UK Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017
Benjamin Graham: 'Diminutive Dune - Sand Forms at Low Tide'
Make no mistake, dear reader, since the scrambled delirium of an almost hallucinogenic telephone conversation with Charlie Waite, when he personally made the announcement to me and I responded with a stream of unintelligible gibberish, this mind-warp of a development in my life has been sending shock-waves of titanic proportions through me. Not even in my wackiest imaginings (and there have been some proper wacky ones over the years) did I expect, so early in my photography career, to achieve recognition and validation of this enormity.
l love what I do, I believe in my work and I think that many of my images are aesthetically successful (otherwise what would be the point of it all?). But - whilst a few of them have been competition-shortlisted or have made it through to be individual category finalists before now - I am at once humbled, honoured and rendered utterly flabbergasted by this unexpected, outrageous accolade... Especially as it's in the face of so much intense competition from such a hugely talented community of UK togs, many of whom I admire as heroes and whose quality of photography I aspire to - it is a privilege even to be on the same planet as some of them.
I haven’t really come to terms with it all yet and, quite frankly, being only the second time I've entered the contest, when this one was shortlisted earlier in the year that was enough for me - making it through to the second round of judging - but to win an LPOTY award?! And not just a category... The whole damn thing. Geez... It's all suddenly gone very surreal on Planet Benjamin.
And with so many first-prize-worthy entries in the 2017 book (some more worthy than mine, from my point of view) - any of which could, quite rightfully, have been selected - I still can't quite comprehend that, out of the dark and inscrutable nether-regions of the LPOTY judging chambers this year, my image emerged as the ultimate winner... But it did. And I am honoured beyond beyond.
The great thing for me personally though is that, although I didn't expect it to rise to this level of endorsement, it does actually happen to be one of my favourite images of 2016/17. I like its textural simplicity and relative emptiness. The minimalist compo with the simple motif and the quiet, analogous pastel palette work for me too. Finally, its scale is indeterminate - the sand forms could be two metres long or two thousand. I like that element of mystery.
Its ultimate mystery though is that it has made me UK Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017...
I know, right?!
16th October 2017
Nerdy notes for geeks and gear-heads (you know who you are!)...
'Diminutive Dune' was shot on the sands of East Head, West Wittering, West Sussex on the 4th October 2016. It was one of a dozen or so 'sand-form' images that I acquired during the blue hour after sunset. In the pastel softness of the early twilight, the subtlety of the contours caught my eye for compositions and this one was always a personal favourite
Grid Ref: 50.7858°N 0.9202°W
Sunset was at 18.33 and the image was acquired at 18.44
The camera used was a tripod-mounted Nikon D810 at knee-height, using mirror lock-up mode, electronic first curtain shutter and a naked 50mm f1.4 Nikkor lens
Camera settings were 0.6 of a second at f11 and ISO 64