The Great British Photography Challenge interview: Georgie Peel

Great British Photography Challenge
Georgie Peel (third from right) and the rest of The Great British Photography Challenge contestants: Ali Lewis, Jackson Moyles, Paul Williams, Tyrone Williams and Chelsea Nawanga (Image credit: BBC)

Monday 14 June sees the conclusion of The Great British Photography Challenge, when the fourth and final episode is broadcast on BBC4 at 9pm. 

The participant judged by Rankin and his creative team to have the strongest portfolio of images in the gallery exhibition will be crowned the winner. 

With fresh assignments Flowers and Sports added to the bag of completed creative briefs during episode 3, the contestants will be looking to make sure they do enough to win the competition with the remaining assignments they need to complete. 

And while the six photographers had to shoot hundreds of images over the course of the series, success in the gallery show will come down to the quality of just 15 photos. 

Ahead of the final episode being broadcast, we caught up with all the contestants to find out more about their experiences on the programme. 

So here are 5 quick questions with Georgie Peel, the street photographer of the group… 

Great British Photography Challenge contestants on location

Georgie (far right) and four other Great British Photography Challenge contestants in Brighton for episode 1’s beach assignment (Image credit: BBC)

How did you feel when you were selected? Elated, yet at the same time perhaps slightly nervous, too?

I was most pleasantly surprised to have been selected and obviously I felt very honoured. Being a part of a television show wasn’t something I ever thought I wanted to be a part of, so at the same time I was a little apprehensive.

Great British Photography Challenge Rankin image

Great British Photography Challenge tutor and taskmaster Rankin (Image credit: BBC)

What was the hardest point of the programme for you?

The hardest moment of the programme for me was probably the brand shoot. I found it to be a side of photography that I admire hugely. 

However I didn’t find a huge amount of joy in the process. I felt that my artistic freedom was very limited, which is something I’m just not used to. 

Great British Photography Challenge image 15

Actor Anna Friel in London’s Troxy music venue; Celebrity Portrait assignment, episode 1 (Image credit: Georgie Peel/BBC)

Did you ever receive any criticism from Rankin and his team that you didn’t agree with?

I wouldn’t say I disagreed with any of the feedback. I don’t consider myself someone in a position to think I’m too good for that. I welcomed all the feedback.

Great British Photography Challenge image 16

RUNLDN parkour athlete, Sports assignment in London, episode 3 (Image credit: Georgie Peel/BBC)

Can you really be taught how to become a better photographer, or is this something that is innate and just needs to be brought out?

I suppose it’s possible to be taught how to become a better photographer. 

I don’t  really know the true answer to this as no one has taught me. Perhaps I don’t do things by the book due to being self-taught. I don’t even know if there is a book! 

I just continuously go out and shoot what makes me happy and it either makes me cry or smile!

Don’t miss the series finale on 14 June

Great British Photography Challenge

Enjoyed the show? You can also catch Rankin on the Super Stage at The Photography Show 2021, 18 to 21 September at the NEC Birmingham (Image credit: BBC)

The Great British Photography Challenge concludes on Monday 14 June at 9pm BST on BBC4. All four episodes will be available on catch-up via the BBC iPlayer (international details are TBC, but the show is likely to land on one of the best streaming services outside the UK). 

• Read more: Best TV shows about photography

“This has been an incredible opportunity to nurture the next generation of photographers,” said Rankin. “All the contestants had such unique and varied backgrounds, but what brought them together was their love for photography. The contestants have exceptional promise and I’m excited for the UK to see their talent.”

If you‘d like to hear more from Rankin about portraiture, make sure you catch his talk from the Super Stage at The Photography Show 2021, which welcomes back visitors to the NEC in Birmingham from 18 to 21 September. 

Read more: 

Best TV shows about photography
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Best books on fashion photography
Five creative and abstract photography tips
Best podcasts for photographers

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Niall Hampton

Niall is the editor of Digital Camera Magazine, and has been shooting on interchangeable lens cameras for over 20 years, and on various point-and-shoot models for years before that. 

Working alongside professional photographers for many years as a jobbing journalist gave Niall the curiosity to also start working on the other side of the lens. These days his favored shooting subjects include wildlife, travel and street photography, and he also enjoys dabbling with studio still life. 

On the site you will see him writing photographer profiles, asking questions for Q&As and interviews, reporting on the latest and most noteworthy photography competitions, and sharing his knowledge on website building.