Q&A with Young Photographer of the Year 2021 winner Fletcher Foot, aged 14

25 October 2021

Fourteen-year-old Fletcher Foot's stunning image of a stonechat in New Forest National Park saw him crowned Young Photographer of the Year in the Campaign for National Parks Photography Competition 2021. We chatted to Fletcher to find out more...

What prompted you to enter our photography competition?

I chose to enter this competition as I’ve always loved being in the New Forest adventuring and photographing wildlife and nature that we are surrounded by. So, when I saw this opportunity I entered as I thought it would be a great Idea to showcase my work and passion for photography.

How did you decide what images to enter?

I decided to enter this photo as the stonechat and its bright orange colours on its chest really stand out. But also, it shows the dried gorse which it is perched on which connects to climate change and the hotter temperature.

Tell us more about the winning image – when / how did you capture it etc.…

I captured this image while I was on a walk in the New Forest amongst the heath, and I spotted this family of stonechats but this one male perched on a gorse branch immediately stood out to me. So, I was able to capture him with his bright orange chest. Which personally I think made the photo stand out the best.

How do you feel being chosen the overall winner?

Winning this competition is a great achievement, that I am very proud of. At the age of 14 I was very unsure if I would even have a chance of winning as I would have been one of the youngest photographers that had entered and have less experience. So, to have won it has made me more confident with my photography which I am very pleased about. And will be something I will remember for the rest of my life.

Tell us your relationship with the New Forest National Park

Growing up having grandparents who have always loved being outdoors especially my grandad who has been birdwatching in the New Forest and many other places since he was young. I am lucky enough to be able to go out and adventure in the New Forest often, but also learn at the same time. For me the New Forest is a place where I can get out and be myself amongst the wildlife and nature surrounding us. Also, having a lots of fun photographing many species of wildlife and nature.

How did you get into photography and how have you developed your skills?

I’ve always loved being outdoors and with nature. But in 2019 I picked up my first camera after traveling to Titchfield Haven bird reserve with my grandad who volunteers there and seeing other photographers with their cameras and lenses, which at that point I knew I had to try it out. And that’s when I started my journey of being a photographer, which till this day I’ve improved massively and still improving every day. It was also helpful as my grandad could teach me whilst out on walks and show me ways to improve my photography.

Why do you think climate change is important when it comes to national parks?

Climate change is causing a huge impact on nature and wildlife. Climate Change is killing many species of animals and plants due to the heat. Climate Change is also causing warmer weather, wetter, warmer winters and drier summers which will continue as climate change intensifies. Our wildlife and nature are under threat from rising temperatures, wildfires, pests, diseases, drier soil and reduced wetlands but also more frequent powerful storms causing habitats and trees to be destroyed. This is also causing effects on the number and range of species and alters their seasonal activity.

How important do you think photos are in raising awareness/prompting change?

I think photos are very important and can make a big impact on awareness of climate change. People posting images and stories about climate change on social media is a great way to show people what is happening and how we need to react to stop it. It can also show people who maybe don’t think it is that bad at this specific time, but it is only going to get worse if we don’t act straight away.

Find out more about the results of Campaign for National Parks Photography Competition 2021 here.