Graham Love won Gold in the series competition. His pictures of lambing were taking at a farm which backs onto his own garden. Graham entered My Back Yard at the last minute - he initially overlooked the call to entry, and had to frantically search for the email when he’d taken the images and realised they fit the brief.
“I’d never seen lambs being born and thought it a good way to test out a new camera - a digital M8,” explains Graham. “My neighbour Chris is one of the good guys, a farmer with a big heart and a love of photographs. He gave me full access and I witnessed the highs and lows of lambing and the night-and-day work of Chris and his wife.
“I hadn’t expected it to be such a moving experience. Eventually I decide to focus on the birth of one lamb. The first four pictures in the series show her first 15 minutes of life. After a couple of days the lamb was ready to jump from her pen and explore the barn: a free lamb!
“I think it’s the last shot which really makes the series work. It was unexpected. Despite medication and plenty of TLC, a perfectly fit-looking lamb was dying from a genetic disorder which had stopped the development of her leg muscles. The sudden realisation that he could not save her hit Chris hard. The good news is that 73 lambs survived and are, at this moment, making a hell of a noise in a nearby field.”
Graham likes to think the winning images work because they have a strong narrative focus. His background is in journalism and he recognises the importance of the age-old story of life and death. “I also hope they give the viewer an insight into other lives which, like me, they have never seen before,” he says.
The highlight of his year (apart from his My Back Yard 5 win!) was photographing the mass migration of wildebeest and zebra - and their predators - from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara. “It’s called the greatest free show on earth, and it lived up to its billing,” he says.
“Photographers, of all people, know the importance of good exposure,” Graham notes. “Certainly my pictures chosen for the Royal Photographic Society’s 150th International Print Exhibition gained attention and I thank the LPA for this My Back Yard 5 award.”