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The Independent



Old Friends

TIM MITCHARD IS IN SHOCK. "It's amazing, I'm still struggling to take it in, "he says, afterhearing that he's just beaten 900 other photographers to win the Duracell "How Do You Recharge Your Batteries?" photography competition.

"It's such an amazing prize,"he says, finally managing to formulate a sentence that sums up how he's feeling. "And to have my work picked out by some of the best photographers and experts in the industry is fantastic. It's a real honour."

Most amazing of all, however, is the fact that he almost didn't enter the competition. "I don't normally put my work up for prizes. But I was flicking through the paper and I saw the competition advertised, so I thought 'why not?' Especially as I'd just taken a shot that seemed to fit the brief."

Tim shot the winning picture in his local café, Morelli's, in Broadstairs, Kent. It features an elderly couple chin-wagging over a cup of coffee, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they've been caught on camera.

"It was one of those lovely intimate moments between two people, which exist for just a second and are then forgotten, "he says. "To be honest, I just took the shot 'off the hip'; it wasn't until I got it up on my screen at home that I realised it was any good."

One of the qualities that made it stand out for the judges was its "timeless" feel. How was that achieved?


"Morelli's has hardly changed in 50 years or so,"he says. "The interior and the atmosphere make you feel like you're in a time warp. To emphasise this, I de-saturated the shot using Photoshop software, which gave it an even older feel."

Having worked in radio for the past 20 years, photography is something that Tim has always fitted in around his work. Will winning this competition encourage him to take it any further as a career?

"It's going to be wonderful to shadow a Getty Images photographer and experience what it's like to shoot for a living, "he says. "But I'm happy to keep it as a hobby; once you do something as a job, it can take the enjoyment out of it. I can't wait to get stuck in with my new Canon camera. If I manage to get one shot like this per year, I'll be happy!"

Three of the judges chimed in with their take on Tim's submission. "He's really caught a special moment there, "says Getty staff photographer Chris Jackson. Picture editors Sally Howells and Alex Ortiz agree. "Its 'social documentary' style is quite interesting," says Sally, with Alex adding: "I picked that shot out straight away, as the one that I liked".