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I was honoured recently to be asked to act as a judge on Mental Health Ireland’s 2020/2021 Photography Competition for young people.

The theme of this year’s competition was “How I have grown” and is a great reflection on the many challenges we have all faced over the last year in a world that was very different to what we expected. I have found this to be challenging on a personal level, but I can only imagine what it must be like to be a teenager and isolated from your friends and family, with school at home and hobbies and sport outlets cancelled.

The entries received were of an amazing standard and I was really touched by the tenderness, creativity, and openness of many of the images. I try every day to capture the true essence of my subject and to help them shine so I know how hard that can be to achieve. The images submitted allowed me a real glimpse through the eyes of a teenager. It was a real highlight of my year so far and a privilege to be asked to judge.

Mental health Ireland set out to celebrate our young people through this competition and I can only echo this. It was wonderful to help young people take the space to reflect on what the past year has meant to them and what it means to grow in times of a pandemic.

You can learn more about the competition and see all the winning entries in a virtual gallery here.

Congratulations to all finalists and all who participated.

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