What Is Leeds Like?

This is the title of a new photography competition being run by Leeds City Council.  The public are invited to submit their snaps that capture for them what Leeds is like in 2011.

And the prize for What Is Leeds Like?  The council and its partners may use your images in a report and in any other publication they wish, to portray the city.

On the one hand I admire the enterprise.  No doubt, strapped for cash, they can’t afford to commission a professional, or even to buy some of the existing great product of the Leeds photography community.  A quick search on flickr for Leeds 2011 produces over 28 000 images.

But  it feels a little one sided…

Is there a qualitative difference between professionally commissioned and briefed city portraiture and the chocolate box approach of a ‘send us your snaps’ competition?  Is there a danger of de-professionalising photography?  Or is it just another creative industry that needs to wake up to the fact that we are all creatives now?

So what could the council do that would meet its requirements for low/no cost but high quality photography and provide a meaningful and powerful platform for Leeds photographers?

So, Leeds photographers, what would you value as a prize in such a competition?


Delighted to see the Beyond Guardian Leeds have launched an alternative  photo competition through which I hope they can really attract attention to some great Leeds photographers.


  1. Only professional photographers worry about the de-professionalisation of photography. If an image makes the grade then it matters not if it were commisioned from a pro, or uncle Joe who happens to know how to use his camera and had uploaded the image to the comp. If the standards of the judges are high enough and they have a photographic eye, then the best image will win out, regardless of who/how it was taken.


  1. […] life in 2011. We suggested that we should do something alternative to the council’s vision, people seemed into it, so now it’s on […]

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