Monday, 14 January 2013

This is the Place | announcement of prize winners

At the end of October last year, PLACE, somewhereto_NI, and Belfast Exposed put out a call for submissions for a competition called This is the Place | Photography from the Ground Up. We invited young people from across Northern Ireland to show us their places as they see and experience them. We had a fantastic response representing a broad interpretation of the brief and displaying a high standard of young talent.  

Just before we broke for Christmas we got together to select the winners with our panel of esteemed judges - Pauline Hadaway, director of Belfast Exposed; Damien Duffy, artist-in-residence and education programme co-ordinator at Void Derry; and Brian J Morrison, Belfast-based artist and lecturer in photography at the University of Central Lancashire.

Pauline, Damien, and Brian skillfully went through each submission, evaluating the image on a range of criteria, including interpretation of the brief, subject matter, and composition, before coming to a unanimous decision on first, second, and third places.

We are delighted to announce that the winners are...

1st Place
Prize: Nexus 7 tablet device
Michael Barwise, 23

"This lamp post stands over the Lecky Road flyover in Derry. The photograph was taken just before dawn using a long exposure to capture the blue and orange colour palette"

 The judges were united in their high praise of Micheal's submission:

"This is my first choice for a number of reasons: colour, definition and composition are visually striking. Having caught your eye, the picture doesn’t disappoint. I love the unearthly light and the lamppost standing dead centre among the trees - it’s all a bit sci-fi.

And, the photograph succeeds in interpreting some important elements of the competition brief - showing a locality, literally, ‘from the ground up’ and expressing personal attachment to a particular place. Taken at daybreak, covertly and in an out-of-the-way location, the photograph lets us into a secret
Pauline Hadaway

"I found this image equal parts visually striking and intriguing, there is a unique, yet familiar, cinematic aesthetic which seduces the viewer.  The blend of built and natural environment is interesting without becoming cliched.  This blend is found not only in the physical objects captured within the frame but also via the colour palette used; the overarching blue of the sky is set off beautifully by the golden street lights."
Brian J Morrison

"This was a unanimous winner, a striking photograph that is very cinematic, in someway akin to the work of Gregory Crewdson.
The morning sky has an electric foreboding about it, a synthetic quality of a blue screen backdrop, two worlds, the urban furniture of the lampost and telephone wires distant against the set of a sparse hinterland.
Damien Duffy.

2nd Place
Prize: Photography book selected by judging panel; voucher for Belfast Exposed. 
Faye Hobson, 23
In Vitro

"Taken from the car window on my daily commute, this photo shows a place I only ever interact with from behind the glass of my car window" 

The judges had this to say about their choice of 2nd place:

"This photograph interprets the brief with lightness and ease. And it raises a question - what’s moving and what’s standing still? That’s a question I always return to whenever I think about Northern Ireland. I do lots of my thinking in the car, most of all when I’m a passenger and get time to gaze out the window. This photograph really engages with that feeling of being a passenger. And being in Northern Ireland."
Pauline Hadaway

"An image that poses more questions than answers, abstract in nature yet speaks volumes about how we often interact with the built environment around us.  A fleeting moment captured and preserved that requires the viewer to project as well as consume."
Brian J Morrison

"Another foreboding image of industrial urban architecture, crane, silos, fence all pitched against the drama of a leaden sky and a furnace of a sunset.

The motion blur adds to the drama giving the scene a velocity,  a passenger side view of a day's ending." 
Damien Duffy

3rd place
Prize: Photography book selected by judging panel; voucher for Belfast Exposed.
Aimee McAvoy, 21
Rostrevor, Co. Down
City Smoke
Our judges praised this unique view of our built environment:
"This is a sharp and clever response to the brief. Bright and clear, the photograph gets close up to a city scene, above and beyond the everyday line of vision. There’s a hint of sitcom too - a comedy two hander. And what a great sky.
Pauline Hadaway

"There is a nostalgic quality to this image which speaks a little of a time gone by. It raises questions about not only the built environment but also environmental and economical issues. Interesting in composition and subject matter." 
Brian J Morrison

"This has the gritty workaday feel about it, the terraced housing and the row of chimneys speaks of community and the domestic, and then the small incident of lofty graft happening out of sight above the streets." 
Damien Duffy
Finally, honorable mentions go to Azarahara Cerezo, 24, Belfast, for her image Glenarm (below, centre) and to Charlie Donaldson, 16, Donaghadee for his capture of the brutalist concrete of the Ulster Museum (below, right).   

"[Glenarm is] a stripped-back vision of the built environment. The extreme composition offers an interesting view of what could be an otherwise mundane landscape."
Brian J Morrison

"Strikingly blue - full of the promise of a summer’s day. I can almost smell the sea breeze."
Pauline Hadaway

"Glenarm is a brilliant composition in blue and grey, a great void of blue sky, and the world, an Edward Hopper moment, only just."
Damien Duffy
Of Charlie Donaldson's untitled image, the judges had this to say:

"Once again - an inventive interpretation of the brief. The picture expresses the stripped down, monochrome beauty of modernist architecture and the photographer’s passion for its shapes and textures." 
Pauline Hadaway

"Another great composition using urban brutalism to a decorative effect." 
Damien Duffy

"A minimal and visually striking image that reminds us of this very specific architectural aesthetic."
Brian J Morrison

Together, these five images offer us a unique vision of the built environment in Northern Ireland, drawing us in to the personal encounters with places and spaces that make up our everyday experiences. 
We will shortly be announcing details of an exhibition in Derry~Londonderry where these images, along with a selection of other photographs responding to the theme, can be seen.  

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