Gateshead photographer wins international award

POIGNANT images from the region’s industrial past led to a prestigious international award for one North East photographer.

Photographs by Paul Alexander Knox

POIGNANT images from the region’s industrial past led to a prestigious international award for one North East photographer.

Paul Alexander Knox, of Gateshead, clinched first place in the architecture-industrial category of the International Photography Awards, for his entry “Where Ships Were Born (Revisited.)”.

Paul’s work featured five images from a portfolio he took at Pallion Shipyard in Sunderland.

His was among more than 8,000 entries from 90 countries, with the 2011 awards the largest to date.

Paul’s win follows his previous securing of second place in the awards in 2007, for earlier pieces from the same portfolio.

The 39-year-old has been invited to collect his prize at a ceremony in New York in October.

Paul, who lives in Felling, said: “To find out a couple of weeks ago that I had won first place in the industrial category, I am absolutely over the moon, very very pleased. It is an incredible accolade.”

North East-born Paul grew up at Easington Colliery and initially worked in retail for a number of years.

Ahead of going travelling in India, he bought a second-hand camera, and it was from there his love of photography blossomed.

Photographer Paul Alexander Knox

Needing to make some money, he approached the City of Sunderland College for advice.

Paul was urged to take an HND in photography at the college and he started the course days later.

He graduated with a distinction and went on to Sunderland University to study a degree in photography, picking up First Class Honours in 2007.

Paul was approached by the Sunderland college to teach and now combines that part-time role with running his own photography practice.

His early work was based on the developing world but it shifted back to the North East when he became a dad in 2007.

As part of his final project for university, Paul began taking pictures at shipyards, and was later allowed access to an office block at Pallion. He said: “I have documented the changing industrial identity of the North East as articulated through Pallion Engineering, which is the last working shipyard in Sunderland. Within that project I focused on both the structural remains, and current work taking place on Wearside.

“This work is on-going as the future of the yard remains uncertain.”

Paul, who entered the awards in June, is now looking into whether he can gain sponsorship to attend the awards ceremony at New York’s Lincoln Centre on October 24. He is also looking at whether any national or local galleries will display his work, and whether any publishers might be interested in making it into a book.

Paul’s work is currently on show at the Side Gallery in Newcastle as part of the Fields of Vision exhibition.

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