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Behind the scenes with our first ever Young Amateur Photographer of the Year winners!

February 1, 2022

The inaugural Young Amateur Photographer of the Year was so closely fought that we had joint winners. We find out more about both impressive photographers


In 2021, we launched the first Young Amateur Photographer of the Year (Young APOY) competition, which attracted more than 3,000 entries from 885 photographers from across the world. The standard was excellent, and the competition ended up being closely fought by two photographers – Muhammad Amdad Hossain from Bangladesh, and Lucy Monckton, from England.

While Muhammad won two categories outright – Travel and Black & White – Lucy was shortlisted in all ten categories, which was quite the achievement. Astonishingly, the final result was that they tied in first place, sharing the £500 MPB voucher for overall winner between them. They each achieved 510 points – 160 points ahead of their third-placed rival. Here, we find out more about their photography and how they went about tackling the competition.

Muhammad Amdad Hossain, Bangladesh

Muhammad Amdad Hossain young amateur photographer of the year 2021 winner

Muhammad is 21 years old and lives in a village near Chittagong, Bangladesh. He is in the final year of studying political science at Chittagong College, part of the National University of Bangladesh.

What camera kit do you use?

I use a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and DJI Mavic Air 2 drones, with a selection of lenses, including the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM, and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM Art.

When and why did you start taking photographs?

I developed an interest in the art of photography as a child, but at that time I didn’t have access to a DSLR. At the beginning, I took pictures with my mobile phone, but I soon realised I needed something more sophisticated. So, in 2016, I bought my first camera and thanks to a loan from a rural NGO and the support of my parents, I started taking pictures.

What are your favourite photographic subjects?

Travel and documentary photography are my areas of interest, and I have a particular fascination for portrait photography. Travel and photography go hand in hand. Being a photography enthusiast, I have been travelling near and far to capture interesting human stories for the past few years, exploring and documenting a range of different aspects of human life. Capturing the human element is always key to my photography, and through my photos, I want to share my unique perspective and experience.

Kishoreganj, Bangladesh by Muhammad Amdad Hossain young amateur photographer of the year 2021 winner

Kishoreganj, Bangladesh. Unseasonal rain has worsened the floods in this region, and several villages have been submerged. The people in these areas have lost their only crops

I strongly believe in the power of photography to change people’s perspective towards social changes and issues. My photographic journey is not only to capture the social, political and financial issues and conflicts, but also to portray the artistic beauty and enduring power of the human spirit. I am on an endless journey of documenting the untold human stories through my lens. I don’t know if or when this unquenchable thirst will come to an end!

Why is photography so special to you?

Its immediacy means it’s possible to portray one’s country to outside audiences.

Describe the first good photograph you remember taking

My first good photograph was of an aeroplane against the moon in the sky during the day.

Hindu devotees worship and pray by Muhammad Amdad Hossain young amateur photographer of the year 2021 winner

Hindu devotees worship and pray to gods in front of Shri Shri Lokenath Brahmachari Ashram temple during the Kartik Brati fast

How much time do you spend taking pictures?

Over the past two years I’ve made time to go out to take pictures as often as possible, and to spend as much time as I can on the subject. More recently, I’ve been able to go out of town with a group of others for photography trips. I travel as widely as I can within Bangladesh.

How did Covid affect your photography?

Fortunately, it didn’t have too much of an impact on my photography, because I was able to carry on taking pictures even during such a difficult time. I regularly submitted photographs to competitions all over the world.

Did you shoot anything specifically for the competition?

I didn’t shoot anything specifically for the competition section, instead choosing images from my existing library.

by Muhammad Amdad Hossain young amateur photographer of the year 2021 winner

Many homeless people in Dhaka have lost their homes due to frequent floods. They live by working as street hawkers, labourers, and doing other odd jobs

What did you learn from entering Young APOY?

It gave me the chance to look at many excellent pictures by a wide range of photographers, and I also made a point of looking up the websites and portfolios of the judges.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to enter Young APOY this year?

My advice to anyone would be to think carefully about the theme of each category, and make sure your images are appropriate to it. Give yourself plenty of time to upload your entries before the final deadline.

What was your reaction when you found out you’d won?

Extremely happy, of course, and it has inspired me to do even better in the future.

drone photography of cattle by Muhammad Amdad Hossain young amateur photographer of the year 2021 winner

Cattle appear to outnumber people as they are sold at a market in Mithachora, Chittagong. They are sold for between £500 and £2,000

What did you buy with your prize voucher?

I bought a 30mm f/1.4 lens and a DJI Osmo 4 gimbal, as well as some memory cards.

What are your plans for the future?

I have a lot of plans for my photography. One ambition in particular is to create a number of photo stories that people around the world will recognise and remember for a lifetime.


