BWPA. 10 years.

September 21, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Maggie Gowan, the organiser of the British Wildlife Photography Awards since its inception in 2009, wrote to me recently and told me that my (now infamous) photograph of a tabby cat with a blackbird nestling will be featured as part of the  touring "Ten years of BWPA" exhibition.

 

I am, of course, pleased. I took that particular image almost ten years ago now - and remember attending the 2011 BWPA awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace and being somewhat bemused that MY image was the talk of the town that night.

BWPA highly commended 2011 - Tabby cat with nestlingBWPA highly commended 2011 - Tabby cat with nestling

Good photography is more than just taking a snapshot of a moment in time - good photography is ART. And by art, I mean the image provokes a reaction in an onlooker. Often a strong reaction. Whether that reaction is joy or delight or horror or revulsion or intrigue.

My cat and bird image stood out in 2011 among many of the entries and award winners as provoking a VERY strong reaction from all who saw it.

Most people told me (and my wife - who attended the award ceremony with me) that they didn't want to look at my image. But HAD to.

Many photographers will talk of a "power" their image has - I had no need to big that image up, personally.

It shouted.... no....SCREAMED.... LOOK AT ME! YOU DON'T WANT TO. YOU'LL LOOK AWAY.... BUT YOU'LL BE BACK. YOU KNOW IT. I KNOW IT.

I thought BWPA were quite brave to include it as a commended image, but I also think (I wasn't alone, far from it) that it should have won on the night  - at least in its category of "Urban Britain".

It's slightly strange though.

12 years or so ago, when I first started taking photos, I thought my "WHY" photo below, would quickly become and remain the photo I was most associated with.

Why?Why?

Or perhaps even my (unique) shot of a flying white (leucistic not albino) bat. Still unique on the web. Sure... people have taken waaaay better photos of normally-coloured bats, both flying and stationary and they've also taken waaaay better photos of (normally stationary) white bats (often in places like Costa Rica or Honduras or the Philipines) - but no-one, to this day has taken any photo of a FLYING, leucistic (not normally white) bat, other than me. (I think!).

Heavily leucistic batHeavily leucistic bat

Nope. Not to be. My chicken and white bat images were both eclipsed by my tabby cat and nestling shot.

I've neither had the time, nor the inclination over the last 8 years or so to enter any photography award competitions. I expect that fatherhood and various other responsibilities have hammered that home a little more than I perhaps anticipated.

But I am still taking photos. Just not as projects as such.

I do therefore sometimes wonder if I'll ever take a shot that knocks my infamous cat and bird image from its lofty perch.

Hmmmm...

Watch this space....

 


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