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Two Amersham School students win national photo competition

Scarlett Armstrong and Natasha Wigman have both won a prize in the national 'Focus on Society' photographic competition.  They collected their prizes last night (Tuesday 8th March) at a special awards ceremony held at the Espacio Gallery, Shoreditch, London.

The annual competition is run by the Economic and Social Research Council, who this year asked young people aged 14-18 to take a photo which captured how they see society in 2016.

More than 850 children from across the UK took part, submitting a vast range of inspiring and thought-provoking images taken not only with cameras, but also with mobile phones and tablets.  A wide range of subjects were captured, such as family, the economy, politics, culture, health and sustainability.

Scarlett won the judges favourite category for her photo ‘Every Beginning has an End.’

She says "I believe that my image shows that every beginning has an end. I have taken the panorama to highlight the entrance of the building and the end of the building. This suggests that a person can enter as a child, for their marriage and funeral, which shows the different stages of life".

Scarlett's image was chosen as a winner by Judge Karin Woodley, ESRC council member and Chief Executive of Cambridge House. Karin says “I loved this image because it is powerful and beautiful. The play on architecture and spirituality created a visual reference to the creation of life – the entrance to the womb – the womb,  and the heart. Intended or unintended – this made the 'Cradle to the Grave' metaphor especially compelling and successful.”

Natasha won the 'Green and pleasant land' category for her image ‘We Are The Creators’, which highlights the problems caused by pollution. She says “Lichen is a pollution indicator, so why is there so much?”

In total the ESRC awarded £1,800 to the winners of the competition and their school, with prizes divided into five diverse categories: Cradle to grave; Green and pleasant land; From rags to riches; Variety is the spice of life; and No place like home. In addition the judges were asked to pick their personal favourite, with each winner receiving £50 in vouchers. 

The quality of this year’s entries was the “best ever” according to the judges, who include ESRC Council Member Karin Woodley, Chief Executive of Cambridge House; Sophie Batterbury, Head of Pictures at The Independent, i and The Independent on Sunday newspapers; Jacky Clake, the Head of Communications for ESRC; Ollie Smallwood a portrait and documentary photographer; and Jodie Krause an Art Foundation in Design and Media student who has won awards at the last two ESRC photographic competitions.

 Jacky Clake, ESRC Head of Communications, said: “After three years of running this competition, many thousands of photos have been submitted. However I must say that the standard keeps on getting higher and higher, it’s truly exceptional. We are delighted to see so many young people take part and really get to grips with what society in Britain is all about.”

 Sharon Jarrett, Headteacher of Amersham School, attended the Awards Ceremony last night with the Learning Leader for Art, Sian Janacek.  They were both overwhelmed by the quality of the work being celebrated.  Mrs Jarrett said “I am proud of the work and commitment of the teaching staff in our Art Department which enables our students to develop and express themselves in a variety of ways.  Natasha and Scarlett are two talented young ladies who are a tribute to our school community.”

 Scarlett and Natasha’s photographs, along with the other winning entries can be viewed at the Espacio Gallery until Sunday 13 March. 


Scarlett ArmstrongNatasha Wigman