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The craftily-captured creature from the deep turns out to be the husband of its photographer, Roz Stripe, from Cornwall, winner of the IOSH 'This is My Life' photography competition. The competition aimed to celebrate the lives of working people outside the workplace; and more than 400 entries sought to express the theme, 'This is my life ... health and safety helps me live it'.
Health and safety may not be the most obvious cause for celebration--it's one of those things we take for granted when all is well, only hitting the headlines when things go wrong. Yet the presentation and exhibition of the 12 final photographs provided a fitting party on the stylish top floor of London's Millbank Tower, offering heady, adventurous views above the capital.
After being presented with her [pounds sterling]1000 prize of photography equipment, a highly delighted Roz said: "I love taking photos, both underwater and above it.
"I think this competition was a perfect way to show that while rules and regulations are important in everything we do, applying common sense means we can do it safely."
Other finalists included photographs of children roaming the beach, a skydiver leaping from a hot-air balloon, a tight bend in a motocross race, a group of snow-bound mountaineers, and people chilling out at music festivals.
Runner-up to Roz was Emma Halliday, from Leeds, with a picture of herself living it up at last year's Leeds Festival. Third-place went to Darren Williams, of Bodelwyddan, whose shot captured the joy of two of his friends' children on Rhyl sands.
Speaking at the presentation event, IOSH president Nattasha Freeman said: "We were delighted with the standard of entries we received and choosing the winners was extremely difficult. The photographs radiated passion and love for a hobby, which is what we wanted to see."
She continued: "We wanted to demonstrate that safe workplaces and environments enable people to lead full and rewarding lives. Far too often health and safety people are accused of being the people with a clipboard saying 'don't do that, it's dangerous', or stopping people's fun. IOSH members really aren't in the business of stopping things from happening--our focus is on the adoption of risk awareness so that you can enjoy things, having removed or controlled the risk to yourself."
Fans of Frank Capra's classic feelgood movie, 'It's a Wonderful Life', will remember George Bailey (James Stewart) snapping to Clarence, his guardian angel: "I wish I'd never been born." Clarence proceeds to show him just how poorer the world would be if, indeed, he'd never been born. In a similar way, 'This is My Life' gave us a glimpse of just how much we'd miss in life if we weren't well protected by health and safety.
Source Citation:"It's a Wonderful Life: a masked head of a scuba diver bobs up into frame, his mouth gulping the coastland air during another underwater adventure. With a fellow diver and crew of the Elena. C. in support, this foreground man-fish fixes us with an up-close stare that could be from another world.(PHOTO COMPETITION)." The Safety & Health Practitioner 27.4 (April 2009): 25(1). Academic OneFile. Gale.
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