Monday, 18 March 2013


All this week at St Martins House, St Philip's Centre for Study and Engagement in a Multi-Faith Society  presents a collection of inspiring images from winners and finalists of Faith Through a Lens, an annual photographic competition attracting entries from all over the UK. Profiling faith in the community, entrants were judged across three categories:
  • Moments of Faith
  • Community Spirit Against the Odds
  • A Year of Service

Judges for the 2012 competition included renowned photo journalist Don McCullin, Minister for Faith and Communities, Baroness Warsi and the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP.

All copy below comes from the exhibition catalogue. All images are the property of  Congregational & General Insurance Company, sponsors of the competition.

Brothers in Arms
by Paul Tiller

This winning entry was praised by all the judges as an exceptional photograph focusing on two Romanian drug addicts who were helped by a Christian ministry. As an image it has immediate impact and was praised for clearly conveying the message of a moment of faith. It has fantastic use of light and has been closely cropped to create a real intensity in its composition. The New Testament seems almost luminous and there is a sense that the two men are in a world of their own as they read these words from the Bible. The photo was a unanimous favourite amongst the judges, with its compelling subject matter and excellent composition making it a worthy winner indeed.

Alfred's Lunch
by Sarah Phipps

Sarah's photograph was highly praised by the judges for profiling the work of unsung heroes who do so much "behind the scenes" in society. it's a simple act of giving someone a meal, but it's a powerful act nonetheless and portrays a positive community spirit message. It's a photograph that has both warmth and visual interest.

There but for the Grace of God
by Bob Boler

Excellent composition and good tonal balance makes this image stand out. There is a connection between the two people and the expressions on their faces are very well caught. it was judged to be powerful, with a sense of movement and several points of interest around the central characters. It's not just a case of "down and out" or a negative portrayal of homelessness. The photograph clearly portrays a service.

by Angela Broadberry

Singled out for its clear Eucharistic overtones, this photo was praised by the judges for its quality and tone of light. The composition was well liked there is a softness to the photo and calmness much like a still-life painting. The clarity of the lines on the person's hands gives the photo added character and depth.

Hands of Love
by Jennifer Humphreys

This photo was judged to have a strong composition and was well like by the judges with an overall image that symbolises community and openness. The photo speaks of an openness to receive and the strong bonds that exist between members of faith communities across the UK.

Eyes On Me
by Elija Paul Villanueava

A visually interesting image created through the use of colour. This photograph was praised for having a painting-like appearance, much like a Canaletto. The composition was also highlighted being strong with St Paul's Cathedral central to the image conveying a message of faith.

Love of Faith
by Ravin Mehta

The judges felt that this lively image reflected a positive powerful force. There is good colour balance and the setting of Trafalgar Square, the scene of many gatherings over the years, adds dynamism to the scene.

Interfaith Iftaar
by Riaz Ravat

A strong photograph demonstrating the cohesion in society as represented by many different faith and community groups coming together. It communicates diversity and multi-faith strongly and speaks of community spirit too.

by Ronnie Bindra

There is a great deal of vibrancy and activity within this photograph, with people giving, talking and sharing. This was thought to be a good representation of the category as well as being pleasing to the eye. It has a positive image of everyone working together. [I should add here that this photo was taken at the National Bahá'í Centre in Knightsbridge during Ayyám-i-Há, a short period that precedes the Bahá'í period of fasting every March. During Ayyám-i-Há, acts of charity, generosity and hospitality are emphasised. In this photo, people of many faiths and traditions are collecting toiletries to distribute to vulnerably homed people as part of a Year of Service project. - GMB]

by Gary Watson

This was thought to be a nicely composed photograph which captures a poignant moment that speaks about faith. The photographer has chosen to highlight certain elements of the scene with colour which draws attention and invites the viewer to question why?

Hope, Faith & Love
by Kamal Mostofi

The image portrays a very strong and dramatic image depicting uncomfortable subject matter. The central character's face shows the pain that homelessness can bring. The power of this photo comes from its clear and gritty portrayal of humanity, but its clear and gritty portrayal of humanity, but its photographic beauty comes from the fact that there is always hope, even in the midst of despair.

Helping Hands
by Bobbie Cook

This simple almost self explanatory street scene was singled out for its very powerful composition; in particular the figures of the elderly man stooped and walking with crutches in juxtaposition to the young helper. It portrays a sense of humanity and the prospect of hope in humanity and the prospect of hope in society too. This was judged to be an uplifting and poignant image.

Faith in the Community runs till 1200 on Friday 22 March. Revd Dr John Hall, Director of St Philip's Centre, presents Seeing is Believing: Exposing Themes for Dialogue, a reflective seminar discussing  themes of the exhibition's imagery and exploring the possibilities for further inter faith dialogue at 1800 on Tuesday 19 March in The Wycliffe Suite at St Martins House.

As I do at the end of all my blog posts referring to St Martins House, I refer any reader wondering about the omission of the possessive apostrophe from the building's name to a letter from Rev. Peter Hobson, Director of St Martins House, published in the Leicester Mercury, 29 March 2011.

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