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HEART of the NORTH EAST (People & Portrait) - THE SHORTLIST

New Year’s Day Dip

by Caroline O’Doherty

‘Every year, usually between Christmas and New Year, we head to Alnmouth Beach with family and friends. I had no idea a New Year’s Day Dip took place there. We arrived at the beach early in the morning and spent a few hours walking while the kids played. When we returned to the car I noticed an unusual amount of people parking up and heading down to the beach. There was something about the whole event that was both funny and heartwarming. I stood on top of the sand dunes and took a few photos and when I got home, I realised I’d captured far more than what I saw through the lens; the North Sea and the grey skies reek of the cold weather, the determined kid with the shovel, the lady in her bikini getting ready, the Romans (or were they knights?) leading the charge, and the line of spectators watching on. All of these people were braving the cold for some reason. I don’t know their stories, but together they all marked the first day of 2023 in a snapshot of North East spirit.’

About Caroline

‘Fascinated by the stories, characters and humours of life which can be captured by a photograph, I regularly test the patience of family and friends in the never-ending pursuit to capture my own version of contemporary photographic culture’

Scottish born, Northumberland bred, Caroline swapped rural farming life to study in Liverpool before spending time between Manchester and Newcastle working in the media and charity sectors. Rural life eventually pulled on her heartstrings, and she was fortunate to have the opportunity to head home with her family to become the Head of Communications and Development for Northumberland National Park.

‘I’m shocked, but also delighted to be shortlisted for the Northern Photography Prize. I love documenting life through a diary of photos and to be shortlisted suggests others see merit in what I do, which is a rewarding experience. I feel really passionate about the North East as a place and the people which make it so unique.’

Not a Crossed Word

by Brendan Lewis

‘On this day I met up with two friends I had met through photography. We had met up in Newcastle to hang out, eat and talk/shoot photography. As we walked by this café I noticed the gentleman in the window, by himself looking at his crossword and the late morning light was falling on him in a beautiful way, singling him out from the dark interior. After I took my initial shot he looked up at me and I took a second shot. As I lowered the camera he quickly smiled and I gave him a thumbs up. Photography helps me connect with people in so many ways.’

About Brendan

‘I’m an amateur photographer from Middlesbrough. I’ve been interested in the creative arts since childhood. It was after the birth of my second son in 2016 that I decided to pick up a camera to document family life. Having a camera in hand, documenting everything around me, became an obsession. It has also allowed me express my feelings in my photos and create a visual diary during difficult periods with my mental health.’

‘It means the world to me. I never enter competitions as I simply don’t feel confident with what I produce. Just being shortlisted is an honour and will do wonders when it comes to my confidence and believing in my work.’

Start of the Week

by Mick Fulcher

‘This was taken just as the sun’s rays start to dip into the buildings around Monument. I said good morning to this gentleman who was starting work and decided to take a candid portrait of him going about his graft.’

About Mick

‘I left school aged 17 and after a few jobs at numerous companies, I qualified as a driver for the Tyne and Wear Metro in 2019. I’m currently part of the testing and commissioning team for the new fleet. I started photography a few years ago but took a real interest in 2021 and haven’t looked back. I enjoy all styles of photography but find that I’m most comfortable with street and portraits.’

‘We have some outstanding photographers in the North East that really are masters of their craft. This competition is a perfect way of highlighting that. I’m very grateful that one of my images has been shortlisted.’

Dan, as Peter Pan

by Jane Curtis

‘I swim in the sea most days, and have done for a number of years. I use a camera held in my hand to capture as much of the light, sea and life as I can. This photograph was taken at the end of a swim, where we had seen dolphins. Dan decided to take a leap from the South Pier at Cullercoats. He leaped into the sun and looked to me like he was flying.’

About Jane

After growing up in the North East, I have lived in London, Yorkshire and the Durham Dales but living near the sea is where I’m happiest. I have a busy job in the public sector but spend my free time outside with friends and family. I have swum daily in the North Sea for many years. After getting more interested in photography, I decided to start combining swimming and taking photographs, and bought a waterproof camera. Most of my photography is taken out of my depth in the sea throughout the year.

