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The eyes have it for Anthony
9:15am Wednesday 24th October 2012 in Features
STEPHEN LEWIS looks at another potentially award-winning portfolio of pictures from Press photographer Anthony Chappel-Ross
IT is the electric blue of the eyes that leap out at you in this stunning portrait of a muddy festival-goer at Bramham Park – that, and the cheeky pink tongue and brilliant white teeth.
Eagle-eyed Press readers will recognise this picture (PICTURE A). We first ran it in the newspaper more than a year ago, during the 2011 Leeds Festival.
We make no apologies for publishing the photograph again, however. Because it is one of a portfolio of five pictures, all reproduced on these pages today, which have led to our award-winning photographer, Anthony Chappel-Ross, being shortlisted for yet another major honour.
A year ago he was named regional photographer of the year in the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards – the industry’s Oscars.
He will be defending that title when he travels down to London on November 8, having been shortlisted for the same title again.
He can still scarcely believe it. “Winning the award is the highlight of anyone’s career,” he said. “To be shortlisted again, especially given the quality of work other photographers are doing, is absolutely amazing.”
It had been raining heavily when Anthony came across the young woman in our main picture at the Leeds Festival in August last year. She was larking around in the mud with a group of friends.
“They were all kind of muddyish. She was just messing about with her mates and she somehow ended up on the ground,” he recalled. He asked her to pose for the picture and she did, eyes a bright, icy blue, tongue out, teeth brilliantly white.
It is those contrasts which make the picture. And it is the contrast of colours that gives another of Anthony’s pictures such a surreal, unsettling quality (PICTURE B).
It was taken in a field of oilseed rape near Stamford Bridge. Entranced by the heady yellow of the rape flowers, he had been meaning for some time to take a photograph.
But he wanted something to make it stand out.
So he asked his models – former Miss York Naomi Smith and fellow Miss York contestants Hazel Mitchison, Cat Lyth and Anna Atkinson – to cover their faces and arms in blue body-paint. It made for a great, slightly eerie photo – and also prompted a police complaint. “Somebody reported to the police that there were some human-sized smurfs in the field,” Anthony said. Luckily, the officers who attended saw the funny side.
The other photographs in Anthony’s shortlisted portfolio show are:
• PICTURE C: Workmen repairing a pylon. He was on a day off and driving out to the coast when he saw this. What he loves about the picture is the perfect symmetry of it. There are actually two pylons pictured, one behind and some distance away. But the lines intersect at perfect angles, creating a satisfying geometry.
• PICTURE D: A car crushed when a lorry toppled on to it on the A64 at Hopgrove roundabout, York, last year. Miraculously, the people in the car – a woman and her elderly mother, who was in the passenger seat – escaped with comparatively minor injuries after the driver threw herself sideways into the passenger seat and pulled her mother down with her.
The lorry was carrying thousands of chickens and when Anthony arrived on the scene, he found hundreds of dead or injured birds scattered across the road. It is the odd sight of the chickens appearing to shelter beneath the overturned lorry that really makes the photograph, he said.
• PICTURE E: An army medical training exercise at Strensall. What Anthony found most daunting about taking this photo was that the woman in the picture was a real amputee. For the exercise, she was left on Strensall common and then asked to scream for help to summon medics taking part in the exercise.
“And while she was screaming, I was thinking, that must be taking her back to the past when she lost her leg,” Anthony said.
• The 2012 UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards will be held at the Honourable Artillery Company headquarters in London on Thursday November 8. We’ll let you know how Anthony got on…