I’m really pleased to announce that a couple of my images have been awarded a First and Third Place in the recent British Institute of Professional Photography North West regional awards. My success came in the Documentary and Street Photography category with two images taken whilst on an industrial assignment in China last August.
My winning image is a street documentary portrait of a local girl in a traditional Hanfu costume. It was taken in the Bamboo Forest region in Sichuan Province at a local waterfall.
As soon as I saw her, I asked my guide to see if she would allow me to take her portrait. It was one of those rare moments in documentary photography where key elements all come together in one place at one moment in time. Her look, her costume, the light and the environment were all perfect for storytelling.
The third placed image is a documentary portrait of an elderly gentlemen smoking a pipe at the Guanyin Pavillion, an historic tea house that dates back to the birth of the cultural revolution.
The tea house is an iconic establishment that hasn’t changed for decades, despite the growth in societies modern day café culture. With the help of my guide I obtained permission of the establishments owner and whilst I couldn’t verbally communicate with the patrons, I sat with them at their table, shook their hand, smiled and pointed to my camera. In every case but one, each patron nodded their heads and allowed me to take their portraits. The experience proved to be the most enriching experience I’ve ever had in my entire career as a photographer.
Both images were captured with available light using my Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH FLE. I found that the discreet and somewhat ‘old fashioned’ look of the Leica sometimes puts my subjects at ease and can generate interest and dialogue. From my perspective, I find using it a satisfying and stimulating photographic experience as it is very different to that of using my Nikon DSLR. I also find the image quality and characteristics of the Leica lenses second to none.
I have been a member of The British Institute of Professional Photography for over thirty years, holding the highest level of qualification attainable, a Fellowship and also have a Masters-Degree in Documentary Photography from The University of Bolton.
The British Institute of Professional Photography is a not for profit, internationally recognised, qualifying organisation with over one hundred years of experience in supporting and networking photographers.