A photograph of a fishing boat as it navigated an Argyll loch has won first prize in a new Scottish landscape photography competition.
Hugh Nicol, from Appin, took the image called The Audrey, Loch Creran, while on an evening cycle ride.
The picture won the Jolomo Colours of Scotland Photography Competition, which was launched last year by Scottish artist John Lowrie Morrison.
The runners-up photographs included images taken in the Western Isles.
Mairead Maclennan, from North Uist, was a runner-up with her picture Old School, Loch Portain, North Uist.
The other runners-up were Susanne Wilson, of East Kilbride, for Luskentyre Beach, Harris and Raymond Hosie, from Campbeltown for The Gauldrons, Machrihanish.
Mr Nicol, an estates manager in Argyll, said: “I have no professional photography experience, I’m not even an amateur, but I do like to carry a camera when I can and will take a snap when I have the time.”
“The photograph was taken one beautiful, very still, autumn evening when I was out cycling around Loch Creran from my home at Portnacroish in Appin.
“I knew it was going to be a good night for photographs so took my camera with me. When you have somewhere as beautiful as Appin to work with, taking the picture was easy.”
Lowrie Morrison, who is known as Jolomo, said: “The entries were superb, making it difficult to judge.
“Hugh’s picture is beautiful and stood out from the beginning. It shows the colours of Scotland extremely well.
“In fact, the whole image expresses a real feel of Scotland and a lovely feeling of movement. I love the way he has expressed the landscape through reflection. He has captured a moment in time.”
While some snapped close-ups of the government critic’s face, others stood for portraits in front of the casket.
In many cultures, pulling out a camera at such a sombre occasion is widely frowned upon.
“I want to have my picture with his body for my children and grandchildren to see,” explained Kim San, 62, a small business owner from Phnom Penh, as he posed with his wife. “He was a special, good person who dared to speak without fearing death.”
When the Tumblr blog “Selfies at Funerals” emerged in 2013, it quickly went viral as people expressed outrage at what they saw as an inappropriate reaction to grief.
Yet for Cambodians in mourning last month, taking a photograph with the murdered pro-democracy advocate was both a mark of respect and a way to convey their sorrow.
“They want to show that they have come here to [give their] support,” said Ley’s widow, Bou Rachana, who was “proud” yet surprised by the outpouring of grief.
Sydney-based Lavy Sayumborn, 35, who is originally from the riverside town of Kratie said: “People just want to take a picture with him because he is the hero.
“It is unusual [in Australia] … but here, we allow people to take many if they want. That’s the way of the culture.”
Death in different cultures
Death taboos vary wildly from culture to culture, as do imaginings of the afterlife, according to religious studies scholar Erik Davis, author of Deathpower: Buddhism’s Ritual Imagination in Cambodia.
The Buddhist belief in a cycle of life, death and rebirth does not evoke the same sense of finality as in the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
“For most, the notion of death is that it is a separation from loved ones, but not a final end or disposition; that individual will take a new birth,” Davis said.
A modernisation of religious tradition.
According to Davis, funeral photography represents a modernisation of religious tradition in Cambodia. “I think what you are seeing is … a local version of the influence of technology on religion and vice-versa. You will find very similar sorts of transformations in Christianity, [such as] televised blessings in the Catholic church.”
Bereavement photography is also slowly gaining traction in the West. Mark Taubert, a grief expert and palliative care doctor, said he first witnessed families taking photographs of deceased relatives in 2011.
“It feels a bit strange, but we mostly accept it because it is perhaps a family’s way of working through the experience, or sharing it with others who could not be there,” he said.
Photos at funerals becoming more accepted
Taubert predicted it would gain widespread acceptance in time. “I would find it intrusive if people took lots of photos or videos at a funeral I went to … but I think in 50 years’ time, anyone reading this article will probably think Im a hopeless relic of the past and may find my views rather curious.”
In some ways, it is a throwback to an earlier era, when Victorians began to utilize emerging photographic techniques to replace deathbed portraits, making photography of the dead and dying a common practice.
And neither it is an entirely new phenomenon in Cambodia: before the advent of digital technology, it was not unheard of to hire a photographer to capture formal family shots at a funeral.
More and more photos of the dead are taken with smartphones.
But now, more and more such images are snapped with smartphones which have been enthusiastically embraced by those who can afford them now have the power to galvanize the citizens of a country racked by political tensions.
