The winners of the first ever Young Railway Photographer of the Year competition were crowned on the 24th Februaty 2022 at an award ceremony at the National Railway Museum in York, hosted by the Chair of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy.
Organised by the prestigious Railway Photographic Society in the organisation’s 100th year, the competition saw more than 150 young people, some as young as eight years old, submitting their best images in an effort to be named ‘the Young Railway Photographer of the Year’.
The overall competition-winning image was taken by Bradley Langton, (20) from Driffield in East Yorkshire who impressed the judges with a technically accomplished reflected view of an LNER Class 91 locomotive at London King’s Cross station.
The competition divided entries into two categories: photographers aged under 19 and those aged 19-25. The winner in the under 19 category was Sean Mattocks, (17) from Burnley who submitted a range of atmospheric photographs that included landscapes and close ups of people and locomotives.
Ben Taylor (17) from Prescot was named in second place, and third place went to Rowan Harris-Jones, (17) from Berwick-Upon-Tweed.
In the 19-25 category, the winner was Bradley Langton, whose set of entries included a striking shot of Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands, made famous by the Harry Potter films.
Liam Barnes (20), from Rossendale was named in second place, and Dylan Robinson (19), from Cradley Heath was awarded third place.
Launched in 2019 and delayed as a result of the pandemic, the competition aimed to showcase the work of budding photographers across the UK. The competition theme was ‘the Railway Seen’ and entrants were asked to illustrate the variety of railway subject matter, whether vehicles, architecture, people, landscapes, or abstract images.
Competition organiser John Hillier, from the Railway Photographic Society and Bahamas Locomotive Society, said:
“I would like to congratulate our competition winners. I extend my thanks to everyone who took part, despite the difficulties presented by Covid-19 and to our sponsors, and Network Rail and the National Railway Museum in particular for their enthusiastic support. Judges were impressed with the standard of entries which covered a wide range of subjects and locations across the UK, celebrating the richness of our railways.
“The overall winning entry from Bradley Langton is a picture of high technical merit with some great colours and definition. It portrays a blend of the traditional and modern and is the ‘stand-out’ shot of the railways today and a worthy winner.”
As well as the overall winners, special ‘Judges’ Picks’ for exceptional individual images were awarded to Matthew Howe (16), from St. Ives, Shane Gopal (17), from Peterborough, Henry Pinkney (13), from Ely, Maud Webster (20), from Newcastle Upon Tyne, Leo Fleming (10), from Canterbury, Christopher Ainscough (24), from Wigan. Gwion Clark (18), from Conwy also received ‘the Railway Photographic Society Special Award’.
A selection of 48 images from the competition, including all category winners, will be included in a temporary exhibition at the National Railway Museum in York. Displayed in the museum’s Great Hall and free to enter, the exhibition will replace the Railway Heroes photography exhibition which celebrated the achievement of rail workers during the pandemic.
The Young Railway Photographer of the Year exhibition will also go on display at Locomotion in Shildon, County Durham from June 2022.
Charlotte Kingston, Head of Interpretation and Design at the National Railway Museum, and competition judge, said:
“The National Railway Museum is proud to support this inaugural competition which aims to celebrate our shared love of Britain’s railways and to inspire the next generation of young people. I was highly impressed by the range, quality and professionalism of our entrants and we will be displaying a selection of the best photographs in Great Hall alongside the stars of our collection.”
The competition was organised by the Railway Photographic Society, a national membership body of photographers which was originally set up in 1922. Known as the Rail Camera Club since 1976, the organisation is marking its centenary by reverting to its original name, holding this competition, and continuing its aim to achieve high photographic standards and to record the changing railway scene.
The Young Railway Photographer of the Year competition is supported by Network Rail, the National Railway Museum, Jessops Europe Limited, Mortons Media Ltd (Railway Magazine, Heritage Railway, Rail Express), Bauer Media (Rail, Steam Railway, Practical Photography), TimeLine Events, the Bahamas Locomotive Society and Silver Link Publishing.
The competition winners will receive a range of prizes including photographic equipment, railway books, photography training opportunities and a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Railway Museum. As part of their prize, Network Rail has also given the overall winner the opportunity to photograph the Forth Bridge in Scotland.
Following the exhibition, a 288-page book has been published by Silver Link Publishing and Morton’s Books which includes the majority of competition entries and the winning images.