Winners announced for South Downs photography competition

'Freedom Journeys' by Rob Maynard

'Freedom Journeys' by Rob Maynard

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Have your say

Photos of Beachy Head and an Alfriston church were among those shortlisted in the South Downs photography competition.

The competition for best 2016-17 photograph in the national park has been decided by judges, but now it’s open for the public to choose the People’s Choice out of the six stunning photographs that made the shortlist.

James Ringland took this photo of St Andrews Church in Alfriston, called 'Divine Light'

James Ringland took this photo of St Andrews Church in Alfriston, called 'Divine Light'

“A gnarled old gentleman with twisted limbs” and an “unruly veteran being judged by the neighbours” are two ways that judges of the South Downs National Park photo competition describe the winning picture.

The stunning detail in the black and white shot by Bill Brooks was taken in the Capability Brown-designed grounds of Petworth Park in West Sussex.

The judges unanimously agreed that it was a perfect fit with this year’s competition theme of ‘Building the Landscape’ and awarded Bill the £250 prize.

Nick Heasman, competition judge and Countryside and Policy Manager for the South Downs National Park Authority, said, “Capability Brown and his wealthy clients knew that they’d never be able to fully appreciate the results of his work.

'Capability Brown' by Bill Brooks

'Capability Brown' by Bill Brooks

“They were creating a legacy for the future. Though it may appear unruly this tree has been shaped by people over time into something incredible.”

Bill Brooks said, “I took this shot in February 2016 at a time of year when the intricate branch structure of this majestic tree was still clear against the cloudy skyline.”

In stark contrast second place went to a bold and very modern image by Isaac Kennedy contrasting the derelict industry of Shoreham Cement Works against the green rolling hills of the Adur Valley. He won second prize of £100.

Mr Kennedy, said, “Since a young child I’ve past the Shoreham Cement Works and always wondered what it would be like to venture inside.

'Shoreham Cement Works' by Isaac Kennedy received second place

'Shoreham Cement Works' by Isaac Kennedy received second place

“A little older now, I decided to follow my curiosity and, with the owner’s permission, went in to the building.

“I was not disappointed. The way the evening light hit the top floor was magical.”

Steve Watkins, competition judge and Editor of Outdoor Photography Magazine, said, “There is so much to say about this photograph, it has immediate and graphic appeal.

“You could almost be in a church. There is so much skill in how this picture was taken and the story it tells of enduring landscapes and the temporary nature of a building – which only existed to mine and exploit the chalk these hills are made from.”

'Frozen Park' by Robert Maynard received 3rd place

'Frozen Park' by Robert Maynard received 3rd place

Third place was given to what appears at first glance to be a very classic downland panorama.

But the frozen park is again the work of Capability Brown at Petworth Park, this time taken by Robert Maynard who won £50.

Mr Maynard, said, “It was a frozen day in early January 2016 and l was heading to Petworth Park on a beautiful scenic morning.

“I had never seen so many humps on the grass and with a backdrop showing the trees on the hill I captured a beautiful park.”

Finn Hopson, competition judge and professional photographer, said, “This is an exquisite shot with so much going on. It’s a journey of a photograph with your eyes wandering the scene in the same way your body would stroll through it.”

The theme for the competition aimed to capture how South Downs’ landscapes have been shaped by people over thousands of years.

'Evening at Saddlescomb Farm' by Edward Mills

'Evening at Saddlescomb Farm' by Edward Mills

It challenged both professional and amateur photographers to capture the stories of building and construction throughout this rich history across the South Downs.

Now the judges have had their say, it’s time for everyone else to vote for their favourites from the top six shortlisted pictures.

Go to www.southdowns.gov.uk/peopleschoice2017 to see the full gallery and choose your favourite.