School of Geography

Worldview 2018: Winners Announced

3 May 2018

All current and former students and staff of the School of Geography were invited to submit images to the School's annual photo competition, Worldview, in five categories: Boundaries, City Life, Resilient Earth, My Place in the World and My Time at Queen Mary.

1st place: Switzerland © Amber Louisa Veacock

Out of more than a hundred images submitted to the competition, a photo of a lake in Switzerland captured the imagination of this year’s judging panel, as first-year geography student Amber Louisa Veacock scooped up the overall first prize in Worldview 2018

“The photo shows a lake on the way to the Fründenhütte mountain hut, on a warm day,” said Amber who submitted this photo in the Boundaries category. “People were taking in the beauty of the lake and paddling, with the majestic steep mountains in the background. There were people from all over the world, and everyone was so friendly.”

People's choice award: Lake Humantay, Machu Picchu © Amber Louisa Veacock

Amber managed to top this by also winning the people’s choice award, for her image of a man stacking stones on a ridge overlooking Lake Humantay, a lake on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu in Peru. She submitted this image in the Resilient Earth category.

"On this day, everyone on the trek skimmed stones on the completely still lake – the highest was 13 jumps. With the mountains behind, it was easy to feel dwarfed, and we were reminded how much power the natural earth has compared to humans. Even the tour guides who do the trek every week admitted they were in awe every time they visited," said Amber.  

2nd place: Alexandra Road Estate, Camden © James Biggin

Second place was awarded to third-year geography student James Biggin, for his image of the Alexandra Road Estate in Camden – also in the Boundaries category.

“I think this image represents a boundary firstly because of its fenced separation from the rest of the city in the picture, with the train line below it acting as a no-man’s land for which people are not allowed to cross,” explained James.

“Secondly, it is brutal, simplistic and lifeless body hides what is on the other side, where its sheer scale and lack of detail gives away no information for the viewer, making them imagine. Which side is the one you would want to be on? Maybe ours is the good one, maybe it is not, it is not a friendly boundary. I believe the overcast and misty backdrop also add to its mysteriousness by removing any colour from the image, leaving the mind to concentrate harder on what is there and the meaning of separation is represents.”

3rd place: Urban beauty, Stockholm © Weng Kin Chan

In third place, the panel awarded masters student Weng Kin Chan for his ‘Urban Beauty’ image submitted in the City Life category.   

“Taken in Stockholm on a cold weekend-getaway, this picture reflects the possibility of oneself being able to feel a sense of 'idyllicness' in the aftermath of snowfall,” said Weng Kin.

“Snow can illuminate what we see in an urban context, and when married with serendipitous rays of sunlight, give rise to sights in the city, which reminded me on how beautiful the world can be. In the midst of climate change narratives and the recognition that cities can be uncomfortable and unsightly places to live in, we need to cherish the innately beautiful places we inhabit on this planet.”

Staff prize: Koch barn, Kansas © Regan Koch

The winner of the staff prize this year was Dr Regan Koch, Lecturer in Human Geography, with his image of his family barn in Kansas.

“Long before I was an urban geographer, my place in the world was a farm in rural Kansas,” said Regan. “I love the contrast between the dark red building and the winter snow in this picture from last Christmas. You can just make out our family name on top.”

Alumni prize: Morning Dip, Auckland, New Zealand © Andrew Blaikie

The alumni prize was awarded to Andrew Blaikie, who graduated with a PhD in Geography in 1987, for his image entitled ‘Morning Dip’. The image was taken in Auckland in New Zealand, and Andrew said: “With the morning ferry incoming from Pier 1 to Devonport, a local swimmer emerges from the harbour. The local calm of the foreground belies the globalized activity of the CBD across the water. Although the line traversed by the ferry marks a visual contrast, the tide washing the beach reminds us that the perpetual rhythms of nature are also part of city life.”

Inclusivity prize: Salento, Colombia © Ryan Anderton

The inclusivity prize went to another alumnus, Ryan Anderton (Geography BSc 2012), whose image depicts a young boy wearing the traditional garments of the locals in Salento, Colombia, where the majority of people are coffee farmers and pickers.

“Colombia is one of the biggest exporters of coffee in the world, and the quality is well recognised as one of the best around. Salento has become a major tourist destination for discovering how the coffee is grown and to buy many wonderful artisan goods in the main square where this boy is riding his model horse, powered by the old man behind who’s pushing the cart around the stalls,” said Ryan.

Congratulations to all prize winners and thank you to everyone for submitting such fantastic images to the competition!

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