The British Life Photography Awards, open to both amateur and professional photographers, is perhaps one of the strongest competitions in the photography calendar. We take a look at some of the outstanding entries from the second British Life Photography Awards.
The brief is simple: present to the judges an imaginative and contemporary illustration of British life. There are a variety of categories on offer, ranging from Rural Life and Street Life through to British Weather and Historic Britain. You can take a look at the category winners as well as the highly commended shots at www.blpawards.org and find details of the next competition.
In the meantime, the images on the following pages will hopefully inspire you to get outside and see what you can find right on your doorstep.
British Life Awards: Portfolio 2 is published by Dewi Lewis, priced £24. An exhibition to showcase the competition is being held in Banbury Museum in Oxfordshire from 25 March–9 July
Overall Winner and Brits on Holiday Winner: ‘Past Present, Stonehenge, Wiltshire’
Elena Marimon Munoz
‘The picture shows the sunrise at Stonehenge in Wiltshire during the summer solstice festival,’ says Elena.
‘By the time the sun started to rise above the stones, hundreds, if not thousands, of people had gathered inside the stone circle, with phones
and cameras up in the air ready to record the magical moment. I wanted to capture the mixture of ancient history and modern technology, fused together – past and present.
Credit: Elena Marimon Munoz - With thanks to English Heritage
Brits on Holiday Highly Commended: ‘Very Little Helps’
Paul Anthony Wilson
‘A visit to the seaside can often be marred by the weather,’ says Paul. ‘Some people, however, are determined to brave the elements. I saw these two holidaymakers making the best of a wet day on Scarborough’s promenade in North Yorkshire. Perhaps this will catch on as a way of recycling used carrier bags.’
Credit: Paul Anthony Wilson
Urban Overall Winner: ‘Morning Fog over Tower Bridge, London
In this hugely atmospheric shot, we see a familiar scene for anyone making the daily trudge through central London. An early morning fog envelops Tower Bridge as commuters make their way to work. Nick caught this image in March 2014 armed with his trusty Fujifilm X100S and 23mm lens.
Credit: Nick Isden
Portraiture Overall Winner: ‘George, Packington Estate, Islington, London’
‘This is George, 84, at his flat on the Packington Estate,’ says Claudia. ‘He shared it with his sister Doris, who now lives in a care home. George was moved to new accommodation as part of a regeneration programme. This image is part of an installation challenging prejudice about people living in council estates and explores the sense of loss and gain that irreversible changes bring with it.’
Credit: Claudia Janke
Portraiture Highly Commended: ‘Nicola and Jemima’
‘This portrait was shot for “One Day Young”, a series of portraits of women taken at home within 24 hours of the birth of their child,’ says Jenny. ‘It’s a moment usually only seen by the family, kept in a family album, but I wanted to capture this strength and beauty of the women in their triumph over the challenges of birth. The series is there to support and empower women. I shot 150 subjects over five years, so the sequence of faces becomes a soothing voice to help balance and dilute the fear of birth.’
Credit: Jenny Lewis
Portraiture Highly Commended: ‘Notting Hill Carnival’
‘It was my second day in London and I was living close to Notting Hill,’ says Sara. ‘I didn’t know anything about this event, but I heard the music from my room and I went out with my camera to check what was going on. It was crazy out there. I stood on someone else’s doorstep and started to shoot from above. I saw this girl approaching, so I waited for her, took the shot and then went back to the crowded street.’
Credit: Sara Nicomedi
Portraiture Highly Commended: ‘Polly and Stuart Pearson Wright’
‘The project “Hackney Studio” began as a celebration of the creatives in the borough,’ says Jenny. ‘Two years and more than 80 subjects later, it feels more like an obituary for an area. Half the artists have since moved out of Hackney, so I realise I am capturing the end of a specific time.’
Credit: Jenny Lewis
British Weather Highly Commended: ‘The Chapel and the Sea’
‘I have photographed the tiny St Cwyfan’s chapel [in Anglesey] many times, but always wanted to see it in a storm, with the sea breaking over the causeway that links the tiny island to the mainland at low water,’ says Graham. ‘During a major storm I tried to photograph it with a wideangle lens, near to the island, but with so much spray my equipment was instantly covered with it. So I retreated to a higher, inland viewpoint, and took this image with a long lens. The chapel was illuminated by the sun for about 30 seconds, but this added scale to the enormous waves that were battering the coast.’
Credit: Graham Eaton
Rural Life Highly Commended: ‘Burning the Heather, North Yorkshire Moors’
Paul Anthony Wilson
‘While travelling towards Middlesbrough on the North York Moors I noticed huge plumes of smoke billowing into the air,’ says Paul. ‘It turned out to be controlled heather burning. Carried out between April and October, this activity stimulates new growth, therefore providing good grazing for sheep and an ideal habitat for wild birds. I placed the “beater” in the bottom corner to provide scale and show the enormity of the scene.’
Credit: Paul Anthony Wilson
Rural Life Highly Commended: ‘Best in Show, Ewelme, Oxfordshire’
‘Clearly, the quite extraordinary cabbages could easily have been the subject of this picture,’ says Mark, ‘but I wanted to try to capture something of the simple, timeless tradition of the local horticultural show, and the couple looking at the carrots under the bunting helped to do that for me.’
Credit: Mark Harrison
Rural Life Winner: ‘Blown Washing, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland’
‘Washing drying on a blustery day next to a croft on South Harris in the Outer Hebrides,’ says Steve. ‘I spotted this while driving along the Golden Road on the east coast of Harris. I jumped out of the car on the single-track road to catch the backlit scene before the sun disappeared behind the clouds.’
Credit: Steve Morgan
Rural Life Highly Commended: The Wedding Day’
‘Here’s to love and laughter and happily ever after’ is written on the board behind this family. Here we see the newly married Daisy and Jonni with their son, Woody. It’s a strong scene with the balance of the parents on the left and right added to by the floating balloons above their heads. Removing the colour from the scene also means there is one less element to distract from the body language and facial expressions that viewers are free to interpret as they wish.
Credit: Chrissie Westgate
Portraiture Highly Commended: ‘Tiger Rose’
The singer and performer Tiger Rose contacted me to do the portraits for
her new music/performance CD,’ says Maurizio. ‘We did these photographs inside a restaurant we found in the area of Brick Lane, London. I only used the light available in the dining room – the ambient spotlight was perfect. It was almost like we were in a theatre.’
Credit: Maurizio Melozzi