This February, iStockophoto.com launched its first ever UK wide competition with the Guardian; Britain iS. Open to photographers of all stripes, the aim of the competition was to find defining images of Britain today. Entries flew in from far and wide; over 1,700 images were submitted across the categories (Urban, Landscape, Culture and Stock). Judges of the popular competition included iStockphoto’s Kelly Thompson (COO) and Simon Moran (UK Director of Photography); Guardian Picture Editor Roger Tooth; acclaimed photographer and artist, Danny Treacy; and independent photographer, Jill Mead.
Winners were selected for their uniqueness in presenting a compelling scene of Britain today and for overall strength of execution and composition of their photograph. Category winners received £500 each: Best landscape went to Glen Humphries’ scene of Saltburn Beach in North Yorkshire; best urban to Luca di Fillipo’s summer scene of London’s Southbank; and best stock went to Chris Rutter’s dramatic tree shot. Winners can be viewed at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/istock-britain-is
However, the defining photo and the winner of £2,000 went to Aaron Yeandle’s entry into the culture category ‘Western Ranger’. Aaron’s captured the image in Stoke-on-Trent, where he lived as a student—one of series of images he captured of the city:
“I wasn’t looking to make a social comment but to capture the imagination and vitality of the kids playing freely and enjoying the freedom that play without adult supervision allows them.” Aaron says.
Now an Arts Technician at Northbrook College, Aaron has always been passionate about photography, appreciating that it gives him: ‘a means of communicating with the world that is not affected by any restrictions.’
Commenting on winning image, Danny Treacy said: “The Western Ranger image has a subtle ambiguity that increases the viewers desire to engage with it. It addresses notions of stereotype, ethnicity and the state of ‘Britishness’ in contemporary society. There is a strong aesthetic quality to the image, the elements of composition, contrast and colour are all considered and used effectively.”
And Guardian Picture Editor, Roger Tooth cited the interesting cultural significance of the shot; “This is a great representation of a British child play acting as a US cultural icon in a back-alley of a midland city. The way that the boy confronts the camera and viewer is irresistible. The few details in the background eloquently give clues to where the picture was taken. The colour is saturated well and the picture is pin-sharp from front to back.”
iStockphoto offers easy, affordable inspiration with millions of vetted, royalty-free photos, illustrations, video, audio and Flash® files. Using the most advanced search in the business, customers download a file every second from a collection of more than six million files for business, marketing and personal projects. iStockphoto started in 2000, pioneering the micropayment photography business model, and has become one of the most successful and profitable user-generated content sites in the world. iStockphoto pays out more than $1.6 million weekly in artist royalties. iStockphoto is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Getty Images.