Current Affairs

Competition challenges people to photograph “the toughest subject”

A new fundraising photography competition is challenging individuals across the country to take and submit images that Celebrate Life in the Face of Death. The competition is open to both professional and amateur photographers, and the deadline for entries is 18 December 2016. The judging panel includes the acclaimed photographer Rankin.

The goal of the competition is to encourage people to engage with death, dying or bereavement through photography. Competition judge and celebrated photographer Rankin says “Art is a different way of seeing and talking about things we’d rather not discuss. The challenge of this competition is to look at the reality of death for all us, and then to celebrate the life we have.

“We all carry cameras with us these days, so I hope people will bring all their imagination, joys, fears and creativity to this. I hope to be astonished by the responses.”

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Dying Matters

Miranda Ryan of the Dying Matters coalition is one of the driving forces behind the competition. She says “this might be the toughest subject for any photographer to tackle. We all know that we will die one day, but we keep finding ways to put off thinking or talking about it. We’re looking for photographs that celebrate life, as well as acknowledging the reality of death.

“This might be images of places where we feel most alive, or of the people or things we love. It doesn’t have to be gloomy or morbid, although for some people the right image will contain sadness. There are no pre-ordained ideas about the type of image we’re looking for as long as it says something about Celebrating Life in the Face of Death.”

More than 480,000 people die each year in England. Yet despite this, most people say they find it difficult to discuss death, dying or bereavement, and most have not written a will or planned their funeral.

Dying Matters encourages people to talk about death, dying and bereavement, and to get their own end of life plans in place. This includes making a will, planning their funeral, deciding on organ donation and care wishes, and writing this all down so others can act on it.

Raising funds

This is a fundraising competition and it costs £15 for each photograph entered, with no limit on the number of entries. There will be a first prize of £1,000 for the best photograph, one runner-up prize for amateur photographers and another for professionals, and ten highly commended photos.

The prizes donated include the opportunity to observe a photography shoot with Rankin, a visit to an advertising shoot, portfolio reviews, a day in a professional studio, a Polaroid Camera+ packs of Impossible Project film, and photography handbooks. The winning and highly commended photographs will become an exhibition, which will tour nationally.

Miranda said: “We’re keen to receive entries from all over the country. Death is a challenging topic, but it doesn’t mean we’re only looking for gloomy photos. There’s no right response to death or bereavement, and there’s no one type of image for this competition. We hope that by entering the competition or looking at the gallery of entries, people will feel empowered to put their end of life plans in place, and then get on with living life to the full.”

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