Bucks-based photographer Paul Wilkinson has picked up a prestigious professional national portraiture title with a ‘highly unusual’ family photograph.
In the black and white riverside shot of a Surrey-based family of three, the only face to camera is that of the parents’ seven month old baby daughter.
Wilkinson (40) who runs the Paul Wilkinson Photography Studio in Haddenham, near Aylesbury, seized the BPPA UK Parent and Child Photographer of the Year award with the image – and his win comes only seven months after he joined the MPA. “It’s the first awards competition I have ever entered
” said Wilkinson, “I’m still reeling – it’s all a bit surreal.
He added: “My Grandad first gave me a camera when I was seven – and I couldn’t put it down. I have just turned 40 but at heart I am still that seven year old with a burning passion for taking pictures.
Simon John, chairman of the BPPA judging panel said: “This unusual image caused some very lively discussion amongst the judges. We liked how the photographer used space to draw the viewer into the expression of the baby. There’s an interesting use of contrast against such a soft subject. The panel also liked the ‘thrown focus' and the gritty feel to the photograph, shot in an illustrative style.
Award-winning Scottish photographer Trevor Yerbury, who once won an award with a portrait shot of comedian Ronnie Corbett with his back to camera, added: “It is very rare indeed for a photographer to win a national award with a photograph that predominantly shows backs of heads. But this is a unique and totally compelling image. It speaks volumes, yet is silent and profound.
He added: “This was an interesting choice by the BPPA panel and it will help push the creative boundaries in social portraiture. It moves us away from the blandness of white backgrounds.
The winning black and white image shows Egham-based couple Richard and Shannon Banks with their daughter, Maddy.
Said Shannon, a leadership development manager at Microsoft: “We asked Paul to shoot some family pictures down by the river. He said he wanted to try something a little different and took this shot as we rested on a park bench. He really captured the moment with this image – and we are both thrilled that he has won a major award with it.
Wilkinson also picked up two other awards at the BPPA, Newcastle upon Tyne event: Best MPA Licentiate Panel 2008 and an Award of Excellence in the Classical Portrait category.