Speyside Photography Group Named Grampian Eye Champions for 2022

A LOCAL photography group that started just four years ago has been named champion of a prestigious North East competition.

Lenny Smith said winning the top prizes was one of his proudest moments.

Speyside Photography Group (SPG) won top honors at this year’s Grampian Eye competition held in Alford on Saturday 24 April.

This included band member Paul Scott winning the Grampian Eye Trophy, awarded to the photographer with the best picture, and the Grampian Cup, awarded to the band with the highest overall score.

The contest saw 11 bands from the North East submit 12 images each – some of which have been on the air for over four decades.

Paul Scott with the Grampian Eye Trophy
Paul Scott with the Grampian Eye Trophy

For band founder and veteran photographer Lenny Smith, the band’s success against such a strong field is one of his proudest moments.

“I’ve personally won about 30 international photography awards over the years,” Lenny said.

“Nothing tops that because it’s a huge achievement because we’re a relatively new band and we didn’t know if we would still have a band at this point.

“We had only been there for a year before the pandemic shut everything down, so winning the Grampian Eye considering that is all a fantastic achievement.”

Lenny, who teaches at Moray College, started the group to give his students a chance to continue their photography after completing their course.

The group, which meets every Tuesday at the Elgin Library, quickly grew in popularity, amassing over 60 members in the process.

That number fell to around 40 recently as a result of the pandemic, but Lenny is hoping for an increase in membership when the group returns for the new season in August.

“I expect 50 or 60 when we return for the new season,” Lenny said.

“We hope winning this award will help give us that boost.

“Some of the images we won with had ratings of 18 and 19 out of 20 and those were from people who were beginners not too long ago.

“They came so much and I’m so proud of them and what they achieved.”

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Stewart C. Hartline