| RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2008. Photograph taken by Jolyan Turrall. |
Anyone attending the 'RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2008', would be forgiven for considering the gallery of images on display were those of a professional wildlife photographer. But the images all belonged to the excited youngsters that were charging about the prestigious space of the New Armouries at HM Tower of London.
The event, now in it's 18th year, sponsored by Olympus for the last 16 years is continually growing and attracts thousands of entries throughout the UK and Ireland, with the aim of encouraging young people's interest in photography and show their appreciation and understanding of the animals around them.
The awards were presented by keen photographer and past Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker. He was equally impressed with the quality and standard of the images.
| Matt Baker with Molly Armiger. Taken by Jolyan Turrall. |
"You would never guess the age of the photographers just by looking at the images, an important point is that these images have not been manipulated, they are straight out of the camera."
Matt Baker compared these young photographers with his early experiences of photography: "I remember my first camera, I wondered; 'what can I do with this?' Digital photography has made photography so much more accessible to younger photographers." A sentiment that was mentioned by many at the award ceremony. Matt concluded: "These photographers are learning by trial and error which is made possible by digital."
One of wildlife photographys great exponents, Ernie Janes FRPS, was present at the ceremony in his capacity, as one of the judges of the competition. He was equally impressed by this years images.
"When judging a junior competition you consider making allowances for the age of entrants, but it was soon clear there was no need for any such allowances."
I asked Ernie Janes how the panel decided on the overall winner. "The winner was a unanimous decision for the judges, it stood out straight away. The connection between photographer and subject was clear and that added so much to the image."
|Winning image by Molly Armiger. |
There were many commendations and these all received a print of their image from co-sponsors 'Warners Midland'. While each category winner were presented with a trophy and Olympus camera equipment.
The competition's overall winner was Molly Armiger with her image of a Long-tailed tit. Molly had seen the competition in a magazine and decided on a single image from the recent sequence of shots.
"I took a few photos of the bird, it was if it was posing for the camera, it allowed me to take some pictures and as soon as I stopped, it flew away."
Molly has followed her Father and Grandfather's interest in photography. Molly, aged 11, said she started taking pictures when she was really young! Starting with disposable cameras. She was over the moon with winning: "I now have a big camera like my Dad's and I can't wait to use it."
The lasting and re-occurring observation from those at the event was that the future of photography is very bright.
Words by Jolyan Turrall.