Unity Photo Competition - And The Winner Is...... / by Michael Rennie

Thanks to everyone for their patience waiting on this result, it's been a really hard decision; all the entries were great, I'd love to give you all a prize but unfortunately, I've only got one Ihagee Exa to give away this time!

I hope the new owner enjoys the camera, takes some great pictures and shares their experience with us.

I've spent some time with a needle and thread repairing the ever-ready case that comes with the camera and if I don't say so myself it's looking rather lovely; now sitting packaged up with a roll of Tri-X 400, it's ready to head to her new owner!

I started this competition as I had this beautiful camera sitting gathering dust and I wanted to see it being used as it should be, play it forward as they say.

I also wanted to inspire people to think along the theme of 'unity' and submit their best shot on the theme and you did, with a little help on the promotion front from Hamish at 35mmc. I was frankly overwhelmed with the quality and number of entries, thank you all for getting involved, we're all united in the pursuit of photographic satisfaction at least!

Again thanks to all that got involved with the competition, I loved all you work and comments! 

So, without further ado, the results:


Third Place - Edgar So

I love this image for the colours, the detail and the candid scene it depicts, a great shot. Fantastic work Edgar!

Fishers Talk
This shot took in Viet Nam, the fisher work is show their freedom and unity.


Second Place - Arko Højholt

So close, yet so far.  This image appealed to me due to the strong composition and layers, a great second place! Great stuff Arko! 

This Summer I spent a few weeks in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The landscape there is as flat as they come; apart from the occasional dike keeping the few rivers and streams in place, there’s really nothing sticking up anywhere, not even cute little hills like the ones you see in Denmark, just a few kilometers north. It’s the perfect area for the lazy cyclist and the weak-ankled runner — and it’s absolutely perfect for worry-free sheep husbandry: one can keep an eye on the herd from afar, there’s a range of different marshland grasses that the sheep dig madly, and there’s a complete absence of, say, wolves. Which is why you see thousands of sheep grazing there. 

I spent many hours just walking around with my daughter, not just on the roads but also in the animal’s pastures (avoiding droppings like a couple of Super Marios), and I of course also had a camera on me on the walks and took quite a few pictures of these woolly beast. Most of the pictures came out rather boring, but I did get this one that I’m quite happy with.

 We were walking on a pasture that ran over a dike, which gave the scene a rare bit of vertical play, and happened to walk past this little flock of nine animals that froze completely when we got near. I only got to shoot a single frame; the next second the flock had sprinted off, all headed in the same direction at the same speed, rubbing their frightened little sheep shoulders as they moved as one fluid body down the dike. I couldn’t help wondering about this behaviour, this flock mechanism that visually reminded my so much of how a large number of birds can be seen moving about in the sky. How does it work, how is it communicated? 

A few days later I happened to meet the owner of this particular herd (and countless others) and asked him about it. He explained to me that sheep have an extremely strong flock instinct and that a sheep actually can become extremely depressed if separated from the others. But what was really interesting, in my opinion, is the fact that sheep also have a strong instinct to follow a leader — but that flocks in fact don’t have leaders as such. In a scenario like the one my daughter and I witnessed on the dike, the “leader” may just be the first one to react, to move. So, we’re not talking about a strong hierarchical arrangement, of elected sheep kings or queens, no, we’re talking pure “non-spoken” mutual understanding on a very primal level. And this, I think, is a beautiful example of symbiotic nature, of, yes, true unity. A flock that, however large it may be, behaves like one single animal.


Winner - Hendrik-Jan Hop

The instant I saw this image I knew it was the winner, it nails the theme of Unity as well as being a beautiful image.

Great work Hendrick and you will soon be the proud owner of my beautiful Ihagee Exa, I look forward to seeing what you can produce with it and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have! When you grow tired of it please play it forward to another willing owner.

This is a photo of my daughter having a bath with her friend. They grew up together and didn't see any colour difference. In these times where people sometimes oppose each other a bit too much, I think it is a nice image and a good show of unity between people/kids. 

Btw, I love your initiative!

I'd love to hear all your thoughts on the result and stay tuned as I hope Hendrick might share some of the images he creates with this beautiful camera!


Read more about the competition from the links below and I thanks again to everyone for being involved in the competition

See the first post here.

See the shortlist here.