Community Features

“It was more than just a photo competition – it was for local people from all walks of life to come together.”

Chris Walker reflects upon this years’ Clerkenwell Community Photography Competition, now in its second year

A man stands on a roof top painting the roof in stark black and white shot
Pear Tree Court by Zipu Zhu.

After the success of last year’s inaugural Clerkenwell Community Photography Competition, I am delighted to report that this year’s competition attracted even more entries. They were announced at a well-attended exhibition opening in Hatton Garden where all the shortlisted amateur photographers were invited. This year the exhibition was hosted by one of the competition sponsors, Dorrington, at one of its recently refurbished buildings, The Bindery at 51-53 Hatton Garden, which features a light gallery space on the ground floor.

A small child looks out of a bus window in stark black and white
Clerkenwell Bus by Heidy Vanessa Gonzalez Rojas

This year’s theme was ‘My Clerkenwell’ and showed how differently people see Clerkenwell and EC1. Over 500 shots were entered in five different age categories and we seemed to have a bigger variety of ages and images this year. The standard of the under-12s and 12 to 18-year-old groups was especially encouraging, and it was hard to tell them from the older, more experienced entrants. Once again, the judges found choosing their favourites extremely tricky and the Under 12s section was tied. Fergus McCann-Bottyan showed it always pays to look beyond the normal with his view from Hayne Street. As Fergus put it: “I saw a drain, looked into it, it was Barbican Station and a tube was there!”

A pigeon walks on the rainbow markings of a playground surface
Three Corners Park by Indiana Passmore

Indiana Passmore took a striking graphic shot of a pigeon in Three Corners park while Heidy Vanessa Gonzalez Rojas produced a stunning series of shots. “The word that comes to me when I think of Clerkenwell or EC1 is “home”,” she said. “It’s where I’ve lived since I was one year old, where I’ve gone to school, swimming lessons and clubs. It’s a place I’m proud to call my home.”

Sam Ingram dominated the 12-18 age category with some really mature street portraits, but it was his architectural shot of 152 Lever St that impressed the judges.

The 19-34 category was won by another photographer taking a different look at the area, like Fergus in the under-12s. Tugce Karapinar captured this unusual take of Seddon Highwalk near Barbican Station.

A woman rips up sheet music, shot in black and white
Loss of Connection by Tessa Sheridan

One of the most photographed locations this year was Exmouth Market and in the 35-65 age group, it was a very different take on this theme that won. Thomas Casey’s ‘Exmouth Market in the Rain’ was described by one of the judges as “a cross between Edward Hopper and Bladerunner”. And in the over 65s, all of the judges loved this powerful shot by Tessa Sheridan taken outside LSO St Luke’s, Old Street. It shows founder member Grace, 98, tearing up her sheet music in protest after the LSO closed its local community choir after 19 years (as reported in the last ECI Echo).

A row of people play chess in the open air
St John’s Square by Richard Betson

There were quite a few shots of the regular chess games that take place in St John’s Square, but it was Richard Betson’s shot that took the Peel Prize for ‘My Clerkenwell Community’.

The main sponsors, Central District Alliance, provided a special prize for best capturing ‘My Clerkenwell at Work?. Here, the judges’ favourite was this shot of a roof worker by Zipu Zhu.

In summary, the quality of work has been ridiculously high and we had many superb shots that didn’t even make the short-list.

Clerkenwell has always had a reputation for creativity – and it’s clearly as strong as ever. As professional photographer and one of the judges, Phil Haynes, said: “I was really impressed by the breadth of quality and creativity through all of the age groups, but what caught my attention the most was the love for the area that I felt at the awards night. The people who entered the competition are proud of where they live and its rich history.

A kitchen worker works on the line
Sekforde Street by Eraldo Strumiello

“It was more than just a photo competition – it was for local people from all walks of life to come together and share their creative visions of the area.”

The exhibition at The Bindery, 51-53 Hatton Garden, ran until late October.

A small exhibition is now on show at SoapBox Youth Centre, 69-85 Old Street EC1V 9HX. Many of the shots can be seen from the Central Street side of the youth centre. Boards kindly printed and installed by sponsors Leap and B-Print. If you’d like to see the shots inside, please email [email protected]

For full details, visit:

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