The Scottish Press Photographer of the Year Awards are a pivotal feature in the creative calendar as photographers throughout Scotland vie for recognition.
His previous Photographer of the Year wins were in 1994, 1997 and 1998.
Rutherford also collected the award for Picture Essay of the Year, and was highly commended in Sports Photographer of the Year.
Chairman of the judges, former Fleet Street picture editor Ken Lennox said: “Ian’s images show tremendous range across news, sport and features – a great set of pictures. He’s consistent, patient, poetic, observant and a complete perfectionist. A very worthy winner in a strong category.”
Lifetime Achievement award winner, Denis Straughan, who worked with Rutherford at The Scotsman, added, “Ian is one of the best photographers I’ve ever known.”
Other award winners included Features Photographer of the Year Donald MacLeod, of The Scotsman.
Sunday Mail/freelance photographer Mark Anderson’s shot of Coldplay front man Chris Martin asleep on a Scottish ferry, won him the Celebrity Picture of the Year category.
Newspaper of the Year went to the Sunday Herald, with The Daily Record also highly commended in the Newspaper category.
Two titles tied for Magazine/Supplement of the Year: The Herald and Sunday Times Ecosse.
Freelancer, Ian MacNicol was named Sports Photographer of the Year, while freelance photographer Tom Main won Sports Picture of the Year.
Andrew Milligan from the Press Association won two categories: News Picture of the Year for an image of Vicki Hamilton’s father being restrained by police as Peter Tobin leaves court charged with her murder; and the Open category with an amusing shot of a young Highland cow in the snow. John McIntyre was awarded Local Photographer of the Year, with Stevenson College’s Claire Cox winning the Student Photographer prize.
All winning and highly commended images will be available for viewing on www.scottishppa.com. Sponsor First ScotRail is arranging to showcase the winners at railway stations and other venues in Scotland.
Mary Dickson, managing director of First ScotRail, said: “We hope that the Scottish public will enjoy viewing these photographs as much as we have. I would like to congratulate everyone and thank them for supporting the awards.”