The Royal Air Force has celebrated the production of some of its finest imagery during the annual Photographic Competition, culminating in an awards ceremony at the historic Royal Air Force Club in London.
The competition has run for 23 years, and still serves to recognize the skills and highly technical competence of the Royal Air Force photographers, both service and civilian. Competition categories ranged from operational profiles and current military equipment to sport. From the impressive entry of over 800 images, winners were selected in 12 different categories.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton presented the winners with their awards and prizes during a celebration at the RAF Club, London earlier today. He said,
‘The competition entries this year are once again of the highest quality and showcase not only the professional abilities of our Royal Air Force Photographers but also the tremendous diversity and agility of our people and equipment. These dynamic images reflect the extensive breadth of Service life, the critical contribution that our personnel are making to global operations and the unique year of celebrations for Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as well as the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games’.
Three independent judges, Len Dance, Alex Mead and Geoff Mayor, with in excess of 100 years pictorial experience between them, wrestled to agree on the winning images in the 12 categories for this year’s photographic competition. Len Dance said;
]‘I have worked with imagery my entire career, and I was honored to be invited to judge this year’s competition. The quality and technical skills demonstrated through these entries is absolutely fantastic’.
The 2012 RAF Photographer of the year is Corporal Mike Jones from RAF Marham. His portfolio of 4 images shows the diversity of task from operations to ceremonial, modern equipment to heritage, but particularly captivating is the image ‘Afgan Elder’. On learning of his award, Cpl Jones relived the moment he took the picture:
‘The picture was taken on New Year’s Day at Kandahar during an Open Day for local Afghans living close to the airfield to visit us at work’. He said:
‘At the open day the RAF had provided a Tornado GR4 and the crew were busy talking to a lot of excited kids and local people. I saw the man sitting alone to one side by the hangar door, just watching things going on. The conditions were perfect. As the hangar door opened there was a flood of natural light falling on him. It is a very natural shot. It is a striking picture that I am proud of.’
All were unanimous in their appreciation of the very high standard, quality and diversity of work produced by both Service and civilian photographers.