The Great British Photography Challenge (BBC4 21:00 24/05/2021)

“This has been an incredible opportunity to nurture the next generation of photographers. All the contestants had such unique and varied backgrounds, but what brought them together was their love for photography. The contestants have exceptional promise and I’m excited for the UK to see their talent.”— Rankin

  • Contestants tutored by world-famous portrait and fashion icon Rankin, celebrity guests and leading creatives from the art and fashion world including BBC Winterwatch presenter and wildlife photographer Chris Packham, award-winning documentarian Maryam Wahid and London based creative Lamarr Golding
  • British actress Anna Friel, celebrity stylist and fashion editor Cheryl Konteh, and emerging cutting-edge bands Walt Disco and Ninth Wave to feature in series
  • Every episode begins with a smartphone camera challenge to test the contestants visual imagination without specialist photography equipment
  • The six photographers taking part in the series hail from Northampton, London, Dorchester, Luton, Shrewsbury and Dunfermline

Six passionate amateur photographers will have the opportunity to be mentored by this groundbreaking creative figure at the forefront of modern fashion and British photography, in a fresh and contemporary four-part masterclass series. The contestants will undertake a range of themed weekly challenges across the UK, and although ultimately a winner will be chosen, none will be eliminated. The series follows the journeys of all six individuals as they are nurtured throughout the series and demonstrate their individual flair and vision.

Each episode starts with an on-the spot-challenge set by Rankin to deliver a winner picture in just one hour, using nothing more than smartphone cameras. The contestants have to capture different settings, from the buzz of Brighton Beach to a fast-moving Boxing arena. They also undertake specific projects with a celebrity expert in a specialist area of photography: Chris Packham, nature specialist and award-winning wildlife photographer; Maryam Wahid, documentary photographer whose work explores her identity as a British South Asian woman; and street photographer and creative Lamarr Golding, are among those setting assignments.

Finally they have to deliver on a high-pressure brief involving multiple elements such as clients, models, make-up artists and picture editors, including shooting renowned actress Anna Friel for a glossy magazine cover, and a high-end fashion shoot under the guidance of international stylist and fashion editor Cheryl Konteh.

All busting with potential, every contestant has their own signature strength or influence, whether fashion, abstract, street, wildlife or landscape. However, all six are united by their love of photography and their desire to learn and develop their skills. Across the series the six photographers will spend several weeks on the road, tackling various assignments around the country, including Brighton, Birmingham, Herefordshire, Scotland and London.

The contestants, who have made it through a nationwide search, are: Tyrone Williams, 28, from Northampton; Georgie Peel, 41, from London; Paul Williams, 60, from Dorchester; Chelsea Nawanga, 25, from Luton; Ali Lewis, 43, from Shrewsbury, and Jackson Moyles, 21, from Dunfermline. Every shot counts, as Rankin’s ‘students’ build up to the task of creating and presenting a portfolio of their work, to be revealed at a climatic exhibition in the final episode and for the chance to be crowned the winner of the Great British Photography Challenge.

BBC Arts commissioning editor Emma Cahusac says: “I’m delighted to welcome this brand new series to the BBC. With smartphone photography being more popular than ever, we’ve never been more fascinated by the art of taking a good photo.

“Mentored by one of the best names in the business, along with extra help from some stellar celebrity guests and dynamic young creatives, Rankin provides six photographers with a unique masterclass in the art and craft of photography that allows them to develop and shine before our eyes.”

Rankin says: “Being a part of the Great British Photography Challenge has been an incredible opportunity to nurture the next generation of photographers. All the contestants had such unique and varied backgrounds, but what brought them together was their love for photography. The contestants have exceptional promise and I’m excited for the UK to see their talent.”

The series was commissioned by BBC Arts commissioning editor Emma Cahusac and produced by Storyboard Studios founder and managing director Natalie Humphreys.

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