Photographers who were invited to contribute to a 'virtual history book' about Swindon have contributed nearly 500 images.
Visit Swindon, the organisation formed to showcase the best the town has to offer, launched the Heritage Photo Challenge back in September.
In total 465 images were uploaded to the social media platform Instagram using the hashtag #swindonheritage2020, giving the competition judges plenty of shots to choose from.
Entries included photographs of the English Heritage listed Railway Village, the Victorian parks and houses of Old Town, renowned heritage buildings like the Mechanics’ Institute or The Locarno, picturesque canals steeped in industrial history, and the old GWR works reimagined as the Designer Outlet.
Villages, urban areas, portraits, close-ups and aerial shots were all submitted. Some – often featuring wildlife including pigeons, cattle, swans at Coate Water – were humorous. Others thought-provoking, capturing the zeitgeist, like a pebble painted with the NHS logo outside Lydiard House.
And familiar images of those splendid heritage buildings and places jostled for attention with pictures that captured the faded grandeur of some areas of the town centre, including pubs and terraced houses.
Some photographers were inspired by fields of flowers – sunflowers and poppies – others by the rising or setting sun, or the movement of the stars above the town. One even featured the Neowise comet soaring over Silbury Hill.
The winner has now been announced with the first prize of a £100 voucher from independent photographic retailer T4 Cameras, plus an A3 print of their work being awarded to Pearl Lucia Barcoe (@ohsoboho_pearls) for her black and white close-up of an exhibit at Steam – the Museum of the Great Western Railway: a clocking in board with employee numbers and metal tags, titled Rules of the Rails.
And there were honourable mentions for Tom Sigler (@weekend_hiker) who submitted an aerial shot taken with a drone of the white horse at Hackpen Hill, a misty long exposure shot of the Art Deco diving board at Coate Water by Martin Annand (@23martian) and a view of a narrow passageway flanked by terraced houses at the Railway Village by Andy Curtis (@andrew_ep_curtis).
Head judge Mitchell Nelson (@mitchjnelson_photography) who works for Old Town-based branding agency Jazzbones, which initiated the competition, said: "I was instantly drawn to Pearl’s moody photo of the vintage railway key fobs at Swindon’s Steam Museum. It beautifully evokes a time gone by, emulating a vintage noir vibe and really captures a moment."
"I really like the fact that this intimate scene’s theme isn’t overly obvious. For the viewer, it requires a bit of time to study the image to realise that it relates to the railways, which I felt gave this image more meaning."
Pearl said: “There were so many amazing entries that I didn't expect to win. I've really enjoyed the whole competition as a learning experience for me as I'm not from Swindon and it has given me a whole new appreciation for where I live _ especially the railway heritage part.”
The entire galley can be explored at www.instagram.com/explore/tags/swindonheritage2020/