2016 Faith Through a Lens, Winner Announced

16 November 2016

Simon Hathaway’s photograph ‘The Gathering’ was named as overall winner at an exclusive awards ceremony hosted in London today. This powerful high quality image shows a group gathering for prayers in a monolithic rock-hewn church at Lalibela, Ethiopia. The photographer was praised by the judges for capturing a unique moment and for his fantastic framing and use of natural light.

Hundreds of entries were received and ten images carefully shortlisted by the esteemed judging panel, led by world renowned photojournalist Don McCullin. The ten shortlisted photographs competed against submissions from amateur photographers across the UK to be named as the Faith Through a Lens winner at tonight’s event.  

Don McCullin was joined on the judging panel by award winning photojournalist Hazel Thompson; Aaqil Ahmed, Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC; Rev Dr David Cornick from Churches Together in England; BAFTA member Paresh Solanki who represents the Inter Faith Network and Stuart Young Non-Executive Director from Congregational & General Insurance (Congregational). The judges considered a variety of criteria including visual impact, composition, emotional connection as well as technical aspects of the images.

Highly commended winner Sanjay Gupta’s image ‘Running Late’ shows two hooded penitents rushing to participate in a Semana Santa procession in Seville. The judges admired the photographer’s ability to capture a sense of urgency in this action shot.

‘Prayers in the Wind’ by highly commended winner Richard Hainsworth depicts Buddhist believers hanging prayer flags at mountain passes in Tibet. When the wind blows it is said goodwill and compassion will be spread. The image was praised for capturing movement and for the vibrancy and fantastic colours.

Winner Simon Hathaway and each highly commended photographer received a personal prize package which included state-of-the-art camera equipment.  In addition to their personal prizes, the three winners each nominate a faith, charity or community group to receive £1,000 of audio-visual or photography equipment of their choice.

Stuart Young said: “Faith in the UK today is diverse and inclusive. The entries we received demonstrate how photography really is an accessible and effective way of encouraging people from all backgrounds and beliefs to engage with the subject. The competition continues to grow in popularity and we’ve been thrilled again by the number and quality of entries this year. We’re also very pleased to support the three winners’ charities; we hope they will benefit from their prize donation.”

Faith Through a Lens, is an annual photography competition which aims to profile the positive effects of faith within a diverse range of communities. This not for profit competition, created by Congregational in 2010, encourages amateur photographers from across the UK to capture the meaning of faith.  

Main sponsors Nikon provide the camera prizes and Maplin electronics sponsor the donations for the charities nominated by the three winners. All ten finalists receive a prize bag which includes a range of photography accessories and items donated from Huggler and Serif. 

The 2016 Faith Through a Lens winner and two highly commended photographers are:

Winner - ‘The Gathering’ by Simon Hathaway  Nominated charity - The Hay Bridge Nature Reserve

Highly commended - ‘Running Late’ by Sanjay Gupta  Nominated charity - Hull and East Riding Hindu Cultural Association

Highly commended - Richard Hainsworth with ‘Prayers in the Wind’  Nominated charity - The Parish of Northop