Oldham teenager’s fox photos win prize in RSPCA competition

Photo: Ben Harrott
The pictures were taken by 16-year-old Ben Harrott from Oldham, whose photos were picked from a record 11,000 entries
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A striking series of images of red foxes have won runner-up prize in the Portfolio category of the prestigious RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2020, now in its 30th year.

The wildlife pictures were taken by 16-year-old Ben Harrott from Oldham, whose photos were picked from a record 11,000 entries this year. 

Youngsters aged up to 18 were invited to capture the animal kingdom on camera or on a mobile device for this year’s awards.

Entries were blind-judged online by a panel of experts in wildlife photography, including photographer and TV presenter and RSPCA Vice President Chris Packham.

Photo: Ben Harrott

“When I first found the red fox family in early May I decided to sit and observe the movements of the vixen and the dog fox and keep a good distance,” said Ben about ‘Red fox amongst the buttercups’, one of the five pictures in the winning series.

“This is when tracking them I found they would go through a huge buttercup field every night without fail.

“For a few nights I waited there but failed as they would choose another path through the field at a distance from me.

“Finally, by total surprise one night I saw the vixen running through the buttercup field straight towards me.

“When she was about 10 metres away, she stopped and stared at me.”

The winning images across nine categories, including three different age groups and an Instagram category, were announced during an online awards ceremony hosted by Chris Packham this month.

Photo: Jake Kneale

“The quality of entries this year as the competition celebrates its 30th anniversary has been astounding,” said Chris.

“We felt that the lockdown ironically worked in all the young photographers favour; they really did enter fantastic pictures.  

“I’ve been judging the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards since they started.

“It’s exciting to have seen it move with the times, with new options regularly being introduced. 

Photo: Jake Kneale

“This year we introduced a new category called Small World.

“We didn’t want our young photographers to feel limited by lockdown, so we devised this to inspire them to record what was close to home.

“We needn’t have worried though, as lockdown saw our entrants’ creativity and imagination soar. 

“We’re also pleased that the Mobile Phone and Devices category continues, because as no separate camera is required, this has really opened up the competition to almost anyone.

“The RSPCA Young Photographer Awards is a true celebration of the animal kingdom and one I feel honoured to be involved with.

“Every person shortlisted should be proud of their contribution to a world that’s kinder to all animals.”

For a full gallery of the winning images, visit: young.rspca.org.uk/ypa/home.

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