Wiltshire teenager bags awards at RSPCA national youth photography competition

By Ben Fitzgerald - 19 December 2019


Sixteen-year-old Jake Kneale from Pewsey, Wiltshire has bagged three separate prizes in the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2019.

In the competition’s Portfolio category, Jake was not only awarded First Prize for his series of five images of Roe Deer, but also picked up Commended in the same category for his series of puffin pictures, including ‘Puffin Kiss’ taken in Pembrokeshire.

He also won a Commended in the 16-18 age category with ‘The Offering’, his image of seabirds sharing some seaweed in the Farne Islands.  

Youngsters aged up to 18 years old had been invited to capture the animal kingdom on camera or on a mobile device for this year’s RSPCA Young Photographer Awards.   

Jake had entered his series of five roe deer images into the Portfolio category and they beat off fierce competition from more than 6,500 photographs to be awarded First Prize in their category by the judges in this year’s competition.  

Jake said: “I’m so happy that the judges liked my photos. To take ‘Buttercup Breakfast’, I was kneeling behind my tripod and was concealed almost completely behind long grasses. This meant the doe was unaware of my presence as she looked up from feeding on grasses and summer flowers in the meadow.” 

Attracting a record 6,595 entries from under 19s across the UK, this year’s awards were judged by a panel of experts in wildlife photography, including TV presenter Patrick Aryee, who has joined as a new judge on the panel alongside Chris Packham and award-winning photographers Andrew Forsyth and Jules Cox.

Also on the panel were sponsors of the Awards, Philip Warner, MD of printing business Warners Midlands plc, award-winning photographer Ellie Rothnie from Nature’s Images, along with former RSPCA Young Photographer Awards overall winner Catriona Parfitt.

Judge and awards host Chris Packham said: “I’ve been judging the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards since they started. It’s exciting to see it move with the times, particularly with new options this year such as the Instagram category.  

“We’re also pleased that the Mobile Phone and Devices category continues, because as no separate camera is required, this has really opened up the competition to almost anyone.”

The winning images across eleven categories, including three different age groups, were announced during an awards ceremony hosted by Chris Packham at the Tower of London on Wednesday, 18 December.  

Reflecting on the strength of the competition this year, Chris Packham added: “Every year, I’m excited to see all the winning images printed and framed. They always present such a powerful and bold portfolio of work photographically and serve as a fantastic means of getting people to engage with animals and think about some of the issues which affect them.

“It’s nice to see so many creative photos of people’s pets and a range of wildlife in such a strong competition. It needs real imagination to make commonplace species interesting, and demonstrates that the photographer has been really innovative. 

“The fantastic images we have seen this year range from pets at play to animals just getting on with their life in the wild. The competition is a great way for young people to go out and experience the environment around them. 

“There are some beautiful pictures in this year’s winners’ gallery, with real talent shining through. This year’s entrants have been really creative and that is what we wanted to see.”

For a full gallery of the winning images* please visit:  https://young.rspca.org.uk/ypa/galleries

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