Cumbria-based photographer Mark Littlejohn was at a café in Tynemouth when he received news that he had triumphed in the 2014 Landscape Photographer of the Year competition.

For a while, he struggled to take in the information – which was relayed in a phone call from the contest’s founder Charlie Waite, one of the world’s most highly respected landscape photographers.

Charlie told Mark that his image of a stream after heavy rain, dwarfed by Glencoe, had eclipsed thousands of other entries to take the £10,000 top prize.

‘I suppose all I can say is that I just felt pure joy,’ said Mark, who described the moment in the café as a ‘surreal experience’.

‘When you enter the competition, you hope against hope that you get an image in the book and you can’t really consider the possibility that you will win.’

Commenting on the winning shot, Charlie Waite said: ‘Mark discovered and isolated a fleeting moment of beauty within a vast and slightly threatening arena.

‘The composition compels us to visually explore the image, and its delicacy and understatement are enormously satisfying.

‘I am very much looking forward to seeing the subtle colours and painterly textures of the scene in the large- exhibition print.’

This year’s Young Landscape Photographer of the Year was named as Sam Rielly, for his b&w shot of his mother walking in Anglesey.

The best images from the competition are due to go on show at Waterloo Station in London from 1 December.

The exhibition runs until 31 January 2015.

A Beginning and an End, Glencoe, Scotland
Photo credit: Mark Littlejohn

  • stu8

    Every monkey with a camera these days is automatically a pro. you just look on facebook photography pages and every one out has to put a damn “blah blah photography” watermark on their images, i bet half these fb monkeys have never even taken one photography course in their lives, but when CC their images they get their backs up and call you names because you spoke the truth about their crappy child like work.

  • chris

    Well, ‘aint life a Bitch!

  • chris

    I just knew I should have kept those Kodachrome packets!

  • KawikaNui

    Totally agree about the right to dissent. The problem here is that your dissent has been expressed in a most snarky and condescending manner. Or, as you put it, “pejorative and scathing comments.”

  • KawikaNui

    “If you disagree, just accept and move on!”
    And when do you intend to do that yourself?

  • KawikaNui

    “Neither am I in competition with anybody.”
    Right. Your posts here reek of the worst sort of competitive attitude.

  • Steven Dale

    Leaving aside the controversy there are several questions this image and the competition give rise to (at least in my mind): 1. What exactly makes a good landscape image – or is it impossible to answer that one? 2. Are competitions that charge for entry illegitimate – what about the cost of the prizes, printing the winners, exhibitions and book – who would cover those costs? 3. The use or not of effects – photographers have always manipulated their images (printing is in and of itself a manipulation as is the choice of film or digital and what lens you use, plus filters… the list goes on). What’s wrong with using an iPhone (other smartphones are available!) or even a disposable camera for that matter? Is there anything wrong with using software filters?

    Answers on a used Kodachrome packet please!

  • chris

    sELF, I am glad you are not a fawning follower, that wasn’t meant to be a bitter remark just an observation and sweeping generalisation. I assumed your comment perhaps had me in mind being, perhaps, the most vociferous in criticism. I really don’t like this modern trend of being branded a troll or some other malcontent if you disagree, criticise or hold a contrary view. People should have the right to express their contrary views openly and without recrimination. It is fundamental to a free and open society. Personally, I actually am quite happy and comfortable with my own work as a photographer. I have nothing to complain or moan about. Next time sELF, and there will be a next time, I will endeavour to be more creative, original and inventive in my pejorative and scathing comments.

  • Chris, why did you presume that I was referring to you when I mentioned the embittered minority? It was a test to see if you saw yourself in that light. By the way, I’m not a fawning follower. That sounds like a bitter remark on your part. I like originality in artistic expression. Regarding your contribution as another trolling, moaning photographer: Well, I find that not to be the most original of creative contributions. Now don’t take this the wrong way 😎

  • chris

    Better an embittered minority than a Fawning Follower!

    Just because you disagree with something doesn’t mean you are embittered or indeed anything negative. One should be able openly express one’s conviction freely and without recourse and redress. It’s called Freedom! Freedom of speech and thought. If you disagree, just accept and move on!

