come.

Championing Scenes Award (Category supported by Hennessy)
Music goes beyond a song or the artists that perform it. It’s a catalyst for the cultural communities that embody its spirit in venues and dancefloors across the globe. This award will shine a spotlight on the importance of the grassroots movements by celebrating the photographers documenting subcultural music scenes around the world.

Live Music Photography Award (Category supported by Philips)
Capturing the image that defined live music in 2021. Locked down or not, the music played on. From the undeniable electricity of a small venue, and the euphoria of a returning festival, to the intimate connection between artist and audience, these are the photographs that show us what live music means to you.

Studio Photography Award (Category supported by Bowers & Wilkins)
Exploring the process of recording music. Two creative processes at play, where music creation and the art of photography meet. The artist behind the lens and the artist in front of the lens. This category is open to photographs showcasing musicians at work and play in the studio. Images that capture the magic that happens when musicians come together to write, experiment or record.

Undiscovered Photographer of the Year (Category supported by Adidas)
Countless legends took their first steps at Abbey Road. It’s a spirit that continues today with sessions designed to inspire the next generation of artists. We now want to identify and recognise the emerging, unsung talent that exists in music photography. We want to expose the best upcoming photographers of all backgrounds forging a path in music photography. Do you have a body of work that is waiting to be discovered?

The winner of each open category will be presented with a bespoke prize.


The official MPAs judging panel will nominate, debate and award the following categories recognising outstanding work in music photography:

Portrait Photography Award
A photograph that captures the spirit, essence and personality of the artist. Stylised, conceptual or candid, it’s how the artist represents their work through visual imagery.

Editorial Photography Award
Editorial photography tells a story with images. It can take the viewer on a journey, illuminate written text, set a tone or present a highly evolved creative concept.

Artist at Work Photography Award
A defining photograph that captures a moment of creativity at work – in the studio, on stage, behind-the-scenes.

Icon Award
A special honour in recognition of a person whose impact and contribution to the art of music photography is unparalleled.

Related News