It was only with a suggestion from fellow photographer Bernie Petterson, that I even entered the Environmental Photographer of the Year Competition in the first place. Then once entered I completely forgot about it, until an email message whilst travelling in Croatia a few months later, informed me that one of my images had been selected for the final exhibition. It still didn’t really sink in. I emailed the full size image as requested and again forgot all about it.
Then I received an invitation to the opening of the exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society in London hosted by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, a hero of mine since I was a child. I never really thought much of it, I was busy at the time putting the final touches to my ‘This Is Stanley’ project and the busiest I had been for a long time and I didn’t really think I had achieved much in the competition and so I didn’t go to the event in London.
Three months later preparing for a week in the Lake District and I come across an article online about the competition and how the exhibition has now moved to the Grizedale Forest in the Lake District. The article also mentions that it is an exhibition of the shortlist of 60 final images from 10,000 entries from all over the world.
A few days later and we are looking at my image, printed and displayed beautifully in a whitewashed room. I am stunned, I wasn’t even sure that my photograph was even going to be there. It’s not that I have never won anything before, it used to be a common occurrence ( including Landscape Photographer of the Year, Commercial and Advertising Photographer of the Year several times amongst others). Eighteen months earlier though it had been three years since I picked up a camera. I had convinced myself that I never would again.
Okay so I didn’t win any of the top prizes or anything like that, but to have an image in the shortlist was a reminder of how much things have changed in the last year and how much my family and I have achieved.