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Ray Wells announces his judges for the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards

Picture Editor Ray Wells has been appointed Chairman of Judges for the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards to be held at the Honourable Artillery company HQ on October 17th this year.

Alan Sparrow, Chairman of the Picture Editors’ Guild and Awards organiser, told PAN: “Ray who was Picture Editor of the Sunday Times from 1995 to 2020 has chosen a top class crew to accompany him on the judging journey.”

Ray Wells was a late entrant to journalism, who after leaving university he went to work in the oil industry in the Middle East .
Eventually politics in Libya made working there untenable and Ray sought alternative opportunities. He returned to London and at the age of 29 he took a job as a caption writer and later on, as a photographer at the Mirror Group.
After seven years there he joined Fleet Street News Agency as Picture Editor for 18 months before joining the Mail on Sunday under the legendary Gary Woodhouse. Night shifts on the Observer and elsewhere eventually lead him in 1989 to The Times then edited by Charlie Wilson. After two years he was recruited to The Sunday Times as Deputy to Aidan Sullivan, upon whose departure he became Picture Editor and contributing photographer for the next 25 years, remaining at News UK until late 2020.

Ray told PAN: “Uncertain times? That’s putting it mildly. Important then to remind ourselves just how much brilliant talent, dogged tenacity and consistency the Guild Awards are privileged to showcase from our hard-working professional photographers, both the established and the up and coming. The 2022 judges are from nine news organisations across the UK and look forward immensely to the task.

Ray is joined by a very talented field of photo experts who will help judge the hundreds of photos submitted by nearly three hundred photographers.
Meet the judges here:

Shazad Ahmed: “My first role was working for Action Images helping to prepare and distribute pictures from major sporting events for newspapers and company clients. I would go on to work for the Daily Mail print section assisting in producing content and ideas for the paper and later MailOnline. My next role was for the Telegraph Media group working across the Daily and Sunday editions plus Online where I covered news, showbiz, sport and business. I held a similar position at The Sun Online but would also take on some print responsibilities. Currently I work at Sky News Online as the Deputy Picture Editor.”

Annabelle Whitestone: After the Universities of Oxford and Madrid and the language institute in Paris, Annabelle entered journalism at The Catholic Herald in 1995. She then joined the Daily Telegraph, spending five years on its picture desk before transferring to the Sunday Telegraph and being promoted to Assistant Picture Editor. After 14 years at the Telegraph Group she was recruited to The Sunday Times team as Foreign Picture Editor and where she remained until late 2020, specialising in global assignments and operating in hostile environments. Along she was part of the team that won the world’s best designed newspaper from the Society for News Design. Annabelle is currently Picture Editor of The Week.

Alasdair Baird: After ‘eleven happy years’ he left to become Deputy on the Daily Record, a far bigger, faster operation altogether with 13 photographers including dedicated specialists. Still finding his feet deputising, his first week in the chair coincided with 9/11. Ten years on from becoming Picture Editor, he says “It’s a very different role these days with social media images having as much if not more value than work by professional photographers”. Alasdair is responsible for still and video content for The Record, Scottish Express and Star and a raft of local titles and websites.

Jane Sherwood is the Managing Editor, News EMEA at Getty Images where she is part of the team that creates Getty Images editorial newswire output for the region. Jane began her career 30 years ago as a receptionist at Rex Features and progressed through a series of picture desk roles on the Sunday Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Star, Daily Express, News of the World and Sunday Times to become the Picture Editor of the Sunday Express newspaper. Leaving that role for Getty Images in 2015 she says “I wanted to work where photography was front and centre and investment in the medium was paramount”. I am well known to the judging panel of these awards and am thrilled to be included again this time. The Picture Editor’s Guild Award celebrates the very best of the UK’s press photography and is returning after a hiatus for the Covid Pandemic.

Marisa Cashill: Marisa was a press photographer for 25 years at Johnston Press based in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, finally coming off the road to take over the desk at The Star in Sheffield as Group Picture Editor across its 32 titles. She was subsequently made Head of Audio Visual for the Yorkshire Post and its associated titles, with responsibility for commissioning stills and video. Away from managing her team of award-winning photographers Marisa still shoots when she can and teaches an NCTJ photojournalism module at Nottingham Trent University.

Fiona Shields: Fiona has over twenty years’ picture editing experience across a range of newspaper titles. She was picture editor of the Guardian for ten years before taking up the role of Head of Photography for the Guardian News and Media Group. Throughout her career she has been involved in the coverage of some of the most historic news stories of our time including the events surrounding 9/11, conflicts around the world, large-scale natural disasters, and the humanitarian crises resulting from the growing refugee numbers across the globe.
In addition she has judged World Press, the Sony World Photography Awards, The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize and is a regular nominator for the prestigious Prix Pictet Prize.

Jon Mills: Inspired as a teenager by the papers he stopped to read when he was meant to be delivering them, along with the 1993 BPPA yearbook, newspapers and photography have been the focus of Jon’s life and taken him all the way from Bath (via the A4) to Bristol.

Starting on the Bath Chronicle, where he turned up for work experience and didn’t leave until he got a staff role, he took the plunge, moved 10 miles up the road and became picture editor at the Western Daily Press. Under the editorship of Terry Manners, he was part of the team which won a record haul of 7 Press Gazette awards in one year including Newspaper of the Year. In 2003 the WDP was offered an embed with the Royal Marines in Iraq leading to Jon and writer Richard Edwards being the first journalists to report from newly liberated Basra

In 2006 he joined SWNS where he has been privileged to have been part of the team that evolved the regional news agency to become one of the largest suppliers of breaking news and real life stories across the UK. Jon project managed development of the agency’s main editorial software platform, helped create the video department and built a successful corporate photography business within the photo department.

Lennox Smillie: Lennox’s exposure to the world at large began as a young boy of three in Jamaica listening every morning at 8am to the World Service with his grandfather Clarence, a keen student and observer of history. If he protested he was banned from playing his beloved cricket with friends in the backyard and after each broadcast his grandfather would explain where in the world events were taking place, and why. And so he complied and learning about Moscow, London, New York, Peking and the Middle East, conflicts and world leaders became the genesis of his abiding love of current affairs, politics, history and geography.

Lennox’s parents had left for England as part of what became known as the Windrush generation and it was, aged fifteen, another twelve years before he joined them on a dreary December day to discover he could only play cricket during the summer months. On leaving school his first job was in the accounts department of Camera Press which he soon discovered housed one of the most extensive and comprehensive photography collections in the world. Karsh, Beaton, Snowdon, Bailey, Donovan and Litchfield, wars, revolutions, the Iron Curtain, Red China, travel and world events. In these he completely immersed himself, trying to retain a mental image of every photo he saw, each caption he read. Eventually he was promoted to Camera Press chief researcher and first contact specialising in newspapers and magazines and, in addition to having worked intermittently on national picture desks, that is where after forty years service he remains today.
He describes his life in pictures as “quite easily a labour of love”.

• is Media Partner to the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards – read our coverage here.

• is Media Partner to the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards – read our coverage here.

View more from the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards on PAN


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