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Swansea man wins Historic Photographer of the Year competition

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Steve Liddiard, from Swansea has won the prestigious Historic Photographer of the year competition with his photograph of a ruinous wool mill in the Welsh countryside.

The competition, by Historic England and History Hit the podcast, SVOD and content platform founded by historian Dan Snow called on photographers to explore and capture the very best historic sites that the world has to offer.

Judges looked at originality, composition and technical proficiency alongside the story behind the submission and its historical impact.

After a three week judging period that saw the five judges review over 1200 entries, the judges have chosen their three category winners.

Sam Binding’s image of Glastonbury Tor

Winning the Historic England category for the second consecutive year is Sam Binding, from Bristol, with his image of Glastonbury Tor which was shot early in the morning as the sun rose with the mist to create an ethereal scene.

Judge Fiona Shields called it “an elegant image, powerful in its simplicity, the light falling so perfectly, framing the historic monument”.

Whilst Judge Dan Snow said: “I’m a believer in getting up and out in the cold and dark to get the perfect show, and this photographer has done exactly that. There are millions of pictures of the Tor every year but only one like this.”

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Photo by Luke Stackpoole, winner of the World History category

Luke Stackpoole, from Churt, takes first in the World History category with his image of Fenghuang Ancient Town, China. Fenghuang Ancient Town is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List and was built in 1704.

Judge Philip Mowbray commented: “The most striking elements are the stilts and their reflections which is amplified by the photographer using portrait orientation for the shot. Also, the way the photographer has captured both people and lit-up interiors shows the structures are still part of people’s everyday lives.”

Photo by Steve Liddiard, Overall Winner 2022

Finally, the 2022 overall winner is Steve Liddiard, from Swansea, with his photograph of a ruinous wool mill in the Welsh countryside. Abandoned for over 60 years, the stunning colours of the wool still sit upon the shelves and the spindles of the machinery.

Judge Claudia Kenyatta described it as: “A beautiful example of nature claiming the industrial heritage of the Welsh wool industry”.

Judge Rich Payne, Executive editor for History at Little Dot Studios, added: “I admired the juxtaposition between the artifice of the wool’s colours and its natural material, as well as the clash of artificial and natural colours.” Liddiard also topped the overall winner category in the 2021 competition.

33 talented amateur photographers made the 2022 shortlist, which can be viewed on the Historic Photographer website. Entries ranged from ancient structures steeped in legend, to well-known, incredibly preserved historic sites around the world.

While some photographs gave new perspectives on prestigious historic sites such as the ancient city of Petra, others highlighted surprising histories of industrialisation, abandonment and endurance, as seen in the entries showcasing Sandfields Pumping Station in Lichfield, Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast and Fenghuang Ancient Town, China.

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Dan Snow, Creative Director at History Hit, said: “As always, judging these awards was a highlight for me. It is clear that the stunning entries that make up the shortlist are the product of patience, technical skill, and an awareness of both the past and the present. The creativity and talent on show was next to none. It was a pleasure to see the diverse range of disciplines photographers used to highlight history including landscape, urban and aerial photography. I can’t wait to see what work is entered into next year’s competition.”

Claudia Kenyatta, Director of Regions at Historic England and Historic Photographer of the Year Judge added: “These awards are a great inspiration to photographers around the globe and showcase stunning historic places. I’m delighted to be a judge once again. The atmospheric photograph of Glastonbury Tor at sunrise is a deserving winner of the Historic England category and captures the legends, stories and history that surround this ancient hill. It is a beautiful place to explore and take in the view. This image helps people understand more about England’s history and the achievements that have been made over the centuries.”

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