Kem Ley’s murder, at the hands of a killer who initially gave his name as “Meet Kill”, comes during an ongoing crackdown on opposition lawmakers, activists and civil society by the ruling Cambodian Peoples Party.
Images of his body lying in a pool of blood quickly circulated on social media, and within hours an estimated 5,000 people had gathered to accompany a makeshift hearse to the pagoda.
Hundreds of thousands later joined a funeral procession to his home village on July 24.
“The pictures spoke viscerally to the injustices happening in Cambodia,” said Sophal Ear, associate professor of diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College, Los Angeles, who has described the combination of youth disenchantment and social media as a “powder keg” in a country where half the population is under 25.
“The proliferation of smartphones for the spread of social media and photography mean that word of mouth is instantaneously shared and very graphically,” Ear said. “No one can say they didn’t see the images; they dont know about the injustices. It stares them in the face.”
The overwhelming response to Cambodia’s first political assassination in the smartphone era demonstrates the profound, and potentially long-reaching consequences of these images.
Ou Virak, the head of local think tank Future Forum, said smartphones would “dominate” crucial upcoming elections. The government appears increasingly nervous as rousing images are shared rapidly across the country.
“Smartphones will be a game changer in the 2018 election. Political parties will have to adapt to a much more scrutinised campaign,” he said.
New York City-based photographer’s Donato Di Camillo is a self-taught professional photographer known for his gritty portraits from the heart of New York City. But what makes his career stand out is that he taught himself how to handle a camera in a rather unusual place – while serving his sentence in prison.
Not surprisingly, Di Camillo avoids associating himself with his past mistakes, so he shares very few details about his imprisonment except for the fact that he spent countless hours reading all the books about photography he could get his hands on. Which is actually fine, because his past ordeals could only take something away from his almost shockingly realistic take on life in the less glamorous parts of the New York City.
“As a child, I witnessed a lot of traumatic things,” Di Camillo says, “I saw my first friend die at the age of nine, right by my feet,” (the boy was killed by a passing car as they played outside). Back in the 1978s and 1980s, Brooklyn was a rather unforgiving place the artist explains, he “had to learn to think quick and use street instincts.”
The artist’s photo series is about “people on the fringes of society,” the same description he uses for himself aswell. His upbringing has inspired him to do street photography, and as he simply explains, that’s “something that I felt I needed to do.”
‘His name is Rosario. He was born in Sicily. At a very young age, he was abandoned by his caregivers after his parents died tragically in a car accident. He said the scar tissue in his eye was from a fight he had in an orphanage he occupied as a child. These days, he lives the best he can working odd jobs for local small businesses.’
’91-years-young teacher of life still exercises every day, harder than most.’
‘He was joking with his friends about his teeth when I encountered him. When I asked him if he was worried about his teeth, he replied “ain’t they pretty though?”’
‘Self-proclaimed subcultures exist on the fringes of Coney Island. Travelers and train jumpers find means to maintain life against society’s rules.’
‘United States Army Veteran just barely has enough income to keep a roof over his head.’
Professional photographers and amateur travelers spend hours staking out the perfect scene to capture wildlife in all its glory.
From lions hunting to gazelles leaping, weve all seen the classic pictures of majestic animals in their natural habitat.
But animals arent majestic 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Sometimes they can be pretty funny.
Thats the idea behind the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. Now in its second year, the CWPA seeks out the lighter side of animal photography featuring dozens of “lol-worthy” pictures of critters of all shapes and sizes.
From a smiling frog, to a fox with its head stuck in the snow, these pictures are sure to put a smile on your face.
A photo posted by Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards (@comedywildlifephoto) on
But the message behind the seemingly silly contest is to promote a serious message of conservation.
I dont think its the funny images themselves [that] are helping promote conservation, Paul Joynson-Hicks, the founder of CWPA and a professional photographer tells FoxNews.com. Its the fact that so far this year we have had 810,000 people who have looked at our website and hopefully from that, they can glean some understanding that a conservation problem exists.
A photo posted by Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards (@comedywildlifephoto) on
Joynson-Hicks works closely with the Born Free Foundation, a U.K.-based charity that works globally to combat animal suffering and protect threatened species. The photographer hopes that this lighthearted contest will raise awareness for the work that Born Free is doing. With more images, comes more awareness.
This year, CWPA received entries from 75 countriesabout half of which came from photographers based in the U.S. and the U.K.