Amateur Photographer Forum competition results for the January 2014 round -Time for a Story

So here we are in a brand new year. Who knows what
it will bring? As with previous years, my excitement is reserved for the news
of which nation will be the next to fire a monkey into space. But for now we
must all rely on the fact that we’ve had another excellent round of Amateur
Photographer’s forum competition. This time around our theme was Tell Us a
Story. Quietly pushing aside the controversy over captions, people submitting
more than one entry, a general dislike of the gallery and my own inability to
keep track of days, what a resounding success! Let’s take a quick look at the

Car629 first with The Vestiges of a Past Life.
There’s an economy at work here that I really appreciate – we see a room with
two chairs. That’s all. But what else do you need? I think it’s their position
that makes it so appealing. Both chairs are sat by the fire and both are angled
in such a way as to be in each other’s line of sight. We can imagine an elderly
couple sat there seeing out their winter years together.

Contents not included
Prize applies to UK & EU residents only

Our first prize winner receives a Manfrotto
Active Backpack I. The bag is a structurally sound, high-capacity yet
compact rucksack that can also be used as a standard daypack. With its
capacity to hold a DSLR system with 2 standard lenses, 15″ laptop as
well as personal items and accessories. The bag has four zippered
compartments with the top part designed for personal items and the
bottom for photo gear.

Next we have Mestala’s Life Ain’t so Easy. Again,
it’s a simple shot: a farmer ploughs his field led by his donkey. It’s an image
that speaks of days gone by and rusticism. The toning of the image goes to some
way to emphasising this mood.

On a graphic level I really like lm1’s Different
Worlds. The repetition on strong squares and rectangles throughout the image
really caught my eye, particularly in the large block of light that highlights
the busker. The similarity in body language between the busker and mannequin is
also of particular note. It may not necessarily communicate a clear story but
its strong visual nature was enough for me to give it a mention here.

Now, on to the top three.

3rd Place
sk8amazing – Skin for Money

Strong, simple and morbidly beautiful, Skin for
Money was a clear top three entry for me. Compositionally it’s a success. Break
it down and you have a triangle (the fox) within a square (the frame). It’s
really couldn’t be more simple. Subject wise it’s a grim tale – foxes killed
for their fur and tale. I have a deep fascination and love of foxes. Living in
London they’re a common sight and the sense of awe I feel every time I see one
never abates. It’s a strange contradiction to say that the subject is
heartbreaking but the image is beautiful. Or perhaps it’s not. If you want to
highlight an issue then you must create a beautiful image in order to grab the
viewer’s attention. It’s an issue that war photographer’s face throughout their

2nd Place
Ffolrord – The Kiss

On the other end of the scale we have The Kiss from
Ffolrord. This is fantastic shot. We can all remember the uneasiness and
embarrassment of seeing our parents kiss. In fact, some of us never grow out of
it. It’s a beautifully captured moment, presented in gorgeous monochrome. The
contrast in body language between the subjects is great. What else is there to
say? It’s wonderful.

1st place
Geren – Say Goodbye

Our first place picture succeeds in both creating a visually arresting
image and telling a strong story through the simplest means. A woman clasps her
dog as they both watch a train speed away. That it. But what do we take from
that? The sight of a woman watching a train speed away brings to mind a variety
of cinematic scenes, perhaps most notably from David Lean’s Brief Encounter.
Train stations can be a place of both love and heartache. Then can bring lovers
together or they can separate them entirely. Geren’s choice to shoot/convert
the image into black & white further emphasises this notion of a scene
tinged with loss. Like the train station, monochrome is a thing of
contradiction – it can be seen as romantic or a medium of loss and emptiness.
Geren’s shot is beautiful, poignant and dreamy. And that’s why it’s January’s

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