Lucy Monckton, England

Lucy Monckton young amateur photographer of the year 2021 winner

Lucy is 16 years old and is studying for A-levels in Psychology, Economics and Religious Studies.

What camera kit do you use?

A Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a borrowed Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens. For macro I have a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM – I usually attach the Raynox DCR-250 for very small subjects.

When did you start taking photographs?

I was around nine years old and my primary school announced a photography competition with the theme of ‘Garden’. After coming first out of about ten contestants, I was hooked.

What are your favourite photographic subjects?

I have always loved wildlife and macro, but entering Young APOY opened my eyes to other genres I had never considered, such as street photography. I felt deeply uncomfortable with the concept of photographing strangers, but I knew I would have to try. It was terrifying, but worth it.

seal pup by lucy monckton

A seal pup from the largest colony in the UK in Horsey, Norfolk. This one was very confident and curious, and excited to see people

Which photographers inspire you?

On a school trip to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in 2016, I was amazed by the photographs in the young category, particularly the winning shot in the 11 to 14-year-old category – an image of a fox taken by Ashleigh Scully. I remember thinking that if someone so close to my age could take such an amazing photo, then why couldn’t I give it a go?

Three years later, in 2019, I went on a trip to Svalbard, in the Arctic Circle. It was there that I met Oddgeir Sagerup, who guided us on an expedition to find and photograph Arctic foxes. He is a fantastic photographer and taught me so much in such a short amount of time.

Why is photography so special to you?

In 2018 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. There were days I felt unable to do anything, but I would force myself to go into the garden to photograph insects, and would instantly feel revitalised.

Describe the first really good photograph you remember taking

It was an image of a butterfly perched on a purple flower in 2018. It was the first photograph I entered into Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and I was delighted to get through to the final round of judging – and I have done every year since.

Crystallised ice on the edge of a leaf by Lucy Monckton young amateur photographer of the year winner

Crystallised ice on the edge of a leaf, lit by the setting sun

How much time do you spend taking pictures?

The majority of my photos are completely unplanned. Some of my most successful photos, such as the bee crawling out of a flower that was placed fifth in the last round of Young APOY, are spur-of-the-moment photographs. With that one, in between online lessons, I took a break and grabbed my camera with the aim of photographing jumping spiders. However, out of the corner of my eye I spotted this drowsy bee, and it ended up being the difference between runner-up and joint winner in the competition.

Do you travel a lot for your photography?

My dream is to travel a lot in the future for my photography. So far, I have done two notable trips – Svalbard and one more recent trip to Norfolk to photograph seals. Travel restrictions allowing, I am hoping to be able to go to Finland this summer to photograph grizzly bears.

How did Covid affect your photography?

Lockdown didn’t affect my photography too much, as the bulk of my portfolio is taken in my garden. In fact, spending more time at home inspired me to learn more techniques such as focus stacking.

tiny bubbles that formed in an ice puddle by lucy monckton young amateur photographer of the year winner

A macro of tiny bubbles that formed in an ice puddle over winter

How did you go about choosing which images to enter?

There were two categories for which I realised I had almost no entries – street and travel. For the travel category, I went to Newlyn fishing port in Cornwall to photograph the fishermen. For the street category, I visited a market while on holiday in Mallorca, and it was there I took the image of a leather craftsman that ended up placing fourth.

What did you learn from entering Young APOY?

Placing fourth in the first category (Black & White) spurred me on, and as each round went by I found my confidence growing. The most important lesson I learned was not to underestimate myself.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to enter Young APOY this year?

Plan ahead and make notes to figure out where you need to shoot new material. Remember that each point counts and enter each round – no matter whether you think you have a chance or not.

backlit ladybird

A ladybird backlit by the light of the setting sun filtering in through Lucy’s sitting room window

What was your reaction when you found out you’d won?

Disbelief! It still hasn’t sunk in. My mother immediately burst into tears, and my father got carried away choosing an extraordinary range of different ‘celebratory’ emojis for the family group WhatsApp chat.

What did you buy with your prize voucher?

I am still undecided, but it will probably be a tripod. My trusty Amazon Basics £9.99 tripod has served me incredibly well but is definitely nearing the end of its life.

What are your plans for the future?

It would be a dream come true to have photography as my career. If I could inspire one person in the way that some of my favourite photographers have inspired me, then one of my major goals would be complete. I would especially like to encourage more young girls to pick up a camera – photography is such a male-dominated industry, but things are changing and I am confident it won’t remain this way.


Young Amateur Photographer of the Year 2022

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2022 is now OPEN!

Once again, young people aged 21 and under are invited to submit their images to the Young Amateur Photographer of the Year competition. Entry is free!

ENTER YOUNG AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2022 HERE


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