MARVIN REES (Mayor of Bristol)
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees was born and brought up in Bristol. He is a Yale World Fellow and graduate of Operation Black Vote who has worked and studied in the UK and the US.
When elected Mayor of Bristol in May 2016, he became the first Mayor of Black African-Caribbean descent of a European City. He lives in Easton with his wife Kirsten, a Wellbeing coach, and their three children.
A former Public Health Worker and voluntary sector manager, Marvin was also a Broadcast Journalist for BBC Radio Bristol and regularly features on BBC Radio 5 Live, UJIMA and Bristol Community FM.
Marvin says: "I’m excited to be on this year’s judging panel and look forward to seeing how the new guidelines on smart phones will encourage more people to take part across the city. One of the biggest challenges we face in the world right now is division, so for this year’s competition I am interested in seeing images of human connectedness and how we live with each other. How are we together across difference?"
ALI VOWLES (BBC TV Presenter)
Ali Vowles was born in Bristol and has been presenting for BBC TV and radio for the past thirty years.
She is really looking forward to being part of the judging team and says: "Whether presenting in the studios for BBC Points West and BBC Radio Bristol or out with a cameraman and editing my own material – we have all had to adapt to changing technology. Believe me as the equipment gets smaller – the demands get greater! Taking photos and video footage for social media is now an integral part of the job – and knowing what works and what people will engage with, is vital.
“I’ve loved seeing some of the pictures from previous years, so I know what a difficult task it will be to choose. I’m hoping that lots of people will be inspired to take part with images of Bristol that show community life right across this wonderful city – not just in the city centre. Can you capture a bit of that Bristolian humour? Show me a portrait of some of the city's characters, from the hipsters to the true locals? I love this city and know there are some brilliant pictures to be taken. Get snapping!
Dr SHAWN SOBERS (Associate Professor of Lens Based Media at University of the West of England)
Shawn Sobers teaches Photography at UWE Bristol, where he is director of the Photography Research Group.
Shawn is a photographer, filmmaker and writer, and much of his work explores social history, untold stories, and personal narratives. His work has spanned a wide range of topics, including community media, creative education, Trans-Atlantic slave trade, disability & walking, and Rastafari culture. He co-founded Firstborn Creatives production company in 1999 and has made programmes for BBC 1, ITV West and Channel 4.
UWE Bristol has sponsored the new 'My Neighbourhood' prize category. Shawn says: "Bristol has a population of nearly half a million, making it the largest city in the South West. It is also one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse cities in Britain. What makes your neighbourhood special? We are looking for eye-catching images reflecting life and events in your community."
Shawn's photo tips include: "When you find an interesting scene or 'thing' to photograph, don't let IT do all of the work. You can make all the difference by the way you compose your photo and position your camera. For example, move closer, bend your knees, find an interesting angle or capture something else in the frame which counteracts with the scene. Taking photographs is as much about what you do with your body as what your eyes and lens can see."
MARTIN BOOTH (Editor Bristol 24/7 magazine)
Martin is the Editor of the community-owned monthly print magazine and news website, Bristol24/7.
He began his career at the Watford Observer as a trainee reporter in 2005 then became a senior reporter and news features writer at the Bristol Post before becoming editor of Bristol24/7 in 2014.
Martin made the news himself when he proposed to his then girlfriend Jo through the magazine, by starting each paragraph of a restaurant review with letters spelling out “Jo, will you marry me?” Luckily eagle-eyed Jo spotted the proposal, accepted, and they are now happily married with three children!
Martin is passionate about Bristol's food and drink scene and, when not at home with his family, can usually be found in one of the city's many cafés.
JOHN HIRST (Chief Executive, Destination Bristol)
John is Chief Executive of Destination Bristol. Working closely with his 600 members, key stakeholders and partners on a wide range of tourism initiatives for Bristol, John is raising the profile of the region as a world-class city to visit, study, work and live.
