New photography competition launched to create positive images of older people in Greater Manchester

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Positive and realistic images of older people in Greater Manchester are to be celebrated through a newly-launched photography competition.

The competition was launched on back on 1st October, which was International Day of Older Persons.

The Old Frame New Picture competition will challenge the negative and stereotyped ways that older people are represented as vulnerable or frail, which is something that has become even more prevalent during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Instead, the competition will celebrate the diversity of older people’s lives and their contributions to society.

Six winning entries will be featured in a digital billboard campaign across Greater Manchester next year, as well as appearing in an online exhibition, and featuring in a set of printed postcards.

The best images will also form a new bank of photographs for use by local charities and other third-sector organisations in their marketing and communications, which will provide a positive alternative to stereotyped images often used.

There are also cash prizes up for grabs too.

Professional and amateur photographers can take part by submitting their photograph of at least one person aged over 50, under one of six themes:

  • Activism
  • Supporting My Community
  • Old and proud
  • Friends and Family
  • Taking part
  • Self-Portraits (including selfies)

The judges for the competition include leading photographer Alex Rotas – who specialises in challenging ageing stereotypes through photography – Virginia Tandy, Director of CADA – the Creative Ageing Development Agency – Helen Wewiora – Director of the Castlefield Gallery – Mike Sweeney – BBC Radio Manchester broadcaster – and Jai Chuhan, who is a visual artist, winner of the bolder prize at the Manchester Open, and a member of the Greater Manchester Older People’s Network.

Old Frame New Picture is funded by the Arts Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Ambition for Ageing as part of a series of projects harnessing the arts and creativity to support Greater Manchester’s ambitions to be the best place in the UK to grow old.

The competition was planned before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and organisers have taken measures to make it safe by, for example, encouraging selfies, ensuring photographs are taken at least two metres away from the subject, and encouraging the submission of photographs taken before social distancing measures began.

The competition is being organised by Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, voluntary and community sector support organisation MACC, and Greater Manchester Older People’s Network.

Brenda Warrington – Greater Manchester’s lead for age-friendly and equalities – said: “We want Greater Manchester to be the best place in the UK to grow old, but the last six months have been particularly difficult for older people. Many have struggled because of the disruption to their normal social and work lives have been disrupted. However, older people have also led volunteering efforts in their neighbourhoods, have remained active and resilient, and they have contributed so much to our communities.

“We want to celebrate the contribution of older people to our society and I hope this competition will show that in a positive and realistic way.”

Unsplash / Johnny Cohen

Greater Manchester Older People’s Network member Pauline Smith – aged 72, from Bury – said: “Older people contribute greatly to society and their communities, whether they are still paid to work or if they are retired and are volunteering.

“Yet they are often presented in stereotyped way – with wrinkly hands, or doddering around on a stick or a Zimmer frame. Of course some people need aids, but this lumps all older people together and it is not a fair representation.

“I hope this competition will produce a series of photographs that shows what older people are capable of, that we are still enjoying life and that we are active in so many ways.”

The deadline to enter by is Friday 13th November 2020, with a cash prize of £50 for third place, £100 for second place and a grand prize of £250 for the winner.

You can find more information about how to enter via the MACC website here.

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