ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s like the Olympics, for photographs. Countries around the world submit their best pictures for a chance at the World Photographic Cup. A local Albuquerque photographer’s image made the cup.

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and an esteemed panel of judges determined an Albuquerque photographer’s shot is better than thousands of others. Kevin Dooley photographs local weddings, but he also takes people on “photo safaris” of Africa. “The wildlife, and photographing different tribes throughout the world has been really a special thing for me,” Dooley said.

Dooley’s passion for both the people and the animals in Africa shines through. A photograph of elephants at a watering hole in Botswana and a silhouette of Ethiopian tribal members with their weapons earned him a spot in two previous World Photographic Cups. “This is the ultimate of any award you can win as a photographer,” Dooley said. “It’s a lifetime achievement.”

Countries from around the world submit their photographer’s best images to the WPC every year. Rounds of judges carefully whittle the thousands of submissions down into the final top 10. “I’m in the top 10 category right now,” Dooley said.

Dooley’s latest work caught the eye of the world for a third time with an image of an Ethiopian cattle herder finishing up an overnight watch. “They have to stay out with the cattle all night because there’s a lot of predators that come in and may hurt the cattle,” Dooley said.

He says cattle are a source of great importance and happiness to many Ethiopian tribes and he hopes his image does his subjects justice on the world stage. “That was this man’s riches, where some of us might have a thick bank account or a fancy car or whatever is important to us, these people are so amazing and they find such happiness in such simpler things in my opinion,” Dooley said.

Dooley and the rest of Team USA will travel to Italy in March for the World Photographic Cup Awards Ceremony. There, the winners will be announced.