A Royal Navy sailor from Exmouth who took a series of stunning images of Royal Marines on Commando training exercise has won a prestigious photographic award
Leading Airwoman Emma (Emz) Nolan, took the photographs of Royal Marines at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone where she is currently based. Her portfolio included two black-and-white portrait shots of Marines and a third of one walking towards a raging fire.
She put forward the images to the annual Peregrine Trophy awards – and has today been chosen as the winner of the Commandant Royal Marines category.
Emz, who joined the Royal Navy in 2000 as a Wren Operator Mechanic (Above Water Warfare), transferred to the elite photographic branch in 2006.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted to have won the Commandant Royal Marines award – it means a lot to me to have my work recognised in this way. I have a real passion for photography and working with the Royal Marines does give me a lot of material and interesting subjects to work with.
“Commando Training Centre is very varied. From photographing visits from Royalty, dignitaries and 1-star Generals other days will see me producing images for training aids, with a Kings Squad Pass out parade thrown in.”
The annual Peregrine Trophy awards are designed to recognise excellence among both the professional Royal Navy and Royal Marine photographers and amateurs. This year the awards were held at the Royal College of Art in London – with the winners congratulated by the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas.
With just 10 professional categories, a student award and three amateur classes – the competition is very fierce and is whittled down by an expert panel of judges. These were Matthew Fearn, Picture Editor at the Daily Telegraph, Professor Naren Barfield of the Royal College of Art, Anthony Massey and Kathy Andrews of BBC World Service and Neil Hall, MOD Picture Editor.
According to their judgements, Emz’s images were chosen for her “good composition” and “strong lighting” and was overall a very strong portfolio.
Head of the Royal Navy Photographic Branch Captain Ian Stidston said: “It has been a fantastic competition and one that has demonstrated the exceptional talent and professionalism of the men and women of the Navy’s photographic branch – and also of those amateurs who have captured some outstanding imagery.
“The standard of the images displayed here today are testament to the diversity and adaptability of our people and clearly demonstrate dedication to both their art and their Service.
“I could not be more proud of the way the photographers have managed to capture still and moving images that clearly tell the story of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and the range of operations on which we deploy.”
Emz started her Royal Navy career on HMS Chatham and a deployment to the Mediterranean before joining CTCRM where she worked in the armoury, being one of the first females to work with the corps armours.
After that she joined HMS Montrose in Rosyth, Scotland, where she helped bring the ship out of refit and then deployed to the Gulf in 2005 for anti-terrorism patrols. Emz was part of the upper deck crew as aimer on the 30mm gun, General Purpose Machine Guns and also loader in the 4.5inch gun.
Joining the photographic branch in 2006 she won the RN Student Award, Sports Award and received a Highly Commended for the Equipment category in the Peregrine Trophy. Married to an Army photographer, she has a three-year old daughter Caylee.