Robert Spicer, a budding photographer from Melton Mowbray, has scooped the best overall prize at the inaugural ‘UK Photography Awards for Young People’ with his compelling portrait series, ‘Men Do Cry’.  

17-year-old Spicer walks away with one day professional studio hire, and a top of the range Canon camera to continue his craft.

The prize, created by the JJ Foundation in partnership with Eastside Educational Trust – is part of the JJ Media Group which owns some of the UK’s finest photography studios – is held as part of its commitment to supporting young creative talent. Hundreds of young people throughout the country entered the competition which was open to anyone in full time education. All that was needed was ‘curiosity and a love for photography’.

Judges including Nick Turpin and Richard Truscott praised Spicer for the stunning black and white triptych’s quality and composition. The standout portrait image in ‘Men Do Cry’ showed a young boy with a solitary tear on his cheek compelling the viewer to ask ‘why is he crying?’. The image one best overall and best in class for the portrait competition.

Robert Spicer said of his winning piece:

“I was trying to make with the image was that seeing a man cry is shocking and this mostly because society buys into the idea that males must be strong and “manly” – yet this concept is toxic.”

Other winners included ‘The Suburbs’ (above) from 22-year-old Kira Krász, whose image of a girl in a playground in Hungary secured her first place in Street Photography and ‘Social Standards’ (below) by 21-year-old Emma Louise Carney, a popular choice for the Fashion gong.

Speaking at the awards ceremony in East London, ex-photographer and Founder of JJ Media, Johnny Jones commented:

“I believe as a successful business owner it’s our responsibility to ‘give something back’ and help young people in the pursuit of their dreams. There are many aspects and career paths in our industry – it’s great to help students realise that being a photographer is a business itself, and that they can be successful at it.”



With arts funding dropping to all-time low in recent years, it is encouraging to see that businesses are picking up the slack from Government and other NGOs to provide a platform for the creative class to flourish. We will be watching on with eager anticipation to see how these winners and the other brilliant young creatives develop in their careers.