Silver in the single image category was won by UK photographer Ben Hodson who started his career whilst studying his A-levels. Influenced by artistic parents and encouraged by his Grandad ("he lent me his Canon EOS 10"), Ben formed an interest in how he could impact the world around him in a creative way. Whether working on artistic projects or commercial assignments, Ben takes a documentary approach to his work and is greatly influenced by Carl De Keyzer's ability to give a powerful insight into the culture he is documenting. "Gregory Crewdson's dramatic and almost cinematic photos have also inspired my work along side his mastery of artificial light," Ben explains.
The winning image was taken as part of Ben's "About Here" project. "The project uses traditional black and white medium format photography to investigate the relationship between Luton and its residents," Ben says. "I decided to enter My Backyard because I hadn't entered a competition for a while and they are a great way of getting industry feedback: it is sometimes hard to rate how successful your own image is!"
Ben would urge others to enter competitions. "Competitions give the photographer the opportunity to hear relevant feedback. They help push the levels of quality and creativity which are essential to keep the industry progressing." He feels inspired by the incredible wealth of talent in the LPA and feels that the way it promotes its members is a real benefit to any photographer.
Ben's ultimate aim is to work with his photographer wife in an environment where their work helps bring about positive change. "I approach all my photography as a challenge," he explains. "Behind the imagery there is always an idea or purpose. I want to learn to convey this idea as coherently as possible."
He is about to complete a commission by London Luton international airport (www.lutopiaproject.co.uk): the project looks at Luton as a whole and centers around the airport as a subject. "I am interested in the passing of time and photography's ability to fragment time and freeze a moment," Ben says. "I cannot think of a better subject than an airport: it is one of few places where everyone is constantly aware of what time it is."