Five Brighton College students, who were among the winners of the month-long photography contest launched in partnership with Nikon. Image Credit: Su

In a bid to connect and unite the UAE’s schools and colourful cultures, Brighton College Dubai partnered with Nikon to launch a month-long photography competition.

The competition invited students from early years to grade 13 from all UAE-based schools to get creative and explore the theme of tolerance through photography. The competition was preceded by a workshop by the region’s Nikon Photo Club teacher.

And the prize? Two talented students won state-of-the-art Nikon DSLRs, and their work was exhibited at the school.

Marco Longmore, head master of Brighton College Dubai, said: “We are overjoyed to be connecting schools in the UAE through creativity and the UAE’s Year of Tolerance. We fully support our pupils to explore the arts and culture, and it’s very special that we are able to include the community of schools here in the UAE with this initiative.”

Entries were judged on four aspects, including creativity, response to the theme of tolerance, technical skill and the visual impact that the photos had on the judges.

Three Brighton College students, who were among the winners, share what it was like to have their passion find its purpose.

My favourite place in the UAE to take pictures is the Burj Khalifa

- Bridget Brooks, Grade 1

When I see something beautiful I take a photograph of it so that I can look at it again. I began taking pictures when I was four, with my iPad with a sparkly case. I like to take photos when I can of people, including my family and lots of other stuff too such as rainbows and sunsets. My favourite place in the UAE to take pictures is the Burj Khalifa. I also like taking pictures in Africa and England and Dubai.

I have been helped in my craft by Audrey, mummy, daddy and Mr Flores. He teaches me art too and helps me learn how to use a proper camera.

To prepare for this compettion, I made a concept of tolerance and we took a picture on my mum’s phone. I took my nanny’s hand, my mum’s hand, my sister’s hand and my brother’s hand and joined them to take the picture.

I particularly love pictures of polar bears and it makes me think of them. It makes me feel sad when they are in trouble and dying because the ice is melting. I adopted one in the Arctic.

I intend to pursue my love for photography using an underwater camera.

And yes, I was surprised to be picked as one of the winners.

I love to take pictures on the beach and of days with my family having fun

- Freya Wilk, Grade 6

I love having the focus to make a wonderful picture for me to admire and to have as a memory to keep. I started taking pictures at the age of three with my mum’s camera but as I have grown up, I have learnt to use different filters to click a fantastic photograph.

Our first camera was a D60 Nikon and a small Sony digital. I love to take pictures of skylines at sunset and of animals that I love.

I take pictures whenever I find a beautiful scene or a moment in time that I want to remember. Sometimes, I even take the photo from my bedroom window. I love to take pictures on the beach and of days with my family just having fun.

I take a lot of pictures whenever I travel. This year we went on a California road trip and as when got home, we looked through all of the amazing pictures we had taken, each with so much meaning.

My parents have guided me a little on photography but I love the challenge to work the rest out by myself.

I don’t particularly follow any one photographer. I enjoy looking at different types of photography, from landscapes to animals to travel, but I do follow my Uncle Tim’s photography company. He is an event and lifestyle photographer.

I didn’t really prepare for the competition. I just thought of what I love and what makes me happy. My brother had made a happiness stone at school and I decided that he should hold it up in the picture for the bird’s happiness.

An image is worth a 1,000 words because a photo isn’t just what we see. Underneath it, it tells us an amazing story of happiness or tolerance, love or peace.

A photograph that I love is when of myself as a toddler and just walking along a path. I love this picture because it reminds me of that time and makes me smile whenever I look at it. My heart smiles too.

My uncle inspires me to be a photographer because all of the great photos he has taken.

I would love to take photography forward in my life.

I felt shocked and ecstatic to be chosen as one of the winners.

I felt like I had just won the world

- Molly Leask, Grade 6

The first time I dreamed of being a photographer was at my cousin’s wedding in Thailand. We were at a beach and my mum gave me her phone to take photos, so my sister and me took photos of the beach, flowers and driftwood.

I started taking photos at the age of four when we went on holiday; with our underwater camera, I took photos whilst I was swimming.

My first camera was a small, red Nikon. I love to take photos of nature such as flowers, the ocean, palm trees, sand and the rain because nature can exhibit feelings.

I just take photos whenever I want to but mainly when we are at restaurants with friends or at the beach.

The beach, the desert, sunsets and the pool are some of my favourite photo opportunities.

I take lots of pictures when I go to England.

My sister helps me because when we were in Thailand, she was my model and she also gives me advice and helps me improve.

I prepared for this competition by taking a photo of my sister and our friend doing a piggy-back and having fun with bubbles.

I think a photo is worth a 1,000 words because each photo means something, like a picture of a raindrop could mean someone is sad or a storm means someone is depressed, angry and raging. It also isn’t just a photo, someone took the photo for a reason.

People who take pictures of lakes, mountains and forests inspire me because the photos they take show how beautiful nature can be, and make you forget about all the plastic and bad disasters.

I would like own a professional camera and to learn how to properly use it, and then use it nonstop and study photography at university.

It felt amazing to be chosen as among the winners. I felt like I had just won the world.