Bob snaps up award

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AN award-winning photographer has added another honour to his list thanks to this striking image taken at the Tall Ships Races.

Hartlepool-based Robert Usher caught the class A tall ship Santa Maria Manuela under a dramatic sky as it left Hartlepool at the end of the races in 2010.

Bob Usher

Bob Usher

Robert put the image into the British Institute of Professional Photographers fine art competition and the 53-year-old got a reply saying that, out of more than 1,000 entrants, he’d won a merit for his work.

Judges told him that the quality of his entry was “extremely high” and now the image is one of 30 which will make up an exhibition to tour the UK.

Robert said: “I thought I must not have got anywhere when I hadn’t heard anything for a while, but then a letter came, saying I had got a merit.

“It is a tremendous honour and it is lovely when something like that comes in.”

But it is by no means the first award for the man who entered the world of photography 30 years ago after previously working as a miner at Vane Tempest pit, in east Durham.

The same photograph won him the title of regional Portrait Photographer of the Year and Top Pictorial/Illustrative Picture at the British Institute of Professional Photographers North East competition in July last year.

And Robert, who runs a studio in York Road, Hartlepool, held the title of top wedding photographer in the region at the awards for three years running.

He was the official photographer at the Hartlepool leg of The Tall Ships Races and is also the man who puts together the £10,000 package of prizes for the Bride of the Year competition run by him in conjunction with the Hartlepool Mail.

The dad-of-three said the image of the Santa Maria Manuela was taken on the final day of the Hartlepool leg of The Tall Ships Races, during the Parade of Sail.

He added: “The sky that day was out of this world.”

Robert’s work, as well as 29 other images, will form part of a travelling exhibition being displayed at the offices of Towergate which is a specialist underwriting firm.