The SWCP Photographer of the Year 2021 competition will be back soon, and this year our theme will be all about exploration.
So don’t wait until it the competition opens to pick up your camera, get out there now and get snapping! You can find lots of great circular and linear walks to inspire your adventures by using the Walk Finder (in the top navigation of the website).
As always, we’ll be teaming up with friends of the Coast Path to offer a fantastic prize for our winner and we’ll be working with a top-notch judge to help us pick the winner.
Check back to this page soon for updates or sign up to our newsletter for updates straight into your inbox. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where we’ll announce the open date.
One question we get a lot is 'How many photos can I enter?' - There is no limit so you'll be able to enter as many as you like. You'll also be able to put any entries forward for our special Climate Crisis Capture Awards (see below for more info).
SWCP Photographer of the Year 2021 Key Dates
Open date: August 2021
Closing date: January 2022
Announcement: March 2022
Meet last year's winner
Let us introduce you to photographer extraordinaire Lee Searle, SWCP Photographer of the Year 2020 who won the competition with this incredible shot at Porthcurno, West Cornwall.
Lee Searle, a photographer from Penzance was named the South West Coast Path Photographer of the Year 2020 for a breath-taking scene snapped during a stormy winter’s day
Lee's photo was taken on a section of the Coast Path overlooking Porthcurno beach and beat tough competition from over 1,300 other entries from across the South West region. Lee took home not only the title, but a £500 voucher thanks to sustainable kit provider Finisterre.
Judging the competition was a panel of professional photographers; Quintin Lake, Clare James and Ben McConnon. On the winning photo the judges said:
- "A breath-taking scene, beautifully captured. The birds and waves' dynamic interplay makes for a captivating subject enhanced by a well-controlled tonal range and composition." Quintin Lake
- “The energy, movement and wildness of this shot sums up the Coast Path for me and the way the birds are moving around the rock and waves.” Clare James
- “Water is a notoriously tricky subject, but Lee balanced things perfectly - freezing the birds in flight yet allowing the power and pace of the waves to come through.” Ben McConnon
We would like to extend our thanks to the 2020 judging panel: Quintin Lake, Clare James and Ben McConnon.
Read more from the judges
Focussing in on climate change
We also presented a special Climate Crisis Capture Award for the photo that best communicated important issues that are threatening the Coast Path such as; coastal erosion, pollution, rising sea levels, loss of biodiversity, loss of habits and extreme weather. This category will feature again in our 2021 competition.
Dorset-based photographer James Loveridge was awarded our special Climate Crisis Capture Award for his dramatic photo taken in Lyme Regis during Storm Ellen. Matthew Pontin, Creative Director of Fotonow who judged the Award said, “There’s something really explosive about this image. I love how the nature of the rising wave sits alongside the building, making it look so fragile compared to the sea. The brooding sky above is a reminder that the climate crisis is hanging over us, demanding we take action.”
Winner of the special award, James Loveridge said, “Living on such a dynamic stretch of coastline as the Jurassic Coast, I've seen the changes over the last two or three decades in many of my favourite locations and the increasing intensity and frequency of storms that shape the beaches and cliffs.”