He is a keen snowboarder and cyclist and has completed several Bristol to Paris and Bristol to Bordeaux bike rides, raising thousands of pounds for Bristol charities
John has been a competition judge since 2014 and says:"Each year the competition has seen massive leaps forward and it looks like it will continue in 2017. I will be looking for exciting photographs illustrating all the great features and attractions in and around Bristol."
MICHAELA STRACHAN (Award-winning TV presenter, author & public speaker)
Michaela Strachan is one of Britain's best known TV presenters. She has been presenting since 1986 on a variety of programmes including The Wide Awake Club, The Hitman And Her, Michaela's Wild Challenge, Countryfile and The Really Wild Show, which she hosted for 15 years.
Although well known for presenting wildlife programmes, such as SpringWatch, AutumnWatch and Winterwatch with Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games, Michaela has also fronted One Man and his Dog and The Fossil Roadshow for the BBC, Great British Ghosts for Yesterday TV and the Full Bloom gardening series and Club Vegetarian cookery series for Granada TV. Michaela is also a regular guest on TV celebrity shows such as BBC One's Total Wipeout and ITV's Splash and Big Star Little Star where she appeared with her 10 year old son Ollie.
ANDY BUTLER (Founder - Mobiography)
Andy is a keen iPhone photographer and web developer from Preston, Lancashire and the creator of the mobile phone photography website and digital magazine, Mobiography.
Andy has always been interested in photography, but since discovering iPhone photography, he hasn't looked back. He has has been invited to speak at Mojocon, an international conference dedicated to mobile journalism, and his iPhone photos have been exhibited in Galway, Rome and Toronto.
Andy describes iphone photography as a breath of fresh air. He says: “I love the freedom mobile phone photography gives. I can shoot when and where I want and can edit and share on the go."
Andy has kindly provided competition entrants with the smartphone photography tips, links and tutorials on the Useful Info page of the website.
MARK TIPPING (Award-winning smartphone photographer)
Mark’s work is widely published in the Photography mainstream and on social media. He is a regular contributor to Black And White Photography magazine and has had his work exhibited in the UK and overseas.
Since realising the potential and opportunity of iPhonography, which he describes as “a revelation”, Mark's mobile photography has been featured in numerous publications, toured galleries around the UK and achieved competition success. He was invited to speak about smartphone photography at the 2017 Photography Show and is currently shooting concerts and festivals for major music artists and publications.
Mark says: “Mobile phones are discreet and portable, unlike many DSLRs, so try and exploit that. Take pictures of anything that interests you, but don’t stick to traditional angles or landmarks. Look for the unusual in people, buildings, and everyday life.”
MIKE PORTER (Managing Director, 24 Hours in Our City)
Mike originally trained as a graphic designer at the Liverpool School of Art and then practiced as a fine artist before becoming an award-winning creative director. Mike has worked on national campaigns in all media for some of the world's leading advertising agencies, with clients in all sectors including retail, property, automotive, travel and tourism.
Now based in Bristol and the World Heritage city of Bath, Mike has spent the last twenty years developing art galleries and unique creative events, including the Bristol and Bath Art Prize competitions.
Mike's unique ‘24 Hours in Our City’ photographic competition format has proved particularly popular and the 'One Smart Day in One Smart City' concept is being expanded to other cities around the world.
MEGAN WITTY (Event Director, 24 Hours in Our City)
Previously a producer/director at Bristol's BBC Natural History Unit and ITV in London, Megan has filmed current affairs and wildlife and conservation projects around the world for nearly 20 years.
Now specialising in developing and producing high-profile creative projects such as city-wide sculpture trails and international charity events, Megan has organised the ’24 Hours in Bristol’ competition since its inception in 2013.
Megan is a keen photographer and has written and photographed several publications, including a wildlife book for children.
Never happier than when wandering around with her smartphone looking for photo-opportunities, in her competition judging role, she will be looking for well composed, perfectly timed observational photos, with a hint of the quirky, that capture the essence of life in Bristol.