Tri-Service

In Pictures: Army Announces Year's Best Photographs

The year's Army Photographic Competition winners have been announced. Army Corporal Tim Jones took the Photographer of the Year crown, with...

The year's Army Photographic Competition winners have been announced.
 
Army Corporal Tim Jones took the Photographer of the Year crown, with a professional portfolio of images portraying military life in the past 12 months.
 
Tim, 31, who’s based at Army Headquarters in Andover, was surprised to win. He said: 
"It’s pretty groovy to be honest. I take photos for my job and at the end of the year look through my archive and pick out my favourites. I wasn’t expecting it; it’s cool."
From Tim’s portfolio, the most striking image is that of a Fijian soldier wading through deep water in the jungles of Brunei. Tim says:
 
"We were in Brunei to capture the unit training in jungle warfare and I thought we should set this scene in the water. We found a little stream and the unit were more than happy to do it. It’s my personal favourite."
 
Best overall image was taken by Huddersfield Army Photographer Corporal Paul Shaw, who captured an atmospheric photograph of a boxer from 3rd Battalion The Rifles in training. The same photograph also topped the best professional portrait category. 
 
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"It feels great to win it [pro portrait] for the second year in a row," said Paul, whose portrait of a Sierra Leonean soldier won the category last year.
 
Reflecting on how the boxer shot came about Paul said: "I went along to photograph their training and document it, and I wanted to capture a different style of image.
"We had all the lighting set up and this guy was practicing his skills. I started talking to him, getting him to imagine his up-and-coming fight and so he got into the mind-set and looks focused on the fight. I got the emotion on his face."
Judge Ben Birchall, of the Press Association, said of the quality of entries: "It’s pretty outstanding. Not just the professional categories, which you would expect of Army Photographers, but the amateur categories have just been superb."
 
The online image, as chosen by the public in an online vote on Facebook and Instagram was ‘The Hug’ by Scotland-based photographer Mark Owens, based on a combination of votes on both channels.
 
As the popularity of video has grown over the past few years, the Army Photographers have been developing their videoing skills. Sergeant Russ Nolan, aged 38 of Exmouth in Devon, took the top prize in the video category with a short film on caving in the Yorkshire Dales.
 
In collaboration with Sgt Gary Kendall, who wins the online short video category this year, Russ produced the heart-stopping video to show off some of the Army’s adventurous training antics. "One of the things we liked about it was its complexity to film," said Russ. "Location also helps. 
"When you’ve got guys abseiling in a massive open crevice 40 or 50 metres down into a cave it’s always a good opener. I think what people association with it, is how it makes them feel if they were there in that tight space and in the darkness. It could be quite emotional."
Winner of the amateur portfolio category is Glasgow Reservist Bombardier Murray Kerr for the second year running. He said: 
 
"When I learned I’d won the portfolio category again I was really pleased, really excited. It’s a really tough competition to get anything in, so I’m very pleased with myself."
 
Command Master Photographer WO1 Will Craig said: "I’m hugely impressed with the standard of imagery this year, there was a lot of debate when it came to the judging. The insight the images gives us of the day-to-day life of a British soldier is unique.
 
"This year’s seen the highest amateur entries we have ever had.  We had soldiers using their phones and larger formats cameras to capture some really great images. The professionals had to work a little bit harder this year in some of the new categories, which have challenged the most experienced."
 
Winners were announced at a ceremony at the Imperial War Museum, London, where a display of the winning images is being hosted.
 
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), as well as MoD civilians and contractors who work directly with the Army.