Lockdown photography competition

CAN you capture what living through the coronavirus pandemic means to you in one compelling image? 

We are launching a lockdown photography competition, open to past and present students, staff, parents, family members and the wider Ripon community.

Use your camera lens to provide a window into your world during the extraordinary times we are living through. Our freedom of movement has been restricted - but our freedom of expression knows no bounds.

Your photograph can be in colour or black and white and it may be sad or uplifting, reflecting stories of human kindness, anxiety, resourcefulness, fear, joy, pain, humour, loneliness, friendship - or anything else you have experienced in lockdown. 

It will be judged by acclaimed documentary photographer Mark Read, whose work has appeared in National Geographic and Time magazine, as well as a range of UK publications including The Sunday Times, Telegraph and Guardian.

Perhaps you have already captured your lockdown image over the past three months. Or you may want to take one now -  in your home, at a place of work or while out enjoying your daily exercise. 

As lockdown restrictions are eased, you may feel like capturing the simple pleasures of appreciating something anew, after being denied so many experiences we all took for granted before the coronavirus pandemic. 

You could reflect on an aspect of your life you feel has changed forever - for better or worse - as we adapt to a new way of living.

You may wish to compose a portrait of family members, friends or neighbours (with permission and while obeying social distancing rules, of course) - or even your pets. 

How will your summer holidays differ to those you have enjoyed before? For those of you getting GCSE and A-level results, how will your experience compare with those of students in previous years?

Be as creative as you like.

Mr Read, a past pupil of RGS now based in Los Angeles, says: "It's an interesting time and many people are looking to art to represent how they are feeling. The brief is wide and you should feel that you can express your relationship with the current times in any way you feel fit. I'll be looking for something that feels personal, arresting and thoughtful. Good luck!"

Each photo will be assessed more on the story and emotions it conveys than on its technical expertise. You may want to include a title or short explanation outlining what your photograph is about, or you may wish to let your image speak for itself.

We have a number of fabulous prizes donated by Ripon Business Services (see below). The four winning photographs will feature in our next RGS News following the summer holidays and entries will appear in an online exhibition on our website.

The competition is open now and throughout the summer holidays. Please email your image (in hi-res/MB format if possible, select 'actual size' if sending from your mobile phone) to Ruth Savage on by Tuesday, September 1st, providing your name, age if under 18 and connection with RGS (if any) and/or where you live.

*Prizes kindly donated by Ripon Business Services, First Floor, Queen's House Lavender Alley, Ripon HG4 1EB Tel: 01765 692699 Email:

FIRST PRIZE: Your winning image printed on large canvas

RUNNERS-UP: Your image printed on slate; your image printed on a mug; your image printed on a mouse mat or coaster

*Photographs, top, were taken by Year 9 students: Top left and right, both by Millie Dean; bottom left by Darcy Sands, right Coral Watt.

*See RGS art and design and technology technician Glenn Davis's lockdown photos below, including playground art created by key worker children at a Ripon primary school.

*Bottom, two of Mark Read's recent photographs: 1. Lockdown work for an online gallery virtual exhibition - a study of a blue agave cactus from his garden, using polaroid transfers (where the positive image, shot on polaroid, is transferred to a chosen surface); 2. A print for @theearthissue Black Lives Matter freedom fundraiser, shot on Labadi Beach, Ghana, 2019. For more information, visit:

We hope our art department's presentation to Year 9 students for their self-portrait project (below), exploring a wide range of exciting and creative approaches to photography, will inspire you