The cream of Royal Naval photographers in the South West have excelled in the national awards for Service cameraman.
The annual Peregrine Trophy competition recognises the Royal Navy’s most creative and skilled cameraman and eight accolades were awarded to sailors serving in the region either on shore or on board ships.
Acclaimed photographer Petty Officer Sean Clee, of Plymouth is famous for his prize-winning action-packed images of Royal Marines on the frontline in Afghanistan, has won the Open Category and received a Highly Commended in the Royal Navy Photographer of the Year Award which he has previously won for an unprecedented two years running in 2007 and 2008. This year’s Peregrine Trophy accolade, which is awarded for the best portfolio of six images produced by a photographic section was won by Leading Photographer Gaz Faulkner who works alone from his section at 42 Commando, Bickleigh, Plymouth.
Sean, who manages the photographic section at HMS Drake, HM Naval Base Devonport, said: “It is great to see how well the South West has done, especially Gaz Faulkner who was on his second tour of Afghanistan . He has worked really hard and very well and reaped the reward.
“The Peregrine Trophy competition showcases the skills and talents of Royal Navy photographers. We record events at home and worldwide on board ships, from aircraft and on land as they unfold.”
Sean said he had done well in the competition despite being in a management role and less out behind a camera lens: “I am very pleased to have done as well as I have this year considering I don’t get out onto the ground with a camera much any more as I am now ‘driving’ a desk. The highlight of my career “was working with the Royal Marines in theatre in Afghanistan and from the contacts and goodwill I generated there I took some images for this year’s competition of the beach landing recce unit from 539 Assault Squadron which I was very happy with.”
Sean’s other images include Royal Marines racing in Zap Catamaran boats and Taunton-based 40 Commando filming for a recruitment advertisement. His Open Category winning image was a Royal Marine holding a handful of ammunition rounds.
Leading Photographer Stephen Johncock, Sean’s colleague in Devonport, won the Media Operations Award (for newsworthy images) with an emotional photograph of Plymouth Marine Mark Ormrod walking on the parade ground at 40 Commando with his newly-fitted two prosthetic legs. He lost his legs and an arm to a Taliban mine in Afghanistan in 2008.
Steve, of Exmouth, near Exeter , said: “The key to the winning picture is that is shows Mark walking on parade to receive his campaign medal where he was injured. He makes the brave choice to walk in front of the massed ranks of his colleagues, despite the difficulty and pain he must be in also.
“A lesser person would have remained in the wheelchair that is available to him and visible in the image. It captures in one picture the courage and determination we all know he has already, by recovering so well from his severe injuries and remaining so upbeat. He is an inspirational person. The photo is also a tribute to Mark.”
Gaz Faulkner also received a highly commended in the Media Operations award and a highly commended in the Royal Navy ‘Life Without Limits’ award. The Commandant General Royal Marines Portfolio prize was won by Leading Photographer Shaun Barlow, previously from HMS Drake and now serving aboard HMS Albion. Leading Photographer Bernie Hennessy, of Devonport-based helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, was highly commended in the Digital Imaging award.
The award panel comprised freelance photographer Dizzy Desilva (Ex Royal Navy Warrant Officer photographer), Betty Lynch, of Getty News Images and Kim Scott-Clark, Daily Telegraph picture editor. The awards will be presented on Monday 15 June in Portsmouth .