Images of the North Pennines landscape which have been captured by local photographers will go on display in a free exhibition opening next month, made possible by National Lottery funding.
Photographers were invited by the North Pennines AONB Partnership to frame their favourite North Pennines view as part of the ‘Framing the Land’ competition held this summer. The winning and shortlisted entries will now go on display at the Witham in Barnard Castle from 3 to 26 October and at Allendale Forge Studios from 2 to 28 November.
Entrants were asked to capture the amazing geology and landscape of this photogenic part of the country, reflecting the characteristics that led to the North Pennines being designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO Global Geopark.
The winner of the adult category is Les Mann with his picture ‘Winter at Bollihope’ taken in early 2019. The under 18s winner was 17-year-old A-level photography student Sam Pounder from Wolsingham with his picture ‘Upper Teesdale’ which showed the Hush art installation by Steve Messam. Sam’s picture was also the runner up in the public vote. The overall winner of the public vote was Paul Collingwood with his picture of High Force.
Les Mann said: “I have always been drawn to this area. I took early retirement and then went to work up at Killhope Lead Mining Museum for a couple of years, so I learned a lot about Weardale and the wider North Pennines. To me the area has got everything: it is incredibly beautiful but parts of it can be quite harsh with industrial scars which have now grown into the landscape.
“There is something very special about Bollihope. My parents took me there as a child and my wife and I have taken our children there and still visit regularly.”
Sam Pounder said: “I’m really pleased to have won this competition. I was really inspired by seeing the Hush installation in Teesdale. I primarily shoot landscapes around the North East, particularly in the North Pennines where I live.”
Public vote winner, Paul Collingwood from County Durham, took his picture of the Milky Way over High Force in August this year. Paul said: “I often photograph the North Pennines, spending a lot of time around Weardale and Teesdale. It’s always an honour when people appreciate your work, but to win the public vote amongst some great photography is something really special.”
The panel of judges was made up of: Trevor Brookes (editor of the Teesdale Mercury), Christine Burridge (North Pennines Geopark Advisory Group/North East Geological Society), Andrew Charlton (Wolsingham Show photography section judge), Will Dawes (photographer based at Allendale Forge Studios) and Louise Taylor (Wideyed Collective).
Trevor Brooks said: “It was a pleasure to be asked to help judge this competition. The standard of the entries was exceptional and there were some stunning pictures that helped to shine a light on what is one of the most picturesque parts of Britain. But the North Pennines aren’t just about pretty pictures, although there are plenty of those to be taken. As a keen photographer myself, I’m inspired by its dramatic weather which to me really brings out the best of the wild but stunningly beautiful landscape.”
The competition and exhibition have been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the North Pennines AONB Partnership’s Earthworks project, which connects visitors and local people with the area’s world-class geological heritage through events, workshops, publications and art installations. The project also links to the INTERREG Atlantic Area programme of the European Regional Development Fund, as part of a European Atlantic Geotourism Route, encouraging people to visit Geoparks.
The exhibition at the Witham is open daily from 9.30am to 4pm from 3 to 26 October and at Allendale Forge from 9am to 5pm. More information about the competition and the area can be found at www.northpennines.org.uk.