Faith Through a Lens: the winning picture

John Sykes (right) with his winning photograph 'Contemplation' and judge Don McCullin

A Buddhist monk's moment of quiet contemplation was the winning photograph in this year's Faith Through a Lens amateur photography competition.

John Sykes snapped the shot, titled 'Contemplation', in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and impressed the panel of judges enough to scoop the top £1,000 prize package.

The judges included acclaimed photographer Don McCullin, who presented prizes for the top three entries during an awards ceremony in London this week.

The two joint highly commended entries were 'Passing on the Faith', by Peter Anderson, and 'When Rifles Are No Longer Used, Bullets Can Become Your Words', by Pati Robins. 

Both were praised for their energy and technical skill, while Sykes' winning photo impressed the judges for its beautiful painting-like contrast and striking composition.

The Faith Through a Lens competition is held each year by church insurer Congregational & General to highlight and support, through photography, the positive role faith plays in everyday life.

Others on the judging panel were Reverend Dr David Cornick of Churches Together in England, Paresh Solanki representing the Inter Faith Network, and Matthew Yelland, Digital Picture Editor at the Sunday People.

In addition to their prizes, the three winners were able to nominate a faith, community or charity group of their choice to receive £1,000 in audio-visual or photography equipment.

Congregational & General Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: "We've been thrilled by the quality of entries this year. Faith Through a Lens 2013 features some amazing images which demonstrate the diversity and inclusive nature of faith in the UK and beyond.

"The competition has grown year-on-year since launching in 2010, with the 2013 contest receiving our largest number of entries yet. John Sykes winning entry; 'Contemplation' is a stunning and powerful photograph capturing a moment of reflection – a remarkably personal image of a humble Buddhist monk.

"As part of Congregational and General's commitment to supporting community groups across the UK, we're delighted to support the three winners' charity beneficiaries Combat Stress, CURBS and All Saint's Church Leighton Buzzard."

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