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Expert tips on how to score in Port of Tyne Reflect Awards

Some of the judges have offered some advice ahead of a the Port of Tyne Reflect Awards photography competition

The Port of Tyne Reflect Awards
The Port of Tyne Reflect Awards

Across the North East people have been filming and photographing with the Port of Tyne Reflect Awards in mind – but the closing date isn’t until September 19 so there is still time to enter the biggest competition of its kind in the region.

The rules state that “images of excellence in photography and short film” will be accepted from entrants of all ages anywhere in the United Kingdom. But the photographs or films must be of the North East, literally reflecting its places or its people.

Port of Tyne report that the last competition, in 2012, attracted about 4,000 entries and the aim is to exceed that this year. “We invite you to show the North East as you see it,” they urge. And there are cash prizes on offer.

The North East is full of interesting places to photograph but if it’s people you’re after, there are still plenty of significant public gatherings to focus on before the closing date.

The Bupa Great North Run takes place on September 7, preceded on September 4 by the GNRMillion Opening Ceremony, a spectacular event to mark the half marathon’s one millionth finisher.

Before that you could take your camera, smartphone or video camera to record spectacular street theatre at Stockton International Riverside Festival (July 31 to August 3), Billingham International Folklore Festival (August 8-16), NewcastleGateshead’s foodie festival, EAT!OUT (August 8-17), or any of the remaining agricultural shows of the season, including Sedgefield and Slaley (both on August 9) and Glendale, Wooler (August 25).

There has to be a potential prize-winner among that lot.

In this month’s Culture magazine, published free with The Journal yesterday, you will have seen three of the distinguished panel of judges giving their answers to a list of eight questions. Today we publish the responses of three more judges to the questions listed below, all designed to help you catch the eyes of the panel.

The questions are:

1) Why did you agree to be a judge?

2) What are you looking for in a winner?

3) What visual qualities make the North East special?

4) If you take photos or make films yourself, what do you enjoy most about it?

5) Have you learnt anything from being a Reflect judge?

6) What advice might you give to a Reflect Awards entrant?

7) What was the best photo you ever took?

8) How important is creativity to quality of life?

Paul Collingwood, Reflect Awards judge
Paul Collingwood, Reflect Awards judge

Paul Collingwood

The former England cricket captain and captain of Durham County Cricket Club is judging the North East Life category.

1) Because anything that showcases talent in the North East is always worth getting behind, in my opinion. I’m hugely proud to have been born and raised in the region, so to be a part of The Port of Tyne Reflect Awards again is something I’m really looking forward to.

2) I’m looking for plenty of flair, really. The North East has some fantastic landmarks and places, so if someone can surprise me by showing these in a different light, then that would be perfect.

3) I think the size and colour always impress me. My family and I love the Angel of the North, and then you’ve got our coastline which is stunning.

At the cricket ground, we are surrounded by trees and overlooked by Lumley Castle, which is typical of how beautiful the region is.

4) Most of my photos and videos are of my family so it’s generally me looking tired after being chased around by my kids!

I enjoy capturing a moment that is unique to us, I suppose, and we have lots of those photos dotted around the house.

5) I knew that the North East had plenty of talent but the quality of the work on show always surprises me. I’ve also learnt about a few places that I hadn’t visited before but have made an effort to go to since.

6) It sounds so obvious, but enjoy the process. With cricket, if you enjoy practising in the nets, you’ll generally have fun and do well in the matches. So do something that you enjoy doing, in an area of the North East that you love to go to.

7) There have been so many it’s hard to pick out just one…! Probably one from our family holiday last year, or one of Loch Lomond. I like to play golf up there and it’s a beautiful course so I’ve taken loads of pictures of it.

8) Massively important. I’m always stressing that to my kids – creativity is about not having any boundaries, if you excuse the cricket pun!

Steve Cram, Reflect Awards judge
Steve Cram, Reflect Awards judge

Steve Cram

The BBC sports commentator and Olympic silver medal winner is judging the Reflect Youth Film category

1) When I first heard about the Reflect Awards, I thought it tapped in to a really positive creative energy that the North East is famous for. I’m judging the Reflect Youth Film category and the possibilities it offers young people interested in filmmaking and animation are endless – and it helps keep me appreciate home, often my schedule takes me out of the region for long periods of time so it’s great to see the region captured on film.

2) I think anyone who can produce a film for the Reflect Awards is a worthy winner – but last year’s winner created a brilliant animation about the River Tyne. This year I’ll be looking for something that captures the essence of the North East, its culture and its people.

3) The North East has some of the most spectacular countryside in the country. Its cities have embraced their industrial past and vibrant future with iconic architecture known the world over, including the Angel of the North and Durham Cathedral – but for me it’s the region’s unspoilt coastline and the stunning landscape of Northumberland, not forgetting its people, that give North East England its character.

I fondly remember training sessions along the coastline and thinking how lucky we are to have such dramatic and ever changing landscapes.

4) I don’t get the opportunity as much as I would want to – but I do enjoy exploring and capturing scenes, those moments in time that can be remembered, stirring emotions and reflected on in years to come.

It’s so easy now with mobile phones to capture images that we can keep as memories

5) It’s certainly made me appreciate the remarkable talent of young people – all too often young people can get a bad press and that’s not my experience at all – so it’s great that something like the Port of Tyne Reflect Awards continue to provide a channel for kids to get involved and hopefully earn the recognition they deserve.

6) Think about what motivates you most and try to incorporate that in to your entry. When I was younger the best advice I was ever given was to keep trying – even if you don’t win you’ll have learnt a lot in the process and there’s always next time.

7) I always love a landscape or a striking sunset. I’ve lost count of the holiday sunset pictures I’ve taken. I can’t really narrow down my pictures to just one favourite. A select few have pride of place around our house, as I love to use pictures that have a personal attachment to decorate the walls.

The best picture someone has taken of me is also a tough one. I have a record of some of my greatest achievements on the track framed on my office wall – they often help trigger memories of some special times, particularly my World Record moments!

8) I believe creativity is one of the greatest qualities any of us can be blessed with – everyone needs to embrace and explore it.

North News & Pictures Ltd Pete Zulu, Reflect Awards judge
Pete Zulu, Reflect Awards judge

Pete Zulu

The photographer, musician (ex-Toy Dolls) and chef (he owns The Black Horse, East Boldon) judges the Reflect People category

1) I was bullied in a moment of weakness!

2) Don’t know but I will when I see it.

3) There are visual qualities everywhere, just the North East has more.

4) That it’s so simple (taking photographs).

5) Just how many people take photos these days.

6) Don’t buy loads of gadgets. Use one fixed lens (for example 28mm) and learn about composition

7) Here’s one of my favourites (see the photo on this page)

8) For me it’s constant – writing, taking pictures, painting, recording songs, thinking of new menus.

The Port of Tyne Reflect Awards include five categories: North East Life, North East Nature, North East People, North East Film and North East Youth. The closing date for entries is September 19. You can find the rules on reflect.portoftyne.co.uk


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
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