Two stunning images by two talented, amateur photographers from Morpeth, Northumberland have picked up the landscape and portrait awards at this year’s Northern Photography Prize.
Jim Scott scooped the landscape award, The Spirit of the North East Prize, for his image Early Birds of Lindisfarne – a glorious, multi-coloured sunrise at Holy Island with fishing boats grounded on the causeway sands and sea birds taking flight.
The portrait award, The Heart of the North East Prize, went to Matthew Locke for his entry titled Back on Track – a photo of his wife gazing out the window of a Newcastle metro train, expertly capturing the light and a moment of excitement and hope for a brighter future.
Jim Scott said: “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. 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.”
“Given the standard of the other photographs in this year’s shortlist, I genuinely didn’t expect to win the award. I’m absolutely thrilled that the judges felt my photograph captured the Spirit of the North East. I’ve met some amazing people during the competition process and winning has further fuelled my excitement and interest for photography, as well as my love for the North East”
Matthew Locke commented: “My wife had a job she disliked for years. She applied for a new job in Newcastle city centre, which she was offered. We then took a day off to test-drive her new commute on the metro. On the train back, I captured her staring out of the window, looking subtly excited about what lay ahead. The fact we were moving towards the light she was looking at struck me as symbolic of how we hoped the future would transpire.”
“I'm over the moon to have won this year's Heart of the North East award. To be recognised by prominent local artists is something I had never expected, and is an enormous confidence boost to pursue my hobby in photography. The award process has been fantastic throughout, in having the chance to see my work be displayed publicly at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle, and as a means of meeting other like-minded photographers. I'd like to thank everyone involved for facilitating the award and for choosing my entry as this year's winner”
Now in its second year, the Northern Photography Prize - which encourages budding and established amateur photographers to capture the spirit and heart of the North East through its people and places - continues to attract hundreds of submissions. The two winners will each collect a £1,000 cash prize courtesy of bestselling author LJ Ross, who founded and sponsored the prize through her publishing imprint, Dark Skies Publishing.
LJ Ross stated: “The North East of England never fails to inspire me, from the colourful characters you meet in the street to the unrivalled beauty of its landscapes. Photography is the perfect medium to capture the essence of the region, its unique spirit and beating heart, which is why I wanted to launch this competition. Since its inauguration, the prize has gone from strength-to-strength and I’m delighted to see it now firmly established in the region’s creative arts calendar and attracting so much interest. I’d like to congratulate this year’s winners, Jim and Matthew, for their stunning entries which deservedly take home the prizes.