    I am not embittered, just disappointed over the judging. It will be interesting to see what the consensus view is!

  • Michelle Keyte

    If it were a great photograph, no explanation as to what it is would be needed.

  • I like the photograph. I’m not sure its colours are reproduced perfectly here. Great to see an image that goes beyond the tired and the fomulaic

  • Wolfe Leon Fox

    Now I have an idea what kind of photos win.

  • astispumanti

    I have some difficulty in seeing this as a landscape photo – perhaps because I’m unfamiliar with the landscape portrayed. When I first saw the image I thought it was an abstract painting that someone had slashed and even now that I know that it is a swollen stream after rain in the mountains, I can’t actually “see” that that is what it is – and if I can’t relate to it as “landscape” can it be defined as such? There does seem to be a desperate search in competition juries for images that are “different”, just as in awards for black and white photography there seems to be a search for gloom and despondency.

  • chris

    Good for you George! I hope there is many more to come!

  • Guest

    My image got commended in the competition, I’ve already made sales on it worth more than I paid to enter! I’m doing alright thanks!

  • Martin Gillman

    Congratulations Mark .. excellent work. Martin

  • chris

    “it’s not a purple sunset, creamy water and some other ‘landscape drivell’ – it’s raw and different”

    So how many photographers have you dissed there? And professional ones too! At least I didn’t call this image “drivel”.

  • chris

    7 images for £25. How many people do you think enter? 3000, 7000, 10000? Lets call the number of entries “x”

    £25 multiplied by “x” = (You do the maths).

    Someone I think is making a tidy little mint at YOUR expense. All in the desperate hopes of winning.

    I am criticising the competition and judges and not necessarily the images.

  • Edward Marshall

    “This photo looks like it was taken on an iPhone and processed in Snapseed. And Look! Those colours! They look so natural”

    I’m just going to leave this here…

  • George Johnson

    Your opinions on the image aside, I didn’t think the prices were that bad, 7 images for £25 quid when you consider most notable international competitions are usually £15-£20 per image to enter. There are plenty of free to enter, sponsored competitions out there.

  • chris

    No sour grapes. I didn’t enter the competition. I am not going to line the nest of the competition owners. Nice little earner it must be.

    In a free and open society I am quite entitled to my opinion subjective as it may be. If you don’t like it, well that’s freedom for you. I am not one to be shouted down or berated by others just because they have a contrary view.

    I wasn’t really “dissing” the image, its a good image. I was “dissing” the competition.

  • pete

    Nice photo, and kind of eerie too. Well done.

  • Paul Grundy

    I print a lot of Mark’s work for him and I can tell you he is an
    exceptional photographer. As Craig has said he is out in all weathers,
    at many an unsocial hour and thouroughly deserves this win. Whether you
    like the image or not is a subjective opinion but to try and imply it is
    not a worthy winner smacks of nothing more than sour grapes. Hold your
    tongue and learn some manners.

  • Craig Richards

    Personally I think it’s amazing that you state you don’t need to validate your work, but you e found time to diss another photographers work.

    I think this is an exceptional photograph – it’s not a purple sunset, creamy water and some other ‘landscape drivell’ – it’s raw and different.

    Mark is cracking photographer, out in all weathers, good and bad. Most of his work comes from the hip, spurr of the moment images which is what makes him stand out in a very saturated industry.

  • Nick Parker

    Cool story bro

  • chris

    No need, I don’t participate in money grabbing photography competitions. Neither am I insecure enough to have my own work validated by anyone. Neither am I in competition with anybody. I am quite happy in what I do. My own work isn’t in question, and yes, I think I have a number of photos better than this and so have a hundred thousand other photogs. If you see Mr. Waite’s work, you won’t see anything as faux as this.

  • Nick Parker

    Feel free to go out and take a better photo and post it here

  • chris

    First the Glasgow tenements photo and now this! This photo looks like it was taken on an iPhone and processed in Snapseed. And Look! Those colours! They look so natural.

    The competition must be a nice little earner though!

  • Nick Parker


  • chris

    This competition has lost all credibility.

  • Tony Bennett

    Well done Mark. A worthy winner

    Best wishes

    Tony Bennett
    2013 LPOTY Winner