London’s Victoria and Albert Museum played host to the Mencap Snap! photo awards last Friday night as Mencap and sponsor, Fujifilm, gave out a total of 36 gold, bronze and silver awards to entrants in six categories. Winners received prizes of Fujifilm cameras from stars of screen and theatre including TV’s Lynda Bellingham and Eastenders’ Kellie Shirley (Carly Wicks), and saw their photographs go on display at the historic museum. All 36 images will remain on display at the V&A for one month.
Snap! is a competition open to people with a learning disability, their friends and families and is organised by UK learning disability charity Mencap. Started five years ago it has grown in reputation, now attracting entries from as far afield as Europe and America. Each photo entered is accompanied by a story giving a rare insight into the world of learning disability. This year’s entries, spread across six categories, were judged by a panel including representatives from Fujifilm, The Photographers’ Gallery and The Sorrell Foundation.
Gold award winners were presented with Fujifilm’s FinePix S6500fd super-zoom digital camera, whilst silver winners received a FinePix F31fd and bronze the FinePix A800.
Commenting on the occasion, Fujifilm’s HR Director, David Satchell said, "I attended the Snap! awards with our Managing Director, Mr. Saigusa, and staff representatives. We were all overwhelmed with the level of photographic talent and the insight that was evident in all of the photographs, and I know the judges had a very tough time this year in selecting just 36 shots for special praise. The evening was hugely enjoyable, and often charged with the emotion of sharing the pure joy of the recipients and their relatives in the recognition of their efforts. This is the second Snap! ceremony I have attended and as before I and my colleagues felt truly privileged in being able to share in such a special event. I would urge anyone to go along to the V&A to take a look at the exhibition. I only hope that the wonderful experience of the awards ceremony, and their new Fujifilm cameras, will help the winners go on to take even more photographs - and that they will continue to be joined by others in taking part in this truly worthwhile event. The 2008 Mencap Calendar, which is made up of Snap! photographs, is entitled Through My Eyes - How appropriate."
Dame Jo Williams, Chief Executive of Mencap said, “The support Mencap has received from Fujifilm over the past decade has been tremendous. By providing such wonderful prizes for Snap! Fujifilm is helping a whole new generation of photographers to develop their talents and open up the world of learning disability to new audiences.”