The shortlisted entries have been unveiled in a photographic competition that explores health issues, challenges and risks at play throughout each stage of life for people in the UK today.

Called Flash Points, the competition was organised by The Royal Society for Public Health and the Royal Photographic Society and judged by award-winning photographers Chris Steele-Perkins, Sian Davey and Tom Hunter, as well as Prof Stephen Clift, chair of RSPH’s special interest group in the arts and health.

Here is a selection of the finalists:

Early Years

Arrival by Kauser Parveen

“The birth of a child into the world instils hope, fear and joy,” says photographer Kauser Parveen.


Shelby Marie Clemens

“This photo was captured in Penzance, UK. My little sister has a life-threatening condition called lissencephaly which makes her not talk, walk or eat. She suffers from epilepsy and fits and much more.

“I love her so much, and as I was watching her she was gazing at the clouds and the sea. She looked happy, and she stood out in the photo; the sky reflected on her like a mirror. Photos like this are memories that I treasure forever. From this photo I think that whoever you are, you can be whatever you want, and you should never give up.”


Divergent Pier, Saltburn-by-the-Sea by Robert Herringshaw

“It was shortly before my 16th birthday. My parents and I had taken a schoolfriend of mine with us on holiday to Yorkshire. David and I would often race against each other – sometimes he would win and sometimes I would. The challenge that particular day was to race to the top of the funicular from the beach. I was determined to win.

“Reaching the top first, I suddenly realised I was seeing double.

“I didn’t instantly recover and it was two years before I was finally diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a neuro-muscular disease that results in weakness of certain skeletal muscles. A hallmark of myasthenia is that muscle weakness worsens after periods of activity and improves after rest. In my case, and most commonly for myasthenia sufferers, it affects the control of the eye muscles and eyelids. This results in diplopia, or double vision.

“This varies from day to day, month to month, year to year and hourly throughout each day. This particular image simulates what I saw that day. There is right and left eye image separation, showing quite a pronounced divergent double image; my field of vision is often blurred.”

Punch Like A Girl by Sophie Naddell

“One of the younger members of Cambridge University’s Amateur Boxing Club tackles the cold and dark outdoors to train in preparation for the Varsity fight against Oxford. It is only the second year that women have been allowed to compete.

“Assumptions that anything less than a ‘man’s punch’ is pathetic are only now beginning to shift, and as a result women carry a great deal more pressure to prove both their dedication to training and talent in the ring. With the growing acceptance of women’s boxing comes the defiance of the delicate, sensitive, vulnerable female stereotype, and in its place the image of a powerful, determined, and skilful fighter.

“Although Cambridge University went on to lose the 2017 fight overall, their women’s squad brought home the first ever women’s boxing trophy the university has seen.”

Young Adulthood

Cyber-bullying by Lee Morley

“Cyber-bullying is a product of the digital age where the victims have no escape from their tormentors.

“With traditional bullying, the victim would have been able to find sanctuary at home or in the presence of adults but through the technology of mobile phones the bullies are able to reach them wherever they are.”

Strain by Sam Grant

“A self-portrait conveying the fear, pain and anxiety of transitioning from young adulthood to adulthood when suffering from a disability.

“I drew from my stay in hospital after an unsuccessful operation to sustain full use of my legs, as well as the fear and isolation which results from living with autism, to create an image which reflects the mentality of people now in their 20s having to take on the responsibilities of the real world with mental and physical limitations.”


A New Marriage by Martin Nangle

“This photo, taken in June 2017, shows how hope can be reinvigorated and new happiness can be found after shock events have disrupted an expected life course. Companionship is crucial to mental and physical wellbeing. When loneliness strikes, ill health can follow, but it’s never too late to spend time with a friend.”

Miracle in the Touch of a Mother by Natasa Balogh

“This 64-year-old man lost his memory in an accident and suffers from anxiety and multiple sclerosis. He needs 24/7 care. He lives his life bound to a wheelchair. Ceiling hoists, a power-pack wheelchair and nursing shifts are required for his everyday care and well-being.

“But while these things make up for his declining physical ability, nothing can replace the love of a mother. Her warm touches and attention give him peace and a feeling of security, and her presence gives the opportunity for lively conversations.”

Later Life

David Shaw

“Najma Khalid, a British Pakistani woman from Oldham, travels to Buckingham Palace with her mother – Sabar Jan Masood. She was invited to a tea reception with the Queen due to her community work promoting healthy living in the Oldham area.

“Najma is a single mother who has battled unemployment during her parenthood, during which she figured out the related government welfare available to her without support. She now uses her experiences to help other local Asian women who struggle with similar social issues within the more traditional elements of Pakistani society. Chai Ladies, a group which was set up by Najma Khalid helps local Asian women with issues such as identity, poverty, religion, gender issues and parenthood through mutual support. They also take part in many public outreach and artistic programmes that aim for positive cross-community interaction as well as promoting healthy living among the Oldham community.”


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