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Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009
Julia's picture wins Norfolk church photo challenge
Julia Cameron's winning photograph of St Stephen's

A woman who pursued her passion for photography after being made redundant has won a competition with her striking picture of a Norwich church.

Julia Cameron's shot of St Stephen's Church through a window shows golden light flooding on to the stone arches and the reflection of autumn trees.

Its composition clinched the judges' vote in the contest to celebrate the city's 32 standing medieval churches.

"I'm really thrilled to have won," said the 54-year-old from Norwich.

Nearly 160 entries were sent in to the competition set up by the Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART).

It's the second year that the organisation has run a photography competition.

It was a friend's success in one of the categories last year that inspired this year's winner to enter, and she found this year's subject a gift.

Beautiful churches

"The churches in Norwich are so beautiful," said Julia, who moved to the city from Surrey eight years ago.

"I took photographs of St Peter Hungate, St Peter Mancroft and St Stephen's Church.

"I took 200 photos through the window alone at St Stephen's. You can't take that photo now as they're doing work and they've built a wooden screen by the window," she added.

Although Julia has been taking photographs for around 25 years, her hobby has taken a more serious edge since she took voluntary redundancy from her job as an education lecturer in the summer.

"Taking photographs has helped me to get over the bump of taking redundancy," she said.

"I've been a teacher for 35 years - I've worked in primary schools, secondary schools, as a supply teacher and in higher and adult education, so I felt it was the golden opportunity to take something else up.

"There's no preparation of lessons and marking to do - I can just go out and take photos and do something creative.

"There's freedom with a camera," she added.

Her success in the competition has boosted her confidence and she's hoping it could help to launch her as a professional photographer - a job that would go hand in hand with being a mother.

"I have a five-year-old daughter and I need to do something where I'm available for her," said Julia.

Competition exhibition

Julia's photo will go on display alongside the winners and shortlisted entries in the competition's eight categories at an exhibition at The Forum, Norwich, between 22 February and 5 March 2010.

The venue's digital gallery, Fusion, will also run a programme to complement the exhibition from 1 to 13 March, and some of the photos may be used in a book on the city's medieval churches that HEART is publishing next year.

Christina Lister, communications manager at Norwich HEART, said: "The judges were very impressed with the standard of entries, which showed creative, inspiring and thought-provoking approaches to the categories.

"We hope the upcoming exhibition will act as a good showcase for both the photographs and for the churches."

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