Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Category Archives: Photography Competitions

2015 UK Mountain Photo of the Year.

I had never heard of this competition and given the difficulties involved it attracted rather less entries than many of the other POTY awards I have been featuring recently, this I found on the BBC website

Edinburgh resident Paul Brett has won Trail Magazine’s


Paul Brett beat off competition from more than 500 others to win first prize

After pausing to take the photograph, he rejoined a friend to finish an ascent of Britain’s highest mountain.

On the way up he slipped and had to use his ice axe to arrest a potentially dangerous slide down the peak. 

He told Trail: “It was a perfect spring day with no wind.

“After cresting the summit of Carn Dearg Meadhonach we were rewarded with this amazing view. My friend was already heading up Carn Mor Dearg, which really helped give an amazing sense of scale to the scene.”

He added: “I had to use the pick of my ice axe to stop myself sliding down the mountain on the push to the summit of Ben Nevis, which was very scary at the time – but it was good to know I had the knowledge to do what was needed.”


Snowdon, Snowdonia, by Dave Atkinson


Glyder Fawr, Snowdonia, by Robin Shaw

See more of these mountain images here

Sony world photography awards 2015

In April we had the  Sony world photography awards 2015

The Guardian’s gallery of the winning images included these


Untitled, from the series Aerial Views Adria, by Bernhard Lang, GermanyAerial photographs of the Adriatic coastline between Ravenna and Rimini, Italy, photographed in August 2014. The colourful umbrellas create amazing geometric patterns which contrast dramatically with the golden sand

Winner, travel


Mt Kenya, 1963, by Simon Norfolk, UKThese fire lines I have drawn with a pyrograph indicate where the front of the rapidly disappearing Lewis Glacier on Mt Kenya was at various times in the recent past. In the distance, a harvest moon lights the doomed glacier remnant; the gap between the fire and ice represents the relentless melting. Relying on old maps and modern GPS I have made a stratified history of the glacier’s retreat. This flame line shows the glacier’s location in 1963

Winner, landscape


Untitled, from the series Solar Portraits in Myanmar, by Ruben Salgado Escudero, Spain
Mg Ko, 20 years old, a Shan farmer with his cow in Lui Pan Sone village, Kayah state, Myanmar. Just 26% of the country’s population, at least half of whom live in cities, have access to the electrical grid. Small, inexpensive photovoltaic power systems provide households with 12 hours of light overnight. These portraits depict the lives of inhabitants of remote areas of Myanmar who, for the first time, have access to electricity through solar power

Winner, portraiture


Intimate Room in Targsor Penitentiary, Romania, 2011, by Cosmin Bumbutz, RomaniaOnce Romania joined the EU in 2007, the whole prison system went through a major revamp. The biggest reform was to introduce the right to private visits. A prisoner who is married or in a relationship has the right to receive, every three months, a two-hour private visit which takes place in a separate room inside the prison compound. I started photographing the private rooms in 2008 and I have now photographed the private rooms inside all 35 Romanian penitentiaries

Winner, architecture

You can see the winners on The Guardian site

here is the Sony World Photography site

International Garden Photographer of the Year 2015

Back in the winter the International Garden Photographer of the Year 2015 award announced it’s winners. The Guardian had an article and gallery of the images


The Ballerinas by Magdalena Wasiczek. Overall Winner
‘This stunning image of Hydrangea petiolaris is a worthy winner of IGPOTY. What I particularly like about the shot is the way the photographer has melted the rich purples and oranges of the hydrangea into the out of focus background, creating a delicious melange of colours. The focus on the single delicate hydrangea flower is spot on, creating a striking and unusual winter portrait,’ said Clive Nichols, IGPOTY judge


Parallelism by Jefflin Ling, first place in the Monochrome Photo Projects category


Vineyards, by Albert Ceolan. Winner of the Bountiful Earth category


You can see more of the gallery here

Here is a link to the IGPOTY site

Take a View landscape photographer of the year 2015

Another Landscape Photographer of The Year Award. This is the prestigious Take A View award this article in the Guardian shows 20 of the winning entries

The winners of this year’s Take a View landscape photographer of the year awards have been announced. Founded in 2006, the awards celebrate the British landscape

2480 (1)

2480 (2)

2480 (3)




There are many photographers of the year. They cover every genre of photography and in the landscape area there are a number. This one is the 2015 International Landscape Photographer of the Year.

