Carl Howard was researching noise reduction at gas-turbine power stations when he encountered the acoustic anechoic chamber that inspired his winning picture in this year’s Photographer of the Year competition, run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
“The chamber is a visual and aurally confronting room,” says Carl, a professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Adelaide, in Australia. “Whenever someone walks into the room, it always elicits a great response because of its unusual appearance and the unnerving quietness due to the absence of echoes. I thought it would make a striking photo.”
Carl has been interested in photography for 15 years and says it was a great surprise to win. He hopes it will help to promote research into identifying and solving noise issues faced by industries and communities.
“Digital photography is so easy to get into and one can rapidly and cheaply learn by trial and error,” he says. “Find an image that will generate a ‘wow’ or ‘what is that’ response by those who see it.”
In the under-18s category, the winning photograph was taken by Joshua Freemantle from Kessingland, in Suffolk, England. The 15-year-old says he loves landscape photography and stumbled across a bridge, which he felt was a “spectacular piece of engineering”.
Under-18 category winner by Joshua Freemantle
“It was such amazing news to find out I had won,” he said. “To be named the winner of the competition in the under-18s category is insane!”
Josh began taking pictures when he was only seven. He captured holiday memories, landscapes and unusual objects or sights. He plans on becoming a freelance photographer in the near future.
“Don’t be afraid,” is his advice. “Be proud of your creativity and capture the natural beauty in engineering.”
“The quality of photographs was really high,” says Gavin Kerby, one of the judges. “The winning images were produced by people who had a clear understanding of engineering and were able to portray this in a creative way.”
Gavin says they hope to see more people enter in the future. “Competitions like this are important in engaging not only engineers but future engineers. They give greater understanding of what engineering is and that it’s all around us.”
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The Photographer of the Year is run by the Young Members Board and International Young Members Committee and is free to enter. The competition is open to members and non-members of all ages and across the globe.