AN atmospheric black and white photo taken to publicise fundraising work for a local Indian charity has been bringing in the awards for Portadown photographer Marie Allen.
The photo of nine-year-old Lydia Thomas-Raja was one of six winners in the people and portraiture category of the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) UK awards, held in London.
The awards, which included 15 categories, attracted 1,000 entries overall and Marie’s portrait was one of just 21 to receive a bronze award.
It has now gone through to the Northern Ireland finals of the competition which will be held on Monday in Belfast.
And at the Professional Photographers’ Association of NI (PPANI) awards at the Culloden Hotel, the photo was placed first runner-up in the pictorial section.
Entitled ‘Lydia’, the photo shows the Bocombra PS pupil standing in front of a picture of an Indian woman. Lydia is the daughter of Nelson and Janet Thomas-Raja who run the charity Impact India and are fundraising to set up ‘Angel House’, a home-from-home refuge for abandoned girls in India.
The family will be moving to India in July to start making their vision a reality but will continue to rely on fundraising back in Portadown to allow them to fully carry out their plans.
Photographer Marie, who is on the Impact India fundraising committee, had taken the picture as part of publicity for the Miss Bollywood NI competition, a fundraising initiative for the charity.
She said, “Lydia just happened to be there and the light was right, so I took the photo. It wasn’t planned.”
Marie is hoping that the success of the photo will mean more publicity, and ultimately more support, for Angel House.
Meanwhile, the final of Miss Bollywood NI will take place at the Ramada Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge, on May 13, hosted by presenter Katie Larmour. Twenty finalists will take to the catwalk in their saris and behind them, on a big screen, the work they have been doing to raise money for Angel House will be relayed. The girls will also be interviewed about why they decided to enter and support Impact India.
The winner will receive a weekend for two in London, sponsored by the Meadows Shopping Centre, a crown and designer necklace sponsored by Nigel O’Hara jewellers, a £500 portfolio from Marie Allen, a £250 voucher for Sitara Morgan shoe shop, and a make-over from artist Heike Wilkinson and Karen Jarvis.
Tickets, costing £20, are available from Marie Allen, Bridge Street, and from Incanto hairdressers in Thomas Street, which has been supporting the charity by styling the Miss Bollywood entrants’ hair free of charge.