14 February 2019
British photographer Jill Welham has been awarded the top prize for this year’s International Garden Photographer of the Year competition.
Beating 19,000 entrants from more than 50 countries, Welham won £7,500 for her photogram of Allium flower heads from her garden, which also topped the Abstract category.
The picture, entitled Fireworks, was created using a photogram printing process called wet cyanotype, where ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide are mixed to create a photosensitive solution which is then painted on to watercolour paper and left to dry.
The Alliums are placed between photosensitive paper and a plate of glass, and then exposed to light. When developed, the silhouettes from the flowers create an image on the paper in shades of green and blue.
The judges said: ‘Jill’s image has proven that even old techniques are still capable of relevance, originality and immense beauty. Her knowledge and passion for the process has resulted in an extraordinary exposure of the Allium, adding complex textures and colour profiles analogous to the pioneering botanical cyanotype prints by English botanist and photographer Anna Atkins in the first half of the 19th century.
‘The resulting exposure clearly draws from this rich and interesting heritage, but is unmistakably different in its approach and execution, making an image fit for the modern age in both its ability to communicate the beauty and importance of plant life as well as its capacity to represent the empowerment of women in art and science.’
See the other 17 category winners from this year’s competition below. All the winning images are now on display at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, kicking off a rolling programme of touring exhibitions in the UK and internationally. Find out more in the Photography Now calendar.
If you’re interested in entering the next International Garden Photographer of the Year competition (13), we’ve got all the details in our calendar. You have until 31 October 2019 to enter.
Beautiful Gardens Category Winner – Richard Bloom
‘Glorious early morning sun bathed The Summer Garden at Bressingham in rich, warming light. Ornamental grasses are featured with swathes of Aster and Rudbeckia.‘ – Richard Bloom
Breathing Spaces Category Winner – Andrea Pozzi
‘The sun had already risen and the dawn had been incredible. Wandering through the vegetation, however, I realised that the essence of the territory was only revealing itself in that moment. The extraordinary colours of the sunrise had dissolved, leaving behind a unique intimate feeling amongst one of the most beautiful mountain ranges on Earth.’ – Andrea Pozzi
Greening the City Category Winner – Halu Chow
‘I used infrared to precisely define the exact locations of plant life around the city, highlighting the scale and proximity of their presence. It is easy to forget the intimacy and importance of this relationship.’ – Halu Chow
The Bountiful Earth Category Winner – Suwandi Chandra
‘I hiked to the top of Pergasingan Hill early in the morning to catch the sunrise. The view was amazing as it overlooked the rolling hills opposite and Sembalun village below. Since most of the people here are farmers, they transform the valley floor into a patchwork of agriculture, growing rice, vegetables and even strawberries.’ – Suwandi Chandra
Wildflower Landscapes Category Winner – Robert Gibbons
I came across a spectacular array of summer alpine flowers on Mazama Ridge, including Castilleja, Lupinus and Anemone occidentalis, all adding character and texture to the scene as if by design.
Wildlife in the Garden Category Winner – Jonathan Need
‘A heavy snowfall brought a lot of hungry birds to my garden feeder. This old nearby tap provided a convenient resting place for this trio of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) while they waited for their turn to feed.’ – Jonathan Need
Black & White Category Winner – Simon Hadleigh-Sparks
‘Maples are ideal subjects for a black and white photograph. Their twisted trunks and multitude of angular leaves create detail, interest and immersive character.’ – Simon Hadleigh-Sparks
Macro Art Category Winner – Petar Sabol
‘The gorgeous, enriching light of a new day covered this pair of mayflies, basking on a backlit Papaver.’ – Peter Sabol
Captured at Kew Category Winner – Vincenzo Di Nuzzo
‘Opening the door of the Palm House at Kew is like entering a hidden paradise. It never fails to amaze me how fascinated and stunned I become in the presence of such natural beauty. I took this photograph whilst my friend was having a similar reaction to the sheer scale and abundance of lush tropical plants.’ – Vincenzo Di Nuzzo
Celebrating Our Oaks Category Winner – Alan Price
‘It was a misty winter morning when the first light of the sun illuminated the landscape, highlighting the bare and intricate form of this specimen oak tree.’ – Alan Price
European Garden Photography Category Winner – Scott Simpson
‘There cannot be too many gardens in Europe that combine cork oaks (Quercus suber) with manicured gardens. I was commissioned to photograph such a place at a luxury real estate property in Andalucía. The garden had the added bonus of a raised gazebo, which was nestled amongst the mature cork oaks.’ – Scott Simpson
Green Gibraltar Category Winner – Ernest Martinez
Mediterranean Steps, Gibraltar, by Ernest Martinez
The Spirit of Trauttmansdorff Category Winner – Harry Tremp
‘The golden hour was just approaching when I captured this view of Trauttmansdorff in October, the green of the deciduous trees just starting to begin their autumn transformation.’ – Harry Tremp
Young Garden Photographer of the Year – Jake Kneale
‘The rising sun backlit this group of lady’s smock (Cardamine pratensis) in a Wiltshire meadow. I used the aperture to turn the water droplets into beautiful bokeh and created a smooth, clean and glistening background.’ – Jake Kneale