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The winners of the Reader's Digest photo competition 2023

The winners of the Reader's Digest photo competition 2023

After thousands of entries and months of deliberation, we’re excited to reveal the winners of our photo competition!

The theme of the competition was “Beautiful Britain”, and we asked you to share images that encapsulate the beauty of Britain. You more than delivered! We received thousands of entries that interpreted the theme in so many exciting and original ways. Rugged beaches, misty mornings, moody sunsets—you showed us a wealth of beauty and diversity from all across Britain. 

And there were some great prizes up for grabs! Our first place winner will receive a £400 Amazon voucher and a Royal Photographic Society membership for a year, and will find their photograph on the back cover of the July issue. Our second place winner will receive a £250 Camera World voucher, and our third place winner will receive an Experience or Workshop and Course voucher from Jessops.

James Eckersley - Reader's Digest photo competition 2023

James Eckersley, judge of the Reader's Digest 2023 photo competition

The entries were judged meticulously by award-winning photographer James Eckersley, an expert in portraiture who has worked with some of the most prestigious magazines, publishers and record companies across the world. His work is held in the permanent collections of both The National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Collection and has featured in many books and gallery exhibitions. He is a qualified photography lecturer, running practical workshops from his idyllic woodland location. 

Of the entries, he says, “The standard of photography in this year's competition has been exceptional. The creativity and technical ability of so many entrants has shown the true beauty of Britain in all of its forms. One of the things I particularly love about the United Kingdom is its diversity of landscapes, wildlife and people. You need travel no more than 100 miles in any direction for the landscape, customs, architecture and wildlife to change, often dramatically. This has been shown with great eloquence in so many of the competition entries and has made it quite a challenge for me to pick winners from the hundreds of submissions—how can we represent such a beautiful country in just three images?” 

Without further ado, we present the winner and runners-up of the Reader’s Digest 2023 Beautiful Britain photography competition! 

First place: Mark Caldon "Home to Rest", Maldon in Essex

Home to Rest in Maldon by Mark Caldon

Having grown up in neighbouring Suffolk, I know very well the beauty and drama of the Essex coast and waterways. Mark has captured the atmosphere at this scene in Maldon with technical excellence and great sensitivity. 

Every aspect of the image has fallen into place beautifully, but for me, the most striking element of his photograph is the composition. Our eyes are led around the image by the clever use of leading lines, taking us through a myriad of colours, tones and textures, finally resting our gaze on the boat positioned perfectly in the top left of the frame. Mark clearly has a great eye for composition.

"The golden hues of the sky are echoed beautifully in the foreground grasses"

He has also shown great skill in the use of colour to create a compelling atmosphere in the picture. The golden hues of the sky are echoed beautifully in the foreground grasses, and the reflections in the water are simultaneously tranquil and dramatic. I love this photograph for its combination of so many elements, culminating in a striking and memorable image. Congratulations Mark.

Second place: Liam Willis, Stag at Richmond Park

Stag at Richmond Park, Liam Willis - Reader's Digest 2023 photo competition

As soon as I saw this photograph I fell in love with it. The stag is one of the most majestic creatures on our islands and perhaps represents many of the qualities found in our wildlife, landscapes and people. Liam has captured this magnificence with such drama and eloquence one cannot help but be in awe. 

"The lighting is simply perfect, highlighting the warmth of the creature in the cold frost"

Every aspect of his image I find breathtaking.The lighting is simply perfect, highlighting the warmth of the creature in the cold frost, and the golden hues of the sunlight silhouetting the stag against the rising steam are depicted with such luminosity. This is all bought together with the simple (and so effective) use of composition and negative space. 

Liam's picture has captured the beauty of Britain on so many levels and in such a seemingly simple way, but behind this is a technical and creative talent that is truly impressive. I love it!

Third place: Chris Mole. Waves at Newhaven

Waves at Newhaven, Chris Mole - Reader's Digest 2023 photo competition

I lived for many years directly on the beach, and have always been drawn to bleak and emotive landscapes. Each year I longed for the drama and spectacle of the roughest storms hitting the coastline I love so much. Chris's picture captures this excitement perfectly, and reveals the natural power and beauty of so many of Britain's coastal areas

"Chris's picture reveals the natural power and beauty of so many of Britain's coastal areas"

The foreboding atmosphere he has created in this shot is so brilliantly achieved by his use of dark, brooding tones in the background which perfectly highlight the white crests of the crashing waves. This is all captured through the great choice of shutter speed giving a perfect combination of movement and sharpness. The tonal range further adds to this atmosphere and drama, along with the subtle inclusion of the lighthouse in the background. A magnificent photograph which not only resonates with me personally, but really does sum up an aspect of our beautiful Britain. 

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