Congratulations to Luke Austin of Perth, Australia for winning the International Landscape Photographer of the Year 2015. His portfolio of four images, after much discussion and deliberation between the judges, was elevated to first place with a cash prize of US $5000, a bespoke copy of the International Landscape Photographer of the Year book printed by Momento, and a trophy.




And congratulations also to Luke Tscharke for winning the International Landscape Photograph of the Year 2015. The ‘Photograph’ is different from the ‘Photographer’ in that this is the single best image overall as determined by the judging panel, whereas the ‘Photographer’ is the best four images. Luke wins a cash prize of US $2000, a bespoke copy of the International Landscape Photographer of the Year book printed by Momento, and a trophy.

In second place was Luke Austin and third place Warren Keelan.


Urban photographer of the year 2015

Another photographer of the year in the genre of Urban Photographer sponsored by CBRE which is a real estate company. I found this on the BBC site

A portrait of a watch repairer has been crowned the winner of this year’s CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year competition, beating more than 21,000 entries from 113 countries.


The portrait by Oscar Rialubin from the Philippines is called Xyclops.

Martin Samworth, chief executive of CBRE said: “The competition constantly provides us with new perspectives on working environments within cities. This year was no exception and Rialubin’s intimate portrait of a watch repairman gives insight into a universal trade. Urban life is constantly changing and the beauty of the competition is that it has captured this every year through the winning images.”


Johanna Siegmann photographed professional dog walker Leslie in Malibou, California.


Cocu Liu won the mobile section of the competition, capturing this winter scene in Chicago on his phone camera.


The Europe, Middle East and Africa prize was awarded to Armen Dolukhanyan for another black-and-white picture. This one shows a young couple, both in the Ukrainian police force.


Peter Graney’s photograph of poultry being prepared for market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, won him the Asia Pacific prize.

Here is the link to the BBC page and here is the link to the CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year 2015 strangely there doesn’t seem to be an associated exhibition which is the usual fare with these things




Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015

This time of year sees many of the major competitions coming to a close and awards being made. Now it is the turn of Wildlife Photographer of the Year  Here is a quick look at this years winners, we will return with a more expansive post later


“A Tale of Two Foxes”: Don Gutoski’s picture captures a symmetry in life and death,

To the victor the spoils. An image of warring foxes has won the 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

Taken by amateur Don Gutoski, the picture captures the moment a red fox hauls away the carcass of its Arctic cousin following a deadly attack in Canada’s Wapusk National Park. “It’s the best picture I’ve ever taken in my life,” Don told BBC News. “It’s the symmetry of the heads, the bodies and the tails – even the expression on the faces.”


These scarlet ibis were photographed by Jonathan Jagot (France), off the island of Lençóis on the coast of northeast Brazil. Jonathan is the category winner in the “15-17 years” of age group


14-year-old Ondrej Pelánek from the Czech Republic for his image, Fighting Ruffs.


The “Under Water” winner is Michael Aw (Australia). This is a Bryde’s whale ripping through a sardine “bait ball” offshore of South Africa’s Transkei coast


Edwin Giesbers (Netherlands) pictures a newt from underneath as it moves across the surface of a stream. The picture wins the “Amphibians and Reptiles” category


Juan Tapia (Spain) wins the “Impressions” category. It is a staged scene in which a broken canvas has been placed over a broken windowpane that barn swallows have been using to enter an old storehouse in Almeria, southern Spain

The BBC has a long article on the prize

The Natural History Museum as sponsor has much more

There is an exhibition at NHM, details are here

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015-16 exhibition

The Natural History Museum
16 October 2015 – 10 April 2016
10.00-17.50 (last admission 17.15)

ZSL animal photography prize 2015


Friday, September 18 to 28 February 2016 

The tigers, snakes and penguins won’t be the only thing entrancing visitors this autumn at ZSL London Zoo, as the winning images from the 2015 ZSL Animal Photography Prize have been unveiled to the public.

