Young members

Photographer of the Year ​2017 winners announced

Institution News Team

Over 18s and overall winner 2017 - "Ancestors" by Kasun Weeraskara, South Asia Region
Over 18s and overall winner 2017 - "Ancestors" by Kasun Weeraskara, South Asia Region

The winners of the Institution’s Photographer of the Year Award 2017 speak about the engineering that compelled them to capture their inspiring images.

In one of our most popular competitions, entrants were invited to submit photographs on the theme of ‘Engineering in Transport’.  Entries were judged by a panel of leading industry professionals, who were looking for photographs that were ambitious, creative and thoughtful.

The winning photograph (over-18s category) was taken by Kasun Weerasekara, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. His atmospheric image of a cart is entitled, ‘Ancestors’.

The under-18s winner was Elena Smart, from St Albans, who is currently in Year 10 and studying for her GCSEs. Her photograph of Westminster Tube station, entitled ‘Going Underground’, shows its intricate interior.

Kasun began taking photographs in 2008. As a gift for gaining a place at university his mother gave him a Nikon 5200 digital SLR camera, which he used to take ‘Ancestors’. He is self-taught, with the help of YouTube. This is the first prize that he has won for his photographs, many of which reflect his love of hiking and nature.

He took the ‘Ancestors’ image in 2015; the cart in the photo is in Kasun’s home town. The judges commented the image was “atmospheric and beautiful”, and “thought-provoking”, adding:

“Although the form of transport depicted is quite primitive, this image totally conveys the theme. It shows how far transport has come from its origins but also proves that nothing much has essentially changed in how transport is built today.”

Asked how he felt when he heard that he had won, Kasun said, “It was unbelievable! I plan to buy new lens for my camera with the prize money. I hope to capture many creative photos in the future.”

As well as continuing with photography, Kasun says it has been his dream since childhood to become an aircraft engineer. He is a member of his university’s UAS team, which will be participating in the Institution’s UAS Challenge in 2018.

Elena, whose favourite subjects are physics, maths and geography, also aspires to become an aerospace engineer. She says the news that she had won a prize for her photograph came as a shock, “I was surprised but delighted as well!”

Under 18s winner - " Going Underground" by Elena Smart, Europe Region

Under 18s winner - " Going Underground" by Elena Smart, Europe Region

She was inspired to focus on the Tube for an interesting composition not least because she feels many people don’t notice the great engineering behind everyday objects and places.

“I was amazed by the scale of the station, considering it is underground, and the intricate engineering that is displayed in this particular photo, with the lights, the escalators, and the building itself. I really like the way engineering is used in everyday life and that people really benefit from it. I think engineering is taken for granted, especially the complexity of it because people may see things like this tube station every day, but they might not stop to think about the building itself.”

The judges agreed that her composition revealed the beauty of engineering, saying the photograph wouldn’t look out of place framed on a wall. They commented that Elena’s photo represented:

“A good example of the engineering that has gone into the creation of a key part of the transport network. The civil engineering that can be seen in the station within this photograph is impressive.”

Elena’s next steps are to gain her GCSEs, but she intends to keep up her photography hobby. Looking to the future she says:

“I want to study engineering at university and then go on to be an aerospace engineer – designing and constructing spacecraft.”

Find out more about the Photographer of the Year Competition run by the Young Members' Network.


Professional Engineering magazine

Professional Engineering app

  • Industry features and content
  • Engineering and Institution news
  • News and features exclusive to app users

Download the Professional Engineering app

Professional Engineering newsletter

A weekly round-up of the most popular and topical stories featured on our website, so you won't miss anything

Subscribe to the Professional Engineering newsletter

Opt into your industry sector newsletter

Related articles