The winners of the Army Photographic Competition have been announced at a ceremony held at Army Headquarters, Andover, with another crop of exceptional images capturing the Army at work and play, in professional and amateur categories.
This year’s entries have really captured the essence of the British soldier, whether on parade, on exercise or on horseback. And, there has been a monochrome theme throughout, with many black and white entries submitted. Categories have shown the excitement of operations, the thrill of sports and the contrasting stillness of the portrait.
Command Master Photographer WO1 Will Craig, Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), who organised this year’s competition, said of the entries: “We’ve seen a very high standard again, especially on the professional side. It gets better each year.”
“The amateurs have also given us a high standard of photographs too. It’s been quite impressive. And also this year has seen an increase in entries. Competition has been really fierce.”
Winner of the Professional Portfolio category is Sergeant Paul Morrison, of Inverness. Paul, a professional Army Photographer in the RLC, said: “I’m really chuffed to be winning an award that all my peers enter. I was surprised to win because I know how high the standard of entries was.”
Paul’s favourite image from his portfolio is of a young soldier passing out at AFC Harrogate. “I used a bit of off-camera flash for it,” said Paul, a former Electronics Technician in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). “And, I had him look straight into the camera, while everything else was going on around me.”
“The presenting officer was inspecting the ranks and I was just there concentrating on the image. It’s like I’m in a completely different world while other stuff is going on all around. That’s why I enjoy photography so much, because it doesn’t matter what else is going on around, I can see something else that I want to get out of it.”
New for this year is the Best Overall Image as voted for by the public on Facebook, which was scooped by Corporal Jamie Peters, RLC, of Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. He said: “I was pretty happy when I found out I’d won. It’s a good feeling that lots of people enjoyed my image more than the other ones.”
His winning shot ‘Fireball Flyers’ of an Apache flying over a large explosion taken during an air show, topped the public poll with 1671 likes, narrowly beating ‘Armed and Dangerous’ by Steve Dock with 1595.
The annual competition is open to all regular and reserve personnel, staff and cadets of the Combined Cadet Force, Army Cadet Force, University Officer Training Corps (Army), and MOD civilians and contractors who work directly with the Army.
This year’s winner of the Professional Portrait category, Sergeant Russ Nolan, RLC, said: “It’s great to have won another award. I won it the year before last, so it’s like getting my trophy back again.”
Russ, a former REME tank mechanic, added: “We were covering home town stories with the Royal Wessex Yeomanry on Salisbury Plain. I liked the image. Hers was slightly different to the rest because she was one of the last people we shot that day. She had a mix of natural light and a bit of flash. I liked it as soon as I saw it on the camera.”
Amateur Soldiering Image and Amateur Portfolio winner Corporal Dean Docwra, REME attached to the Queen’s Royal Hussars, said: “When I found out I’d won it was quite a shock, really. I got the phone call and it was a really nice surprise.”
Of his winning image Dean said: “That image was a javelin firing, taken on Sennelager training area. When I saw the shot I was really happy about it. It’s not an opportunity you get a lot, to go and see something like that, let alone take a photo of it.”
‘Small unique trade’
Categories were judged by Jane Sherwood, Picture Editor on the Sunday Express, and Jon Mills of SWNS Picture Agency, alongside Brigadier Nick Orr of the Army Media & Communication (AMC) branch, in which the photographers work.
Photography is a recognised trade in the Royal Logistic Corps and there are 36 professional photographers in the British Army, assigned to brigades around the UK and Germany, and working as part of AMC at Army Headquarters in Andover.
“We are a small unique trade and we are looking for keen amateur photographers who would like to make it a career; soldiers who may not have had an opportunity to enter this year,” said Will. “Hopefully, by seeing these images, they might be inspired to pursue a career in Army photography.”
Army Photographers are the most travelled soldiers and no two days are the same. One day they might be photographing a regiment parading through its home town, the next they could be on a plane to a theatre of operation, or an overseas training exercise.
Jamie concluded: “I don’t tire of it. The variety is what keeps the job exciting and fresh. It keeps you up to date and you’re always learning as well. That’s why I enjoy it so much.”
Other category winners
Professional Portrait: Corporal Fisher – by Sergeant Russ Nolan, RLC
Professional Sport/Adventure Training: I’m a medal WINNER! – by Mr Graeme Main, Soldier Magazine
Professional Soldiering Image: Dawn Raid – by Acting Sergeant Mark Webster, RLC
Amateur Portfolio: Corporal Dean Docwra, Queen’s Royal Hussars
Amateur Portrait: The Waiting Game – by Corporal Ian Chapman, Royal Engineers
Amateur Sport/Adventure Training: Army Team Rider at Pearce RD5 – by Corporal James McAllister, Defence School of Photography
Army Multimedia: What if 15 men had the power of an army? – by Corporal Luisa Scott, RLC
Professional Video: Flight of the Bumblebee – Sergeant Gary Kendall, RLC