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Life in coronavirus lockdown in frame of Highland photo competition winners

By Margaret Chrystall

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James Mackenie winner.
James Mackenie winner.

The three winners in a Highland photography competition offered contrasting close-ups on life in lockdown.

Entries to the FLOW Photofest competition came in from across the Highlands and Islands.

It was organised by Eden Court as part of a programme of creative challenges.

The winners were James Mackenzie from Golspie, for his shot of Dunnet Beach, Astra Bryson from Invergordon (for Daffodils) and Helen Anton from Inverness (for Abstract).

James Mackenzie said: “The shot was taken just before isolation on my mobile when we were visiting family in Caithness. It's one of the favourites taken on Dunnet beach. I called it The Sea. It always seems to be a windy day up there, we love to get out and wander along the sands and the kids play in the dunes.

“I'm sure it will be one of the first places we visit when we can get back to some normality."

Astra Bryson’s photographof Cromarty Firth has a sea of daffodils in the foreground.

Astra Bryson runner-up.
Astra Bryson runner-up.

She said: “Since lockdown I have been looking for ways to reduce loneliness and boredom. This competition was the perfect opportunity to do that. I love that in the Highlands we are never far from beautiful landscape and can still appreciate it on our daily walk.

“The photo reminds me that in times of trouble, there is still beauty and hope to be found. I am really pleased to receive the runner-up prize."

Helen Anton’s image is an abstract take taken while walking in Inverness.

"I love to photograph the daily, dullness of everyday life. There is so much in the everyday that we don't see and this has come to the fore for me during lockdown.

“I take a daily, solitary wander around the silent streets of Inverness and I've found it quite inspiring seeing the normally busy, people-filled streets empty.

Helen Anton's image was an abstract shot.
Helen Anton's image was an abstract shot.

“I've noticed things that I've never seen before and I'm seeing the familiarity of my home town in a new, different and interesting light."

Matt Sillars of FLOW Photofest said about the entries to the competition: “It was a real pleasure to see so many entries to the competition and to gain an insight into the diverse experiences of people and the way they are addressing social distancing.

“Many of the photographs were extremely positive and uplifting, others were quirky and fun, and many emphasised the isolation felt on daily excursions - so, it was really hard to choose prize-winners.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated and thank the staff at Eden Court for their hard work in helping people through this difficult period with their engagement programme.”

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