Until 28 February 2016 visitors to ZSL London Zoo will be able to admire the stunning shots entered into the Zoological Society of London’s fourth annual photography competition, displayed in a striking exhibition.

Combining mesmerising imagery with the enthralling sights, and sounds of the creatures at the Zoo, the exhibition is on show within squawking distance of the flamboyant flamingos and picturesque pelicans.

The exhibition’s top wildlife photographs were chosen by a panel of judges including ZSL Honorary Conservation Fellow and television presenter Kate Humble, and renowned ornithologist Bill Oddie.

The ZSL Animal Photography Prize Exhibition is free with every standard admission ticket to ZSL London Zoo. With more than 17,000 incredible animals to see and a packed schedule of brilliant talks and demonstrations, ZSL London Zoo makes the perfect autumn day out.


The Strongest Bond by Tom Way The Perfect Moment category  Adult runner up


Timeless by Andy Skillen Judges’ Choice Size Matters category  Adult winner


Sleeping Beauty by Tianha Williams Last Chance to See category  Runner up


Bright Eyes by Carolyn Collins Weird and Wonderful category  Adult winner


You can see more images on The Guardian website

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015

Found on the BBC website a plethora of images of the heavens, heavenly images I guess. This time of year as it gets harder to see the stars in the UK the winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year are announced and what a surprising set of images they are.


Huge Prominence Lift-off – by Paolo Porcellana (Our Sun, Winner)

Paul Kerley writes

Shimmering phenomena in the night sky – and starry sights billions of light years away – take a look at some of the finalists in the 2015 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. “Utterly enthralling with moments of brilliance” is how the comedian, impersonator and amateur astronomer Jon Culshaw describes the shortlisted entries in the competition to become the Astronomy Photographer of the Year. With his personal interest in the cosmos, Culshaw was one of the judges this year. He says he was aged about seven or eight when he got the space bug. He looked for UFOs, was fascinated by lunar eclipses and always watched the Sky at Night.


Interaction – Hemnesberget, Nordland, Norway – by Tommy Eliassen (People and Space, Highly Commended)


Silk Skies – Abisko National Park, Lapland, Sweden – by Jamen Percy (Aurorae, Winner)


Eclipse Totality over Sassendalen – by Luc Jamet (Skyscapes, Winner and Overall Winner)


Sumo Waggle Adventure – Lomaas River, Skanland, Norway – by Arild Heitmann (Aurorae, Highly Commended)


Sunset Peak Star Trail – Lantau Island, Hong Kong – by Chap Him Wong (People and Space, Winner)


Royal Observatory Greenwich in London until 26 June 2016.

See the full article and many more fascinating images on the BBC here

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015

For a little while now I have written about the refugee crisis and the impact photography has had on the publics’ awareness, so serious and important stuff. However never wishing to be too intense I now have the chance to bring you news of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015. This is a very serious (sorry) portrait award and usually is won by a picture involving an animal, see last years winner and the winner from 2011 As I say it is a serious prize to win, the trouble is usually the majority of people, photographers and ordinary people alike just don’t get it. As with many areas of contemporary art the choices confuse those outside the world of contemporary art, like so many things you need to be in the club. Anyway now there is this years prize.  The Guardian article lists all the shortlist contenders, here is what they say about the images and the photographers


Ivor Prickett’s photograph, Amira and her Children, taken at the Baharka refugee camp. Photograph: Ivor Prickett/PA

A photograph of a displaced Iraqi family who fled their village after the area fell under Isis control is on the shortlist for the 2015 Taylor Wessing prize, theNational Portrait Gallery has announced.

