Sightsavers International photo contest

From waves crashing on a beach to freshly cut grass, or someone dancing to a tune on their ipod, students across the UK are being invited to take a photo that best evokes the senses. The i:click awards are a brand new national photography competition, aimed at students aged 11-18, being launched by leading blindness charity Sightsavers International.

By focusing on the theme of the senses, Sightsavers hopes that students will be encouraged to think about what it might mean to live without a sense such as sight. Sightsavers works in over 30 developing countries to treat and prevent avoidable blindness and to also improve life for those who are irreversibly blind. 45 million people in the world are blind, yet a staggering 75% of all blindness can be prevented or cured.

Well-known photographer Mary McCartney is supporting the i:click awards and explains why sight is so precious to a photographer: “It’s a way of communicating ideas with other people. We all see things from different perspectives. If ten people took photos of the same vase of flowers, the chances are that the resulting images wouldn’t look anything like each other.”

Mary had this advice for students wishing to enter: “It helps to choose a subject you’re really interested in that you can explore and learn more about. Take some time to think through the end result so that you don’t waste time and have to reshoot.”

Three national winners, one from each category (11-14 years, 14-16 years and 16-18 years), will be selected from a list of regional winners. The three lucky winners will each receive an SLR camera and enjoy a day out at an awards ceremony in London in the autumn, where their winning image will be the focus of an exhibition showcasing the best photos. In addition, the winners’ schools will receive a visit from a professional photographer who will give a teaching session for aspiring snappers.

The judging panel is headed up by Graeme Le Saux, former England and Chelsea footballer and himself a keen photographer. According to Graeme: “I wouldn’t say I’m any good at photography, but I’ve always been interested in the story a picture can tell. I love the fact that you can be creative when taking pictures. From my point of view it’s the composition that’s important as well as the subject – it’s all about balance.”

Schools and colleges interested in participating in the awards can find more information at or by contacting the i:click awards helpline on 01444 446727 for a free entry pack. Entries can be sent in on disc, as prints or via email and must be submitted by 12th September 2008. Winning photos will be exhibited at [email protected] on London’s South Bank from 22-26 October 2008.