Andy snapped a place in national competition final

Andy Ashworth with his winning photo taken from his studio window
Andy Ashworth with his winning photo taken from his studio window

The image of an evening sky taken by a Thornley architect armed with a disposable camera has come in the top 20 of a national photographic competition, gaining the accolade “highly commended”.

Andy Ashworth, 66, was working late one evening at his Thornley studio when he sprang into action for the 17th Zumtobel Photographic Competition, a challenge he takes up annually and which is exclusive to architects using disposable cameras, photos for which must focus on light as the subject.

After seeing what he could only describe as a fantastic sky from his rooftop window, which looks over Chipping Vale and towards the Bowland fells, Andy immediately started snapping.

He said: “It is something I have done every year for quite a few years now. I have high quality cameras for my job, so the competition is always a bit of a challenge because you have to use a very simple camera.”

This was the first time Andy had been placed in the competition and he said the success came as a welcome surprise.

“More than 1,000 architects enter and each takes a full film of photos, so to get in the top 20 was a surprise for me,” he said adding that out of a short list of the top 20 images, the top four are then chosen.

“If you look at the standard I would like to think that mine came close. You end up with a semi-abstract solution, which makes it more intriguing as a photo in terms of how it was taken. It cannot be doctored, no-one can play with the image.

“For a long, long time I used film camera before digital and you have no second chance.

“I was working late one evening and the sky was fantastic,” says Andy who, after pushing open his roof light, realised the sky was reflecting on the glass, with the fells in the background.

“It was pure chance and I took a full series as the sky changed... it is a superb view from the window.”

The father-of-two and architect of 44 years, said one of his first jobs after qualifying in Liverpool was working on the Guild Hall at Preston.

He has also worked for Lancashire County Council, managed a practice for 20 years and is now self employed, working from home.