Ivor Prickett, a London-based documentary photographer, took the image, Amira and her Children, in northern Iraq in September 2014 while working on an assignment for the UN refugee agency.

Prickett met Amira and her family in their tent at the Baharka camp near Erbil. They had fled their village near Mosul after Isis took control of the area.

“I spent some time speaking with Amira about what her family had gone through,” said Prickett. “As they became more comfortable with me being there, they really started to express their closeness and became very tactile. It was a beautiful moment to witness in the midst of such a difficult situation.”


Nyaueth  2015  © Peter Zelewski

Peter Zelewski is a London-based portrait and documentary photographer. Born in Detroit, USA, he moved to London in the late 80s and studied Graphic Design at North London Polytechnic. Through his fascination and love of the city, he was drawn to the streets of London to take photographs of its citizens. Zelewski now divides his time between graphic design, commercial photography and his personal street portraiture projects. Zelewski’s portrait Nyaueth was taken near Oxford Street as part of his series Beautiful Strangers. Zelewski explains: ‘The aim of Beautiful Strangers is to challenge the concept of traditional beauty with a series of spontaneous and powerful street portraits of everyday citizens who show character, uniqueness and a special inner quality, which I try to interpret in my photographs.’


David Stewart’s portrait of his daughter and her friends. Photograph: David Stewart/PA

The fourth shortlisted work is Five Girls 2014, by David Stewart, a photographer born in Lancaster and based in London. The five girls of the title are his daughter and her friends, a group he first photographed seven years ago when they were about to start their GCSEs.

“I have always had a fascination with the way people interact, or in this case fail to interact, which inspired the photograph of this group of girls,” he said. “While the girls are physically very close and their style and clothing highlight their membership of the same peer group, there is an element of distance between them.”


Anoush Abrar photo of a young boy, inspired by Caravaggio’s painting Sleeping Cupid. Photograph: Anoush Abrar/PA

Anoush Abrar, a photographer born in Iran who now lives and teaches in Lausanne, Switzerland, is shortlisted for Hector, a photograph of a young boy inspired by his fascination with Caravaggio, and particularly the artist’s 1608 painting Sleeping Cupid.

“Somehow I needed to make my own Sleeping Cupid,” he said. “I found my portrait of Hector so powerful and iconic that it inspired me to continue this project as a series called Cherubs.”

This is what TW say about themselves…The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 is the leading international competition which celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world. The selected images, many of which will be on display for the first time, explore both traditional and contemporary approaches to the photographic portrait whilst capturing a range of characters, moods and locations.

With over 2,200 entries, this year’s Prize continues to uphold its reputation for a diversity of photographic styles submitted by a range of photographers, from gifted amateurs to photography professionals, all competing to win one of the four prestigious prizes including the £12,000 first prize.

All four photographs will be included in an exhibition of the best of this year’s entries. The winning photographer, to be announced on 10 November, will receive £4,000 and a commission. The four photographs were chosen from 4,929 submissions entered by 2,201 photographers from 70 countries.

Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, who chaired the judging panel, said: “The strength of the four shortlisted works reflects the outstanding level that photographers across the world are working at today.

“The exhibition will be especially exciting this year as we will be displaying a number of photographs that were submitted as a series of portraits, as well as new and unseen work by acclaimed photographer Pieter Hugo.”

The exhibition of the prize winners and other entrants is at The National Portrait Gallery, London from November 12 to February 21

There are also events going on in support of the award, here is one but you can find the full list here

Weekend Workshop: Classic Photographic Portraits

28 November – 29 November 2015, 11:00-17:00
Please check signage on the day for details
Tickets: £150 (£125 concessions and Gallery Supporters) Book online, or visit the Gallery in person.

Taking inspiration from the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015, hone your skills in this two day practical workshop.

We also have a Portrait Photography Course where you will learn how to take portraits of your family, friends but generally not small animals, nor will we inspire you with images from……

Here is a link to our post about the 2014 TW prize

and here, the 2013 TW prize   and the 2012….oh and the 2011 and finally our post about the 2010  We are thorough