North West/North East Wildlife Photographer Of the Year 2021!
The Highland – British Institute of Professional Photography – Wildlife photographer of the year North West/North East region
I was over the moon when I received notice that I had won North West/North East Wildlife Photographer of the Year from the British Institute of professional photographers. I’m always so grateful to win any award but winning wildlife photographer of the year was such a shock and it was extra special as this was my second award for photographs from my personal project called Wild Hearts. My Wild Hearts project continues to be a labour of love. I originally began the project way back in 2017 with the intention that I would complete the project in 12 months! Four years later, whilst juggling my photography business, family and a global pandemic, I’m happy to say that I am on track to finish my passion project in 2022. You may already know all about my Wild Hearts project but, for those that don’t, here’s a re-cap.
For the last four years, I have been travelling around the UK photographing for my passion project called Wild Hearts. This is a self-funded personal project which focuses on Britain’s rare native horses and ponies. Spending time photographing these beautiful horses and ponies has been an absolute pleasure, in particular observing the harmonious way in which they co-exist with their human neighbours, exhibiting in equal measure an endearing curiosity and a fiercely wild spirit.
Wild Welsh Pony – British Institute of Professional Photography NorthWest Wildlife Category Winner 2019
My book is not a documentary photography book with information about our native breeds, as there are plenty of amazing books which educate and document our native breeds. With a passionate message of conservation at its heart, my project’s aim is to show people the heart and soul of these wonderful breeds. Encouraging all to support these vulnerable breeds, either by protecting them in their natural environment or by buying a registered pony – a step which could help save these rare breeds.
Native breeds are part of our national identity and heritage they represent a unique piece of the earth’s biodiversity. The UK has inherited a rich variety of livestock breeds and their loss would impoverish agriculture and diminish the human spirit. I believe it is my duty as an equine photographer to promote these breeds in my own way. We all must work together, for the sake of future generations, to safeguard our native breeds. The rare breeds survival trust along with horse and pony societies are doing an amazing job trying help continue the line of native rare breeds within the UK. There are 14 native breeds listed below with 12 of them currently on the equine watchlist:
Rare Breeds Survival Trust Equine Watchlist:
Dales Pony – Priority Equine –Dales Pony Society
Cleveland Bay Horse – Priority Equine –The Cleveland Bay Horse Society
Dartmoor Pony – Priority Equine – Dartmoor Pony Society
Exmoor Pony – Priority Equine Exmoor Pony Society
Eriskay Pony – Priority Equine – More information on the breed can be found at The Eriskay Pony Society and Comann Each nan Eilean (The Eriskay Purebred Studbook Society)The Eriskay Pony Studbook
Hackney horse and pony -Priority Equine- Hackney Horse Society
Suffolk Punch Horse – Priority Equine- Suffolk Horse Society.
Clydesdale Horse – At risk- The Clydesdale Horse Society
Highland Pony – At Risk- Highland Pony Society
New Forest Pony – At Risk The New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society
Shire Horse – At Risk- The Shire Horse Society
Fell Pony At Risk – Fell Pony Society
Shetland pony – https://www.shetlandponystudbooksociety.co.uk
Welsh Pony and Cob – https://wpcs.uk.com
Connemara pony – http://www.britishconnemaras.co.uk
Irish draft Horse – https://idhsgb.org.uk
My Wild Hearts book and exhibition will be a very special body of work to me. Alongside my book, I’ve also decided to create 12 original photo-encaustic artworks to celebrate the end of the project and to exhibit. I’m so excited to select and create these one of a kind artworks and are looking forward to exhibiting them.
Exmoor Ponies photo-encaustic artwork
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