MAN’S best friend has helped a Ponteland teenager to achieve an international award.
Jessica Keating’s image of her labrador Inca mesmerised by floating bubbles made her the youth category winner of the Kennel Club’s Dog Photographer of the Year competition.
The picture will be on display at a major canine event in London next week, Discover Dogs, and the 16-year-old will be there to receive her certificate and rosette along with the five other successful snappers.
The judges were impressed by the contrast between the strong and proud labrador and the soft bubbles entwined together.
“I was completely surprised when I got told that I had won because I didn’t think that the pleasure of taking photos of my pet would ever lead me to winning a category in this competition,” said Jessica, who is studying for her A-Levels at Ponteland High School.
“Inca inspired me to start taking photographs to keep a complete record of her growing up and from this, my love of photography spiralled.
“Last August I decided that I wanted to improve my photography and I started a 365-day project through Blipfoto, where I was to take a photo a day for a year, and the picture of Inca was actually my 365th and last image.
“I grew up around dogs as my grandparents had two golden retrievers and they were lovely. I was 13 years old when I was able to get a family dog and despite the early and often miserable mornings, having one is indescribable.
“They are a wonderful companion and somehow manage to put a smile on your face, regardless of how bad your day has been.”
The annual competition is open to both professional and amateur photographers and this year more than 5,000 people submitted an entry. Even though it was free to take part, many people still donated money and over £1,000 was raised for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.
Secretary Caroline Kisko said: “The quality of the competition this year has been higher than ever before, but Jessica’s image really stood out.
“The labrador retriever is the nation’s favourite dog, and with this photo it is clear to see why. Inca looks healthy and happy and it must have been a pleasure to watch her playing with the bubbles.”