A pensive moment portraying a young Buddhist monk at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple, captured by a Great Billington photographer, has won a nationwide competition.
John Sykes’ ‘Contemplation’ was chosen as the winner of the Faith Through a Lens contest which has been created by church insurer Congregational & General to “highlight and support the positive role faith plays in everyday life through the medium of photography”.
The prestigious awards event was hosted at Microsoft’s UK headquarters, with acclaimed photographer Don McCullin among the judges presenting prizes
John’s image, taken during a special 35th wedding anniversary trip to the Far East last year, was praised for its beautiful painting-like contrast and its striking composition.
The 59-year-old, of Hillview Lane, received a personal prize package valued at £1,000, including a range of state-of-the-art Nikon photography equipment, and nominated All Saints Church in Leighton to receive £1,000 of audio-visual or photographic goods. He was also presented with a commissioned trophy created by Yorkshire sculptor Craig Dyson.
And he was shocked to finish top of the pile, after being shortlisted from 1,076 entries to attend the awards night.
John said: “It’s a great honour to win this prize. I was very fortunate to capture this second of thoughtful solitude in such a busy and chaotic place – faith isn’t just Catholic or Protestant, it’s open to so many cultures and I feel my faith and the monk’s crossed in this quiet moment. I think the peace and tranquility of the moment came into the lens.
“This prize will be a brilliant help to All Saints Church, my chosen charity. This is the first competition I’ve ever entered, and I’m so thankful to be named as this year’s winner.”
Congregational & General spokesman Margaret Slater said: “John’s winning entry is a stunning and powerful photograph capturing a moment of reflection – a remarkably personal image of a humble Buddhist monk. As part of our commitment to supporting community groups across the UK, we’re delighted to support John’s chosen charity, All Saint’s Church, Leighton Buzzard and we hope they will benefit from the prize donation.”
For more information on Faith Through a Lens photography competition visit www.faiththroughalens.co.uk