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Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Wednesday, 9 June 2010 13:38 UK
Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards 2010 open
Landscape photographer, Charlie Waite with his beloved dog, The Tank
Charlie started his career in the theatre photographing actors

The Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards 2010 are open for submissions.

Now in their forth year, the awards are the brainchild of professional photographer Charlie Waite from Gillingham.

The awards attract photographers worldwide and have a total prize fund worth £20,000.

Anyone can enter the awards and have until the 15 July 2010 to submit their photos in the competition.

'Artistic tool'

Charlie said: "I believe that people who pick up a camera and use it as a response to their surroundings, will be hugely enriched by the experience.

"I thought it would be a lovely thing for people to be encouraged to pick up a camera and see it as an artistic tool, not just as a piece of recording equipment - and that's why I came up with these awards."

Charlie left school at 16 and by his own admission was "a complete academic failure".

He started out life in the theatre where he soon became fascinated by lighting, which he believes is the "key" to great photography.

He said: "Lighting is what I call the great catalyst, it can really enlighten and move people."

'Emotional response'

Charlie added that in order to take the best possible photograph you cannot simply point your camera at something and press the button.

He said: "If you do that, it won't evoke your own emotional response.

"You need to ensure that the image you eventually produce will have parity with what you experience yourself, and hopefully will awaken something in other people.

"It's really about organising the construction of the photograph.

"You have to investigate every single element of the picture."

'Engaging' with nature

Geese at Charlie Waite's home in Gillingham
Charlie believes we are 'too separated' from the natural world

Although Charlie began his career photographing actors, it was landscapes that soon became his passion.

He said: "I think the natural world is a place where I would like to be - I'm not the modern man.

"I think, in a way, we're dislocated from the natural world, we're too separated.

"There are two worlds going on - our own world where we have to work and bring in money, and the the natural world which I think we just get further and further away from.

"Some people say, 'why do you have to photograph everything, it separates you from it, why can't you just look at it and enjoy it?'

"My answer to them is, 'I'm looking at it more intensely and engaging with it more than you ever will'.

"I look at raindrops, at the way wind has an affect on trees, the surface of water, the reflections - everything."

Competition categories

The Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards 2010 are open to everyone and you can enter up to 15 photographs across the four categories:

  • Classic view is the category for landscape photography in its purist form; sweeping views that capture the beauty and splendour of the UK in one image
  • Living the view is the category for images of people interacting with the outdoors - working or playing in the UK landscape
  • Your view allows the entrants to express what the UK landscape means to them through photography. It is a way to comment on the way we treat our landscapes and a chance to provide a new way of looking at our environment
  • Urban view is a new category for 2010. With almost 80% of the UK population living in built-up areas, the landscapes that we connect with on a day-to-day basis are increasingly of an urban nature

Charlie said: "An urban view is the view most people associate with.

"You can find a striking landscape view in the middle of a major city - it's not just in a park, it could be in a street, in a building or on a tram."

'Non professional'

The majority of the people who enter the awards are non professional
Charlie Waite - the UK's foremost landscape photographer

There is both an adult and a junior title for the awards.

Charlie said: "It's really important to get young people taking photographs.

"The winners of the youth section get to join me on a workshop and we've been to various different parts of Britain in the past. The last one I did was in Weymouth.

"People who enter don't have to be professional - in fact the majority of the people who enter the awards are non professional, they just love their photography.

"And interestingly enough an enormous number of people who enter images, produce photographs that are really striking and I have to watch my back - I think, 'my goodness I'm a landscape photographer, but look at the standard of some of this work'."

If you would like to enter the competition you have until 15 July 2010 to submit your photos.

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