Mind-bending image of subway train wins Photographer of the Year award

(Image credit: Mike Kitchen)

The Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers (SWPP) based in the United Kingdom has awarded its annual Photographer of the Year honors, celebrating photography at its highest levels of artistry and technicality. 

The SWPP is an association that brings together photographers from all around the globe, helping them to improve their photography and business skills. Its monthly photography competition welcomed 5,469 entries across 29 different categories in 2023. The entries represent a broad selection of photographic subjects and, from the gold award winners of the monthly contest, three overall winners were selected. 

Taking the top spot, and the title of Photographer of the Year 2023, is Mike Kitchen from Essex, UK. His winning image, Velocity (above), showcases an underground train seemingly bending through time and space. The image had initially won the monthly award in the Open Avant Garde category.

"Demonstrating excellent skill, narrative, and execution, this eye-catching, original image became a conversation piece with the judges," said the SWPP judging panel.

(Image credit: Kelly Brown)

"Wow, I still cannot believe how last night turned out," said a jubilant Mike Kitchen. "I almost spat my drink out when they announced my name!

"I would like to say an enormous thank you to the judges and the organizers of the event! I am truly humbled and cannot express adequately in words how much this award means to me, especially hearing the comments from some of the judges afterward."

Second place went to Australian-based photographer, Kelly Brown, for her image depicting a tender moment between an elderly male and female embracing in a hug (above). The black-and-white photograph shows great detail in the creases of the subjects' faces, highlighting their advanced age, but also captures a twinkle and much life in the eyes. The image won the Monochrome category.

Third place goes to photographer Katie Brockman from Missouri, USA, after winning the Visual Narrative category. The image (below) is jam-packed and full of meaning, depicting the harsh reality of growing up as a child in the US. Not much is said about the piece, but it looks to be digitally created or heavily manipulated, nevertheless providing thought-provoking juxtaposing details.

The three overall winners were presented at The Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers' 2024 Awards Presentation Evening, where their work was showcased alongside other winners from no less than 55 categories. You can find a full list of the winners on the SWPP webpage, along with details on how to enter for next year's consideration.

(Image credit: Katie Brockman)

For advice on the best equipment to capture images like these winners, see our helpful guides on the best camera for black and white photography, the best camera for street photography, and the best photo editing software

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 

Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.