Judging for the 2020 Royal Air Force Photographic Competition has recently taken place with the winners chosen. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, this year’s competition was reduced from 13 categories to just four: Personnel, Current RAF Equipment, RAF Operations and Exercises and the “Peoples’ Choice”.
Over 900 images were submitted across the competition’s three categories, with the best nine images chosen by the three industry professional judges. The winner of the fourth category, the “Peoples’ Choice” was selected by the general public voting over a fortnight via the Royal Air Force’s official Facebook page for their favourite image.
The “Peoples’ Choice” category was kindly sponsored by Wex Photo Video and after approximately 16,000 votes a clear winner, “Helping Hand” by Corporal Phil Dye, took first place.
The winner of the Fujifilm sponsored “Personnel” category was Mr Ian Forshaw with “NVG”.
Winner of “Current RAF Equipment”, sponsored by Canon, was Sergeant Andy Holmes with “Astra”. This year proved to be a very successful competition for Sergeant Holmes as he also won the RAF “Operations and Exercises” category with “Ground Zero”, sponsored by Wex Photo Video.
This year’s judges were freelance photographer Edmond Terakopian, Martin Keene from the Press Association and Jim Hedge, picture editor at The Guardian.
"It’s been my honour to be have been invited to be a competition judge for the third year running. Looking through the excellence of work, it’s no surprise that so many of Fleet Street’s legends started their careers as RAF photographers. Given a difficult year, dealing with a pandemic, it’s been great to see not only great photography documenting some dramatic scenes, but also a rise in creative photography, where the photographers are looking past the norm and digging deeper to discover nuances and multiple levels to their work. Bravo all!"
RAF Photographic Competition Judge
Explaining why this year’s winner of the “Current RAF Equipment” category was selected, Martin Keene added: “There are some terrific pictures this year of the RAF people and kit in action, but the winning picture stands outs aviators, ground crew and kit battle against the elements a long way from home. It’s a picture that would not be out of place on the big screen – and is pure photographic brilliance.”
Meanwhile, in praising the overall standard of entries, Jim Hedge said: "As ever, the photographic standard was extremely high. The work of RAF photographers provides a vital historical record, as well as illustrating the complexity, nuance and character of that work. All the participants are worthy winners, and those we selected have produced a stunning visual showcase of the work of the RAF over the last year. It has been a privilege to have been involved in the judging."
Category A: Personnel
1st Place: “NVG” Mr Ian Forshaw, RAF Shawbury
2nd Place: “Can’t take my eyes off of you” Cpl Ben Tritta, RAF Brize Norton
3rd Place: “Passion” Cpl Rob Travis, 77th Brigade
Highly Commended: “Retired” SAC Kim Waterson, RAF Wittering
Category B: Current RAF Equipment
1st Place: “Astra” Sgt Andy Holmes, RAF Benson
2nd Place: “The Gunslinger” Cpl Rob Travis, 77th Brigade
3rd Place: “Face Off” Sgt Paul Oldfield, RAF Coningsby
Highly Commended: “Pot of Gold” Cpl Tim Laurence, RAF Odiham
Category C: RAF Operations and Exercises
1st Place: “Ground Zero” Sgt Andy Holmes, RAF Benson
2nd Place: “See Off” SAC Hazel Reader, RAF Coningsby
3rd Place: “Helping Hand” Cpl Phil Dye, RAF Akrotiri
Highly Commended: “Approaching the Dam” Cpl Rob Travis, 77th Brigade
Category D: Peoples’ Choice
Winner: “Helping Hand” Cpl Phil Dye, RAF Akrotiri