Salcombe’s very own award winning photographer

Posted by thewinkingprawn on January 23, 2018

We have our very own award-winning photographer in Salcombe! 


Swimstones British Life Photography Award.jpg 


Paul Carruthers at Swimstones is a landscape and fine art photographer who has just won a British Life Photography Award and received two honourable mentions at the Monochrome Photography Awards!  


We asked him to tell us a little more about the photo of the hour featuring the RNLI Lifeguards…   


Congratulations on the award! How did that come about?


I don’t usually enter competitions but last year a few people prompted me to and I ended up winning!  I saw the Life at Work category in the British Life Photography Awards and I thought my photo of the lifeguards fitted the criteria, and now the photo is up in the Royal Albert Hall!  


My eight year old was so excited, he ran down the corridor saying ‘dad there’s your picture’.  There are so many amazing photographers around - I can’t believe I won an award!  As an award winner it will also feature in a book alongside the other photos, which is now available for pre-order on Amazon. 


Where did the idea come from?


Most of the time I am really organised with my photos. I sketch out what I want to achieve in a little book first.  This time though it was serendipitous, we just decided to take the dog for a walk at Bantham.  Luckily I take my camera everywhere, and when we arrived I could see the circle in the sand but nothing else and thought it was interesting.  


I went over and as I got there I could see the lifeguards watching four people in the water to make sure they were ok.  I had to change the lens as I couldn’t fit the whole circle in to start with, but I took a picture with the lifeguard in the car and then one of them got out and shouted ‘we gotta go now’ - which was when I took this picture.  


The third photo was of them driving off.  It was all very quick and lucky - it was just the one opportunity, but I always think the lifeguards do such a great job down here. 


And then there’s the Monochrome Awards…


Yes, then I had two honourable mentions in the Monochrome Photography Awards.  When people told me to start entering awards I searched for the top 10 in Google.  The first two were photojournalism awards, but the third was Monochrome.  The awards received 8942 submissions from 87 countries around the world, and I sent in a picture of Porthleven in the storm.  I slowed it right down because I thought I might be able to make it look like a Turner painting.  I also sent my favourite picture of the lighthouse in a storm - the light came through behind me and lit up just the lighthouse.  In the end they both got an honourable mention!


Did you always want to be a photographer?


No, I wanted to be a footballer and I got as far as Under 16 trials for Shrewsbury but I bust my knee really badly so that dream came to an end.  I started doing graphic design and I won Graphic Designer of the Year in 2004, which was odd, but I soon realised it was the photos in the design that people really liked, and it grew from there.


Where did the name Swimstones come from?


We moved to Salcombe from Merseyside about 12 years ago and the doctor had told me to swim to help my knee.  So I started swimming every from North Sands (I don’t think the harbourmaster is that pleased) - and finishing with a cup of tea at the Winking Prawn obviously!  One time someone asked me how many times I had done it and I said I didn’t know, so she suggested that every time I do it I collect a pebble and put it in a jar.  So that’s what I did, and that’s where the name Swimstones came from.