2020 Royal Air Force Photo winners

This image was entered into category C 'Operations & Exercises' of the RAF Photographic Competition 2020, being awarded 3rd place by the judges but winning the 'Peoples Choice' online public vote.

Judging for the 2020 Royal Air Force Photographic Competition has recently taken place with the spectacular winning shots now chosen.

Due to the COVID19 Pandemic, this year’s competition was reduced from 13 categories to just four: Personnel, Current RAF Equipment, RAF Operations and Exercises and the “Peoples’ Choice”.

Over 900 images were submitted across the competition’s three categories, with the best nine images chosen by the three industry professional judges. The winner of the fourth category, the “Peoples’ Choice” was selected by the general public voting over a fortnight via the Royal Air Force’s official Facebook page for their favourite image.

The “Peoples’ Choice” category was kindly sponsored by Wex photo video and after approximately 16,000 votes a clear winner, “Helping Hand” by Corporal Phil Dye, took first place.

his image was one of 900 images submitted to this year’s RAF Photographic Competition and although not placed by the judges, it highlights the exceptionally high standard of work carried by RAF Photographers over the past year.

The winner of the Fujifilm sponsored “Personnel” category was Mr Ian Forshaw with “NVG”.

Winner of “Current RAF Equipment”, sponsored by Canon, was Sgt Andy Holmes with “Astra”. This year proved to be a very successful competition for Sgt Andy Holmes as he also won the RAF “Operations and Exercises” category with “Ground Zero”, sponsored by Wex photo video.

An RAF Voyager aircraft sits in the harsh winter weather at Mount Pleasant Complex, Falkland Islands while personnel work to ensure the snow is cleared. It is a real team effort to ensure the airfield remains operational during the winter months in the Falkland Islands, which can see unpredictable snow fall and regular strong winds. Personnel are trained to work in the harshest of environments to ensure operations can continue. This image was entered into category C ‘Operations & Exercises’ of the RAF Photographic Competition 2020, being awarded 1st place by the judges.
Sungazer – Pictured is an RAF CH-47 Chinook of 18 Squadron, from RAF Odiham, pausing in between training sorties at Caernarfon Airport after a refuel as the sun sets in the distance. 18 Squadron conduct training in the MFTA (Mountain Flying Training Area), which is situated in North Wales.

This year’s judges were freelance photographer Edmond Terakopian, Martin Keene from the Press Association and Jim Hedge, picture editor at The Guardian. 

Describing the event, Edmond Terakopian said: “It’s been my honour to be have been invited to be a competition judge for the third year running. Looking through the excellence of work, it’s no surprise that so many of Fleet Street’s legends started their careers as RAF photographers. Given a difficult year, dealing with a pandemic, it’s been great to see not only great photography documenting some dramatic scenes, but also a rise in creative photography, where the photographers are looking past the norm and digging deeper to discover nuances and multiple levels to their work. Bravo all”.

Images show members of the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team taking part in Exercise Falcon Stack at Lake Elsinore in California. The Exercise is taking place from the 3rd of February 2020 to the 14th of March 2020.

Explaining why this year’s winner of the “Current RAF Equipment” category was selected, Martin Keene added: “There are some terrific pictures this year of the RAF people and kit in action, but the winning picture stands outs aviators, ground crew and kit battle against the elements a long way from home. It’s a picture that would not be out of place on the big screen – and is pure photographic brilliance.”

Meanwhile, in praising the overall standard of entries, Jim Hedge said: “As ever, the photographic standard was extremely high. The work of RAF photographers provides a vital historical record, as well as illustrating the complexity, nuance and character of that work. All the participants are worthy winners, and those we selected have produced a stunning visual showcase of the work of the RAF over the last year. It has been a privilege to have been involved in the judging”.

Image shows a 12 Squadron Eurofighter Typhoon banking as the 3 ship formation flies over Royal Air Force Coningsby . This image was entered into category C ‘Operations & Exercises’ of the RAF Photographic Competition 2020, being awarded 2nd place by the judges.

Winners Listings:

Category A: Personnel.

1st Place: “NVG” Mr Ian Forshaw, RAF Shawbury.

2nd Place: “Can’t take my eyes off of you” Cpl Ben Tritta, RAF Brize Norton.

3rd Place: “Passion” Cpl Rob Travis, 77th Brigade.

Highly Commended: “Retired” SAC Kim Waterson, RAF Wittering.

Category B: Current RAF Equipment.

1st Place: “Astra” Sgt Andy Holmes, RAF Benson.

2nd Place: “The Gunslinger” Cpl Rob Travis, 77th Brigade.

3rd Place: “Face Off” Sgt Paul Oldfield, RAF Coningsby.

Highly Commended: “Pot of Gold” Cpl Tim Laurence, RAF Odiham.

Category C: RAF Operations and Exercises.

1st Place: “Ground Zero” Sgt Andy Holmes, RAF Benson.

2nd Place: “See Off” SAC Hazel Reader, RAF Coningsby.

3rd Place: “Helping Hand” Cpl Phil Dye, RAF Akrotiri.

Highly Commended: “Approaching the Dam” Cpl Rob Travis, 77th Brigade.

Category D: Peoples’ Choice.

Winner: “Helping Hand” Cpl Phil Dye, RAF Akrotiri.   


A Parachute Jump Instructor is filming a soldier carry out a qualifying freefall parachute jump as part of Exercise Quick Glass. The exercise is usually held out in the United States of America but due to the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic it was held in the United Kingdom. This image was entered into category A ‘Personnel’ of the RAF Photographic Competition 2020, being awarded 2nd place by the judges.


Source: UK MOD


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