National Amateur Photography Competition Captures Faith in 2011

25 November 2011

World renowned photographer Don McCullin announces winning image for Faith through a lens competition during Inter Faith Week

‘The Baptism’ by Paul Verner has today been named as the image that best represents faith in the community at a nationwide photography competition awards ceremony held at the National Media Museum, Bradford.

Capturing the moment a young girl from a small community Baptist church in the Copperbelt region of Zambia is baptised in a local lake, the photo was praised by the judges for its beautiful composition and positive portrayal of faith in a local community.

The Faith Through a Lens photography competition, which is the creation of national church insurer Congregational & General (CGI), announced the winner with chair of judges, Don McCullin, on hand to award the prize.

Ten images were shortlisted from hundreds of entries submitted by budding photographers across the UK, from which the winning shot was chosen. The competition was made up of five categories: ‘moments of faith’, ‘community heroes’, ‘places of faith’, ‘community spirit against the odds’ and ‘new faith’.

As well as winning a prize for himself, Paul Verner’s nominated charity, Storehouse, will receive photographic equipment to the value of £1000. Storehouse is a project in the Antrim area of Northern Ireland that helps families and individuals in difficult situations to fight food poverty.

Faith Through a Lens was launched by CGI last year to uncover nationwide personal experiences of faith in the community and encourage cohesion. The event is timed to coincide with Inter Faith Week, supported by Inter Faith Network.

The runner-up, ‘What shall we do with this Jesus?’ by Paul Hurst and the highly commended photo ‘Togetherness’ by Claire Hollywell will also receive donations of high quality professional photography equipment worth £750 and £500 respectively.

Hundreds of entries were judged on their relevance, emotional connection, creativity and originality, visual impact and composition by a panel including iconic photographer Don McCullin, Revd Dr David Cornick, General Secretary of Churches Together in England, Paresh Solanki from Inter Faith Network and Chief Executive of Community Matters David Tyler. The final ten images each exceeded these criteria and all represent faith in the community in 2011.

Congregational’s Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: “This year’s competition saw an increase in entries and features some fantastic photos which demonstrate that faith in the UK in 2011 is diverse and inclusive.

“Through photography we aim to encourage people from all backgrounds, beliefs and regions to engage with the subject of faith and develop dialogue. Supporting communities has always been one of our core values and donating photographic equipment to the winners’ nominated groups, enables us to encourage key community initiatives.”

Iconic photographer and judging panellist, Don McCullin, commented: “Communities play a key role in bringing people together and enriching our lives. Faith Through a Lens underlines the importance of communities, so I am thrilled to be part of this year’s panel of judges.

“The entries clearly demonstrate that community spirit has an ongoing presence and photography is a fantastic medium through which to capture many of the grassroots initiatives taking place today. I have enjoyed witnessing first hand just how well photography is being used to capture community spirit.”