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Marcia Harding Rankin's 2020

Marcia’s lockdown snap wins prestigious competition

College student Marcia Harding to star in a Sky Arts documentary after photography competition win.

UAL Foundation Diploma in Art & Design student Marcia Harding is set to appear in a Sky Arts documentary after winning the prestigious Rankin’s 2020 award.

Marcia entered the competition on Instagram with the brief of submitting a photograph that represented  2020 in one of six categories; family, fun, self, beauty, empathy and nature.

Choosing the nature category, Marcia entered a photograph she snapped in late April while on a walk in Southern Cemetery.

“I used to go there quite often on my daily walks to breathe, be still and collect my thoughts,” she explained. I took the photograph towards the end of April. Most of the cemetery is covered in wild bluebells so it’s a really nice time to go there, breathe in the scent and take it all in.

“One of the things that Rankin said for the competition was that he wanted pictures that conveyed emotion. I like the tranquillity of the place and how the bluebells were like a carpet covering the ground. Although I took hundreds of photographs during lockdown and was really pleased with some of them, it seemed like an obvious choice. I like the composition, the lighting and the colours.”

After being longlisted, shortlisted and finally chosen by Rankin himself as the nature category winner, Marcia has been filmed by Sky Arts and will feature in an episode of a six-part series, Rankin’s 2020, to discuss her winning photograph. 

Marcia said: “I saw some astounding, stunning pictures in the nature category on Instagram so I was particularly pleased and really honoured that mine was chosen. There’s going to be a book of the TV series, which I’ll appear in with a photo of myself, the image and poem (below) I’ve written about the image. Rankin has also taken some pictures in each category so they will also appear in the book. That should be coming out soon, so it’s really exciting to have something to keep.”

You can watch Rankin’s 2020 on Sky Arts (Freeview channel 11) at 8pm on Tuesdays after the first episode, Empathy, aired on 29 September. 

Marcia is still considering her options for when she graduates from the Centre of Excellence for Design and Visual Arts next year, including the possibility of progressing to a degree-level course. She’s adamant that no matter what, she will continue to be creative.

 “I absolutely love the course here,” she said. “One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most is the opportunity to experiment and explore. I’ve done things that I’ve never done before. There is the opportunity to do so many different things and I’m grasping all of it. The facilities are just fantastic and the tutors have been so supportive and so encouraging.”

Find out more about our Centre of Excellence for Design & Visual Arts and enrol today to study at Greater Manchester’s best provider of adult education.  

2020 by Marcia Harding

2020 - the fast pace ended,
an opportunity to slow down and reflect
through photographing nature, 
offering escape and succour.

Giving me the time
to focus on the progressive and unhurried changes in each season,
pausing to notice the vivid colour of the bluebells,
bending down to breathe in their perfume.

Contrast the hard texture of the cold stone with the soft lines of the vegetation, 
wild and free…
As nature reclaims her space.

A stark reminder of the cycle of life and death:
the vibrancy and movement of the flowers
juxtaposed with those who have passed away. 

The bluebells will soon fade and die too.
So I take the opportunity to capture this moment in time.

There is grief all around. 
And yet there is also sanctuary and calm.

The light beyond the tombstones signals hope for the future,
and the potential for new beginnings – the ‘new normal’ after lockdown.

Life lessons learned from nature:
accepting change, moving on and letting go.

Feeling at one with nature, moved, before the time passes, to 
create a lasting memory of 2020.