A Chatham and Clarendon school music teacher and photographer has won the Image of the Year in the ‘Flora and Insects’ category in the fiercely contested Guild of Photographers Image of the Year Competition.
Mum-of-two Molly Hollman, from St Nicholas-at-Wade, also came runner up in the overall ‘Image of of the Year’ category.
The Guild is a highly respected UK based association for photographers which has members from overseas as well. Each year it runs an on-line monthly photographic competition, judged by internationally respected judges with awards given to the best entries.
During 2020, the competition has attracted over 16,000 entries from the most talented of photographers.
Guild Director Lesley Thirsk said: “One of the Guild’s aims is to drive standards and creativity amongst photographers. Our competition certainly does that, for the standard of the entries we see each month is quite staggering. To have an image recognised by the Guild in the monthly competition is difficult enough, so to have three images selected as being one of the best in a category for the end of year final, and then to go on and win, is without doubt an incredible achievement, and shows just how talented photographer Molly is.”
Molly, 46, took up photography properly after her two boys were born 15 year ago. Five years ago she went part time in her teaching job, giving her more time to pursue photography professionally.
Molly said: “ I love photography and put a lot of effort into developing my skills. One way I do that is to enter the Guild’s competition, alongside other national and international competitions. It drives forward photography standards month after month so it helps me push myself.
“The images I see getting awards each month are inspirational, so knowing just how high those standards are, to have one of my images shortlisted for the overall final from the many thousands submitted across a whole year is really exciting. I couldn’t believe it when I found out.
“I was previously a landscape, wedding and portrait photographer but I have now mainly put those genres to one side to focus on my flower, plant and garden photography.
“I write occasional articles for magazines such as Amateur Photographer about photography and I exhibit regularly, in regional exhibitions and galleries, and sell greetings cards to local shops and gardens.
“I also teach flower and garden photography on a one-to-one basis and will be running workshops post-lockdown.
“I am passionate about photographing flowers, plants and gardens at all times of the year and believe that encouraging others to visit gardens as a result of seeing my photos and writing can only be a good thing, and in particular can make a real difference to mental health.”
Over the past year Molly has achieved three awards in the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition, come second place in in the international Close Up Photographer of the Year competition and won a place in the finals of the Garden Photographer of the Year, British Photography Awards and the Royal Horticultural Society Photographic Competition.
To find out more about the Guild of Photographers and the competition visit www.photoguild.co.uk