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The Northern Photography Prize: Five Photos That Show the Spirit of the North East

five shortlisted photographs featured and a photograph of LJ Ross
What's on
September 2022
Reading time 3 Minutes

Founded and sponsored by international bestselling author LJ Ross, and now in its second year, the Northern Photography Prize consists of two awards, recognising photographs that capture the spirit and heart of the North East of England

Open to all amateur photographers from across the UK, the aim of the awards is to build, support and maintain the confidence of new and emerging photographers, and the awards attract hundreds of entries from across Britain. With a closing date of 30th June, after much deliberation, the photographs were then whittled down to a shortlist of images for each award by a panel of judges, including LJ Ross, award-winning photographer David Taylor and our own editor Janet Blair.

Here are the shortlisted photographs for you to enjoy. The winner of each category will be announced at the end of September and you can see the shortlisted images up close, as they are currently on display at The Biscuit Factory as part of a celebration of the Northern Photography Prize.

Find the winners in a special Living North feature in our December issue, on sale 3rd November.

The Spirit of the North East

‘It’s a ‘Swell’ Day at Spittal Beach’ by Carol Reah

‘In 2018, I had Meningoencephalitis which left me with a permanent brain injury. From 2018 to 2021 I wasn’t well enough to go out into the big wide world with my camera. It was the beautiful blue skies, the sea, the waves and the serenity of living on the North East coastline that inspired me to pick up my camera again. This is one of the very first images I took, the blue sky merged with the clouds and the white foam on the crest of the waves – a magical moment.’

‘Originally from Manchester, my husband and I moved to Berwick upon Tweed in March 2021. I had previously worked in a very busy NHS organisation as an Organisational Development Manager for 15 years. However, in 2018, I contracted Meningoencephalitis which has left me with a permanent brain injury. With the help of The Berwick and District Camera Club members, I am now relearning skills and techniques to help me develop my photographic portfolio.’

‘How do I feel about being shortlisted? Elated! Shocked and speechless! This is the first photographic competition I have ever in my life entered. I never thought for one minute that I would be shortlisted.’

Spittal Beach looking toward Lighthouse ‘It’s a ‘Swell’ Day at Spittal Beach’ by Carol Reah
Boats at sundown Alnmouth Harbour ‘Autumn Sundown Alnmouth Harbour’ by Charles Hepplewhite

‘Autumn Sundown Alnmouth Harbour’ by Charles Hepplewhite

‘During a walk around Alnmouth, I noticed the incredible contrasts with the sea mist and the failing sunlight and just had to take a series of pictures.’

‘I was first interested in photography at school, via the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. It wasn’t until my wife passed away that I picked up photography again after coming across brilliant photography teacher Neil Atkinson, who has increased my skills greatly, and I’m a member of MIT, his online photography group. I spent most of my career as a musician in bands and I’m now the proud co-owner of North East Metal Spinners.’

‘Thank you so much for shortlisting my image for the Spirit of the North East award. There are many fantastic photographers in the North East, particularly in my photography group MIT, so I am just so honoured and pleased to be considered along with all of them.’

Angel of the North ‘Looking Grim’ by Peter Baker

‘Looking Grim’ by Peter Baker

‘I have seen dozens of pictures of the Angel of the North. As I stood in front of the sculpture my challenge became to find a shot different to any I had seen so far. The crowds around the base of the Angel demanded I either focus on them, or look up to the Angel and exclude the crowds. The Angel’s solid metal construction, the sheen of rust across the structure and the way it stands proud in the face of yet another storm encapsulates the beauty of the countryside combined with the solid industrial heritage of the North East.’

‘Whilst I have been a holiday and family photographer for many years, I only began working to improve my photographs as a serious hobby around three years ago after taking redundancy from a long banking career. I bought my friend a DSLR training day for Christmas and decided I would go along to keep him company, and was bitten by the bug. During 40 years of banking, creativity was always swamped by process, routine and compliance. As a result, I find the technicalities of photography straightforward and revel in the chance to create images and stories, or capture scenes that are speeding past, never to return. In order to receive feedback on my photography, I have become an active member of two camera clubs and both groups fill my spare time brilliantly with fascinating presentations and education sessions, along with top-quality competitions with judges’ feedback. This approach to my photography has resulted in my style covering many genres as I pursue competition images rather than a single subject.’

‘What can be better than choosing a competition to enter because I like its purpose and objectives, taking photographs on a trip North with the competition in mind, and then having my favourite picture shortlisted? I can’t wait to tell my colleagues in my camera club about the recognition and I will hold the camera with more confidence on my next trip out.’

‘Watching a Winter Sunrise at Sycamore Gap’ by Angus Reid

‘I wanted an image of a winter sunrise behind Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall, and this was one of several attempts, when I was lucky that two unknown walkers stopped on the adjacent hill to admire the view just as I was ready to take the photo early on a November morning.’

‘I have had an interest in photography for many years, starting in my late teens taking pictures of my hill walking and climbing activities in Scotland. These formative years established a love of nature and the outdoors. My work as an electrical engineer took me to many parts of the UK and ultimately brought me to the North East some 30 years ago when I moved to Hexham. I was initially employed at the Scottish & Newcastle Tyne Brewery, before moving into the Renewable Energy industry. Work and life got in way of photography and my interest in photography waned until I retired in 2015, and with the purchase of a new digital camera, the availability of more leisure time, and the wonderful opportunities for photography in the North East, I rekindled my interest and enthusiasm. I still love being outdoors and my main photographic interest is in landscapes and wildlife.’

‘I was thrilled to be shortlisted in a competition that I’m sure must have been difficult to judge, and I’m really pleased that my efforts early on a November morning have been appreciated.’

Sunrise at Sycamore Gap ‘Watching a Winter Sunrise at Sycamore Gap’ by Angus Reid
Lindisfarne at sunrise ‘Early Birds of Lindisfarne’ by Jim Scott

‘Early Birds of Lindisfarne’ by Jim Scott

‘I started to teach myself photography in November last year as a way of capturing and combining my favourite places and my favourite time of day, sunrise. This was one of a number of images I took very early one morning on Holy Island, overlooking the grounded boats on the causeway with the castle in the background. I was lucky enough to notice a flock of sea birds resting on the sand. After waiting for a few minutes, they suddenly took flight, allowing me to capture this image.’

‘I’m late to photography at 46, having taken it up as a hobby at the end of last year simply as a way of combining my love of early mornings and being outdoors in our amazing region.’

‘I’m delighted and extremely humbled to be shortlisted for the ‘Spirit of the North East‘ photography award, especially as it was the beauty of the North East that motivated me to take up photography in the first place.’

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