Leeds: Art in the City

Rainbow Falls by Bill Ward.
Rainbow Falls by Bill Ward.
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An exhibition of landscape photography arrives in Leeds station on Friday (May 20) – bringing the countryside into the city centre. Yvette Huddleston reports.

anyone who happens to be passing through Leeds station over the next week is in for a visual treat.

Zigzag by Lizzie Shepherd.

Zigzag by Lizzie Shepherd.

Leeds is one of five of the country’s busiest railways stations to be hosting an exhibition of photographs from the Landscape Photographer of the Year 2015 Awards. The touring show of sixty images, which began its journey at Birmingham New Street at the end of last month, arrives in Leeds tomorrow for ten days, having travelled from Liverpool Lime Street. After Leeds it will go on to Edinburgh’s Waverley station, terminating at Reading.

The awards were set up ten years ago by top UK landscape photographer Charlie Waite to showcase the beauty of Britain’s landscape – both rural and urban – and to highlight the talent of the country’s best photographers.

North Yorkshire-based Lizzie Shepherd won the Living the View category of the competition with her image Zigzag, taken in Wensleydale and featuring a snowy hillside criss-crossed by drystone walls. “It’s quite a prestigious competition so I am delighted,” she says. “The picture was taken in an area near the village of West Burton and it was a nice winter’s afternoon with a bit of snow around. I got to the top of a hill just as a mini-blizzard blew in and I noticed this zig-zag pattern and a tiny person in the distance, which I managed to capture. I took a few more shots afterwards but by that time the person had disappeared. It was one of those chance occurrences – the main thing is to be ready to take a picture.”

Shepherd has no formal training in photography but became interested in it as a student at university in Edinburgh, taking it up more seriously around ten years ago and has been a full-time professional photographer for the past four years. “I built up my knowledge through reading, experimenting and talking to people,” she says. “I do some travel and commercial photography but my main love is landscape and nature. I’ve been living in Yorkshire for 17 years now and I do find it inspiring. I consider myself lucky to be living somewhere there is so much beauty. I’m about to start work on a photographic guide to the Yorkshire Dales with another photographer which I think will be very enjoyable – it’s going to involve plenty more trips out to the Dales.”

The winner of the Adobe Prize – for his image Rainbow Falls, a striking photograph of Kidson Force in Swaledale – is actor Bill Ward who has played farmer James Barton in Emmerdale since 2013. A keen photographer since the tender age of six, Ward manages to combine his photography with his busy acting career and his work has appeared in several exhibitions.

“It’s something I have always done, but more consistently for about the last six years,” he says. “I work my photography around my acting schedule and in lots of ways they dovetail together. With Emmerdale it’s unlikely that I will be filming all five days, so I do my scenes, learn my lines and with any other spare time I try to get out.”

He took his award-winning shot on a wet and windy early spring day while on a walk between Keld and Muker. “Since I’ve been working on Emmerdale I have been exploring the Yorkshire Dales and that day I had finished filming my scenes in the late morning so I decided to go up to Swaledale. Part of the reason for going there was that I had been doing various projects on waterfalls. Kidson Force is quite tucked away and it is one of the many beautiful hidden waterfalls in the Dales that I wanted to have a look at. I got there around 6pm as the light was just starting to go. It was one of those lovely evenings and there were all sorts of reflected colours in the falls.

“There was no-one else around and I just stood and watched for a while – it was a great experience. With photography you are recording memories as much as anything else. What I’m trying to do is less about capturing a place and more about how it felt to be there.”

The Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards exhibition is at Leeds station from May 20-29.

Marika Hackman at The Wardrobe, Leeds. Picture: Gary Brightbart

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