The winners of the Down’s Syndrome Association’s (DSA) international photographic competition have been announced, and they hail from Ireland, Canada and the USA.
Announcing the name of the winners on social media, actor Peter Davison shared the good news to the entrants of the My Perspective competition.
Now in its tenth year, the competition allows a platform for photographers who live with Down’s syndrome to share their view of the world to others.
This year’s images are particularly striking as they highlight the experiences that some of the photographers had during lockdown.
The Peoples’ Choice Award was voted for by the general public online. They chose Conor O’Dowd’s portrait entitled My friend Jason the model, as their favourite.
Conor, who is from Drogheda in County Louth, Ireland, said: “I am surprised to win. It’s great. It makes my parents proud.
“I can’t wait to tell my best friend Jason the great news. I love the My Perspective competition.
“During lockdown I was out and about taking pictures.”
Winners receive a new camera, donated by Nikon, to ensure they can continue showing their perspectives of the world alongside their beautiful photography.
Winning alongside Conor is Natalie Stevanus from Bloomingdale in Canada. Natalie was awarded the Judge’s Choice Award for her image entitled Companionship.
This year the judges panel included actors Peter Davison and Emma Barton, who are both patrons of the DSA, along with Dianne Buswell, one of Strictly Come Dancing’s professional dancers.
“I am very excited and happy to be the winner,” enthuses Natalie. “I was hopeful that I would be a winner of one of the awards, but surprised when I checked my emails and read the announcement.”
Natalie has reached the finals of the competition several times, this is the first time Natalie has scooped up the top prize.
For Natalie, taking pictures during lockdown helped her get through the experience.
“Taking photographs during the pandemic has helped me get outside,” she explained.
“When everything was closed because of COVID I could still go for walks on our farm, nearby countryside and in parks close to where I live.”
A physical awards ceremony was not possible this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so results were announced and celebrated via the DSA’s social media channels.
The current Covid-19 situation is challenging for everyone, but even more so for people who have Down’s syndrome.
The usual rhythm of life has been disrupted without warning, leaving feelings of isolation, anxiety and frustration.
Many have additional health conditions affecting respiratory and cardiac health.
It can be hard to understand social-distancing and many have difficulty communicating how they are feeling if they become unwell, mentally and physically.
It is hoped that this year’s My Perspective competition has given entrants something to focus on during lockdown.