At a successful awards ceremony held 16th September in the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, the Port of Tyne announced the winners of their annual Reflect Awards.
Since the competition was launched in March, over 3,000 entries were received. With a record 66% increase in people entering, the Reflect Awards have now become established as one of the region’s biggest photography competitions aimed at encouraging creativity and discovering hidden talent.
Andrew Moffat, the Port of Tyne’s Chief Executive says “We introduced the Reflect Awards, as an opportunity for everyone in the region to express their talent, energy, and creativity - as well as a means of capturing the vibrancy of the North East of England.
The competition has evolved since its inception. 2009 saw the introduction of ReflectYouth aimed at encouraging creativity amongst the under 16s. This year we have introduced ReflectFilm, in association with Northern Film & Media, to give the awards further diversity, by inviting entrants to capture the essence of the North East, on film.”
Judging ReflectYouth, the under 16s category was TV Personality Matt Baker, who has recently put on his dancing shoes to star in BBC Strictly Come Dancing. Matt was unable to attend on the night but did manage to record a special video message for the winners from the set of the One Show, he said “I was so impressed with the quality of the entries in the youth category; with so many stunning images of the North East it made me feel quite home sick.”
Matt’s winner in the Youth category was 13 year old Samuel Hood from Killingworth with his photo ‘View of Alnwick’. Samuel who suffers from arthritis said “I took up photography as a hobby to help me overcome the aches and pains and help me get out and about again; my photo of Alnwick was taken by climbing on a gate and I thought it looked better in black and white.”
Sam’s passion for photography was ignited after his Granddad suggested he send a photo of St. Mary’s Lighthouse to ITV Weather, and from there he has won North Tyneside Councils Winter Snaps competition and his photos have been shown in the Journal, the Evening Chronicle and BBC Look North.
Testament to the standard of entries was serial winner James Thow from Chapel Park Newcastle, who has won no less than 6 awards, and is this year’s winner in the Environment category with his photo ‘Outfall’. James said “It’s wonderful to win something so prestigious as the Port of Tyne Reflect awards, the competition just keeps getting bigger every year and I’ll definitely be entering again next year.”
Robin Sinton from Tynemouth who won the Places category with his photo ‘Epitaph for Steel’ says “I was a video editor for Tyne Tees for thirty years, working on programmes like the Tube, so it’s great to be behind a camera now, I’m thrilled to win and the competition shows the strength that the Port of Tyne has within the region.”
Runner up in the Palaces category, Keith Saint from Ashington with his photo of Beadnell Harbour adds “I’m a part time student studying a degree in photography so it is fantastic to be a finalist in the Port of Tyne Reflect Awards; I’m a member of five camera clubs so I’ll be encouraging everyone to enter Reflect next year.”
Michael Chaplin, Port of Tyne Writer in residence, was host for the evening and presenting the awards were Kate Sussams from Bede’s World, Eve Stoner from Blumilk, Geoff Hodgson from North East Tourism Advisory Board, Matt Baker and Agnes Wilki from Northern Film + Media.
The winners received prize money of £500 each and the runners up a £50 shopping voucher.
The Reflect finalist’s exhibition will be on display 6th Floor at the BALTIC until the middle of October and on tour at various galleries in the North East. To see the entries of all of the finalists online please visit the Reflect