‘I decided to enter the competition just as a bit of a personal challenge, as mostly I take photos for my own enjoyment. It’s a wonderful surprise to be shortlisted and to be part of something showcasing the North East.’

Tunnel of Love

by Suzi Firenzi

‘This is my portrait of childhood sweethearts James and Emily. I love photographing on the High Level Bridge for the architectural interest. The crossing of their arms reflects the shape of the wheels on the ceiling. I’ve used the perspective to lead the eye to the couple with the love graffiti and padlocks adding to their romantic story. Where are they headed? Did they attach a lock? I love the diagonals and reflections adding interest and I liked the colour palette of green-blue and buff.’

About Suzi

‘After teaching Design & Technology and Food Tech for 25 years I decided to go back to my first love of photography. Wherever I go, I have my iPhone in my hand ready for the next shot. Even on a rainy day, something inspiring can be found. If I’m going somewhere special I’ll take my DSLR. I love editing, surreal photo collage, street photography, documentary and portraits, capturing interesting people, places and storytelling.’

‘I am so thrilled and excited to be shortlisted for such a fantastic competition. To be able to show my photo and know that people like my work is wonderful.’

The Shopkeeper

by Nicola Robley

‘I particularly wanted to capture this gentleman in the context of the shop surroundings at Beamish Museum. This was how he was posed on entering the shop with a twinkle in his eye and a friendly smile.’

About Nicola

‘Having taken early retirement in the last couple of years I enjoy photography as a way of getting out and about, visiting new places and meeting new people whilst learning and developing my interest in photographing what is around us and capturing moments in time. I am a member of a local camera group and the Royal Photographic Society. I am drawn to Northumberland and the North East, visiting and staying a couple of times a year, loving to photograph the coastline, urban Newcastle and the people!’

‘I am delighted to have been shortlisted for the award. I have a real affinity for the North East and its people and for this reason have been an avid reader of LJ Ross’s books, which capture so well the places and people of the locality as crime fiction, and if I can capture a little bit of the North East in a photograph, that will do for me!’

Waiting for a Break

by Sasha Blythe

‘I was drawn to this scene by the rough seas and the surfer pondering his options – should he take the chance or not?’

About Sasha

‘I turned to photography about six years ago. Photography for me is not only a hobby but a way to escape from the daily challenges that life throws at us. As the main carer for my mum who experiences Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer’s, I also work for the local authority in quite a stressful environment so I needed to do something that would allow me to shut off, take time out and refocus, even if it’s only a couple of times a month. I found photography did that for me. I don’t have a computer or laptop so I tend to spend a little more time trying to get a shot that works for me.’

‘I entered this competition on a whim, not thinking for one minute that my image may be considered. I’d forgotten I’d submitted an image, so I was absolutely blown away to find out I’ve been shortlisted. It’s such an honour and what a lovely feeling knowing that a photograph I’ve taken has been deemed worthy to be shortlisted for the Northern Photography Prize 2023.’

Let’s Go On an Adventure

by Lewis Brown

‘I love to capture moments in my sons’ life that we can look back on in the future. I as a father try to take my boys out on as many adventures as I possibly can. On this specific day we stayed local. The weather wasn’t the best but that doesn’t stop us venturing out. We ended up on North Gare Beach for a walk and the boys loved it. This image was shot on our way back to the car. No idea what they’re talking about. Probably planning the next outing.’

About Lewis

‘I got into photography when I was about 17 only taking pictures on my mobile, finally saving up for
my own camera, and I’ve been shooting about 14
years now. I love the sense of freedom when it comes to being out in the wilds. Photography is a fantastic community to be part of. I spend most of my time
up in Scotland travelling around in my campervan, however I do love the North East and Northumberland equally as much.’

‘Wow. What can I say? This is the first time I’ve received news of being shortlisted for one of my images. I am speechless that my photo slipped through all the amazing and talented photographers we have right here in the North East. I am truly humbled, so thank you.’

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