FOUR stunning pictures have been chosen as winners of the Southend Festival postcard competition which attracted more than 100 entries.

The photography competition was organised to show Southend in a different light, with unique interesting images of the surrounding area.

Southend snappers didn’t fail to delight the judge with their wide range of stunning images of everything from Southend Pier and the beach to more eclectic imagery representing the seaside town.

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Four winners were chosen, with the winning photos being turned into postcards that will be distributed across Southend.

They were chosen by Merlin Hendy, South Essex College’s course leader for BA (Hons) