Picture Gallery: CPRE Corbin Prize winners capture Norfolk’s changing landscape

Exhibition of the Corbin Prize finalists at the Fairhurst Gallery in Norwich. From left: Josh Simmon

Exhibition of the Corbin Prize finalists at the Fairhurst Gallery in Norwich. From left: Josh Simmons, Hakan Tokbay and George Alexander. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Offshore wind turbines and crumbling cliffs are among the most striking symbols of Norfolk's evolving landscape – according to the winners of a schools photography competition.

xxx03_CPRE Corbin Prize: Wet Feet, by George Alexander

xxx03_CPRE Corbin Prize: Wet Feet, by George Alexander - Credit: George Alexander

The annual Corbin Prize is run by the Norfolk branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE Norfolk) alongside the county council. It aims to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation of the countryside.

xxx04_CPRE Corbin Prize: Life on a Cliff Edge, by Hakan Tokbay

xxx04_CPRE Corbin Prize: Life on a Cliff Edge, by Hakan Tokbay - Credit: Hakan Tokbay

This year's theme of 'Norfolk: A Changing Landscape' drew entries from students across the county, with many focusing their lenses on the region's eroding coastline.

xxx01_CPRE Corbin Prize: Human Changes, by Josh Simmonds

xxx01_CPRE Corbin Prize: Human Changes, by Josh Simmonds - Credit: Josh Simmonds

Winner of the senior category (Years 10 to 13) was George Alexander of North Walsham High School with a photo named Wet Feet, inspired by the threat of rising sea levels.

xxx02_CPRE Corbin Prize: Old and New, by William Walton

xxx02_CPRE Corbin Prize: Old and New, by William Walton - Credit: William Walton

George, 16, from Bacton, said: 'It is running on a sandbank and it is the aspect of the sea, and the groynes and the houses, saying it is not going to be there much longer. I live by the sea and we have a lot of flooding as well, so it is affecting us as well as everybody else. We are living in the middle of everything that is happening.'


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The judges said: 'This particularly striking image prompts an emotional response from the viewer. The androgynous figure in particular is both mysterious and thought-provoking - it looks as if it has emerged from the sea.'

Runner-up in the senior category was Josh Simmons of Gresham's School in Holt, whose photo Human Changes struck a contrast between the historic Salthouse Church in the foreground and an offshore wind farm in the distance.

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Josh, 18, from Great Witchingham, said: 'We saw the wind farm when me and my friend were walking down there. It is destroying the view. It is how the world goes round. It is nature at its best, but then ruined by something like that.'

The judges said: 'This was a lovely image of an iconic Norfolk scene that works well in black and white.'

In the junior category (Years 7 to 9), the winning entry was by William Walton of Norwich School, whose picture Old and New, taken at Caister-on-Sea, shows a military pillbox disappearing into the sand, while modern wind turbines emerge from the sea in the background.

The judges said: 'It is well-composed image and full of textures and angles with good interface between land and sea.'

The junior category's runner-up was Hakan Tokbay of Dereham Neatherd High School. His image Life on a Cliff Edge, portrayed a precarious cliff-top home doomed to destruction by the rapid coastal erosion at Happisburgh.

Hakan, 11, from Toftwood in Dereham, said: 'It is certainly about change because you can see the cliff has eroded and it is changing the people's lives, making them worse, because their house is about to fall off the cliff into the sea.'

The judges said 'This is a dramatic image from an unusual perspective. It was completely on-message and we felt this picture spoke convincingly to the competition theme.'

A surprise visitor to the awards ceremony was best-selling author and former CPRE national president Bill Bryson, who lives in Norfolk. He said: 'This is one of the things that I admire about CPRE Norfolk – it really engages with the public, and it does it with more imagination and at more levels than other county badges.

'This is a perfect example. Kids are exactly the people we need to reach out to and, when you look at their pictures, you realise they are very interested in the environment.'

Both category winners were given vouchers worth £350 from Norwich-based company Wex Photographic, while the runners-up were given vouchers worth £150.

Rob Lodge, of Norfolk Children's Services, presented the prizes. He said: 'The Norfolk countryside means different things to different people. It can be a place to live or work, a place for recreation and for inspiration.

'This year's entries have shown that children share many of our concerns about our landscape's future, and also share our appreciation for its beauty.'

The Corbin Prize was created in memory of Nicolas Corbin, one of the founders of the Norfolk branch of CPRE in the 1940s and a leading voice in the protection and conservation of the county's countryside for over 70 years until his death in 2009.

The prizes were presented at The Fairhurst Gallery on Bedford Street in Norwich, where the 12 winning and short-listed entries will be exhibited until April 12.

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