Striking portrait of a red kite by Somerset photographer Oliver Hellowell is winner of My Perspective 2017

Oliver Hellowell was announced as the overall winner of The Down’s Syndrome Association’s international photographic competition, My Perspective 2017. The awards ceremony took place in the beautiful surroundings of the Orangery in Kew Gardens, London.

Oliver said of his winning image: “The colours are cool. It’s an awesome bird of prey and he looks like he’s about to go somewhere”.

In joint second place were Robbie Snowden, with his image Fairy Clock:

Robbie said “You blow fairy clocks in the wind. They settle in different places and make new plants. The tops look like fireworks or stars”.

…and Paras Kumar from India (joint second place) with his image Life is Better with Friends:

Paras said “When I was in Madrid by a beach I saw one was sitting there with a motionless face waiting for his friend. He came with his cycle and he got a long smile seeing them. That said, life is better with friends”.

The Stephen Thomas Award went to Samuel Mwanuika from Tanzania, for his image Zebra Sun Baking:

Zebra Sun Baking by Samuel Mwanuika, Tanzania, winner of the 2017 Stephen Thomas Award as part of the My Perspective photography competition

Samuel said: “This picture was taken at 1 o’clock when the Sun was immaculate at Ngorongoro crater, Arusha, Tanzania the two Zebra were enjoying the Sun baking.”

Samuel was presented with his award by Stephen’s brother Paul. This is the second time My Perspective has included the Stephen Thomas Award which the DSA and the competition’s sponsors GSK created in 2016 to honour Stephen Thomas’ life. The prize enables one of the shortlisted international photographers to travel to the ceremony. Samuel travelled with his family from Tanzania to accept this award.

Actress Rula Lenska presented the finalists and winners with their photographs, and last year’s winner Emily Buck gave a fantastic presentation about her life since winning and what inspires her photography. The Lancashire based dance company Dance Syndrome performed during the evening. Established in 2009, DanceSyndrome was the inspiration of founder and Creative Director, Jen Blackwell, who has Down’s syndrome, and wanted to follow her dream of being a dancer and dance leader.

The runners up in the competition are:

  • Alireza Babaie, Iran
  • Amirhossein Bagheri, Iran
  • Tim Beale, UK
  • David Cormack, UK
  • Gabriel Dodds, UK
  • Nathan Ebuehi, UK
  • Daniel Geeson, UK
  • Parnian Hamidi Ashtiani, Iran
  • David Kenward, UK
  • Georgia Leggat, UK
  • Roman Masevych, Ukraine
  • Ailbhe McGill, UK
  • Conor O’Dowd, Ireland
  • Steven Padmore, UK
  • Nate Seagraves, USA
  • Natalie Stevanus, Canada
  • Pascale Touko, UK
  • Paul Wakeling, UK
  • Victoria Yambolova, Bulgaria
  • Marini Zapri, Greece
  • Ali Zarei, Iran

The competition is open to people with Down’s syndrome across the world and this year 58 out of the 93 entrants came from outside the UK, with photographs sent from Iran, Tanzania, India, Peru, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and across Europe.

GlaxoSmithKline have generously sponsored My Perspective Photographic Award since its conception in 2010. Their continuing support and commitment to the Down’s Syndrome Association allows this unique project to grow year on year.

The Down’s Syndrome Association launched its My Perspective competition in partnership with the hugely successful Shifting Perspectives. In years gone by, people with Down’s syndrome were photographed as exhibits; the viewer was not supposed to see the person, just the difference.

My Perspective turns the camera around and gives people with Down’s syndrome the chance to show the world from their point of view.