Prose and poetry competition to win a print

The deadline for the competition has now passed:

I have just launched a writing and poetry competition on this site, with the chance to win one of my signed, limited edition photographs, printed by me in the darkroom.

Over the years I have been told many times that my images are lyrical and inspiring so it seemed like a natural development for me to start this project. To me the wonderful thing about it is the fact that it gives people of all ages and skills the chance to enter and use the photographs to encourage and inspire their writing.

And that is all there is to it. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest: Just use one of my photographs as a starting point – an inspiration – for a piece of prose or poetry, no longer than 150 words. Every three months I will pick what I consider to be the winner and the author will win a print of their choice.

I cannot wait to start seeing the results and I will be hoping to see as many genres and styles as possible, from surreal to classical, from avant-garde to traditional from haiku to sonnet.

I have limited the words allowed for each entry to 150, partly to accommodate the layout of the pages on my website and partly because I think it is important to work within restrictions. This is something that has become increasingly apparent to me as I continue to ponder the differences between analogue and digital photography during the build up to my exhibition. Working with film and the need to develop and print it, without the immediacy of digital is, to me an integral part of my work. I truly believe restrictions and boundaries can encourage creativity. Let’s hope that the entries I receive prove me right.

Doing my research for this has opened up a whole new world for me. Reading and literature has always been a hugely important part of my life and I was overjoyed to discover a whole new community online. Creative writing and poetry on the internet is blossoming and thriving, not only with peoples blogs but especially with the growth of Twitter. Just search for #Haiku, #sixwords, #fourlines or #micropoetry to see this. Everything about twitter seems to be perfectly tailored to these genres of poetry and it is been taken full advantage of. I truly hope I can tap into this world and start to see some of this fantastic work here on my site, side by side with my photographs.

Setting this up and becoming aware of this community has also got my imagination bubbling away. Thoughts of exhibitions are floating around my head, photographs accompanied by competition entries, framed in galleries and other public spaces. Or perhaps collaborations with schools and colleges could be possible? So please get in touch if you are a teacher or lecturer and maybe the best group of entries from a class can win a print for your school. I truly believe this can grow and grow.

And best of all, because this is my competition it can grow in whatever direction I choose, there is no pressure on me. The rules are mine and if I want to, for example, award more than one winner a month I will. I have asked the entrants to let me know if they are under 15 so that gives me the opportunity and choice as to whether I have more than one age category with two or more overall winners. The only certainty is that roughly once every three months I will be sending someone one of my prints.

So let’s have fun, this is a small competition run by me so let’s make the most of it and enjoy it. Please follow me on twitter (@TobyDeveson) for updates and announcements and keep coming back here to view entries.

I have set the first deadline for the 10th of March 2012 and I cannot wait to hang the print, fresh from the darkroom up to dry (and yes I’m sure it will be photographed, hanging there and tweeted about), pack it away and post it to the winner.


The winner was Joe Massingham from Australia with the following entry:

    The Wind Man

    Moaning and whining, keening and sighing, the wind man parts the sedge with invisible shoes, pursuing the dying souls across the fens.

    Each winter he comes, scouring the ice,
    gathering in Anglia’s sons,
    taking them back to a steppe Valhalla
    to warm themselves before a homelike, peaty fire.

    On this, a late journey in the early Spring he took my father home; but only his body.
    His mind had already gone,
    slipping into the oozy fens,
    chuckling uglily
    as the wind man searched the reeds above.



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