A surgeon from the Royal United Hospital in Bath has won national recognition for his skills in photography, thanks to an image of the world-famous Royal Crescent.
Hassan El-Wakeel, Associate Specialist in Breast and General Surgery at the RUH won the inaugural Architectural Photographer of the Year award with his image of the Royal Crescent in Bath.
Hassan, a self-taught photographer said: “I was over the moon when I found out I’d won, it was completely unexpected, and to be honest I’d forgotten I had even entered.
“Photography gives me the chance to embrace my artistic and creative side. It’s completely unrestricted, such a contrast to my job which is of course very structured and regulated.
“It’s something you can do anytime and anywhere, which means I can fit it around my busy work schedule and family commitments.
“I take photos of so many areas of life, from buildings and animals to rugby and car racing at Castle Combe – it’s almost like having several different hobbies.”
This is the first year of the awards, set up by The Museum of Bath Architecture, to explore the intrinsic link between architecture and photography, and the way in which people engage in the built environment through photos.
Hassan said: “My next step is to bring the architecture that I photograph to life by capturing the energy and movement around it. After all these are not empty buildings, they are full of people.
“The RUH has always been supportive of my photography, particularly Art at the Heart who display my artwork along the hospital corridors.
“I meet lots of staff in the hospital who are interested in photography and I think that like me, many of them use it to unwind and de-stress. I would love to set up a staff photography club.”
Art at the Heart is a charitable organisation that uses the RUH’s empty walls to display and sell artwork.
Their displays make the RUH one of Bath’s largest and most accessible exhibition spaces.
Hassan’s advice for budding photographers? “Watch YouTube videos, read books and get lots of practice, it really is trial and error, take as many pictures as you can. Get out there and enjoy it!”
All the winning and runner-up photos from the competition are displayed at the Museum of Bath Architecture until 23rd June, where there is also a chance to vote to decide the public’s favourite photograph.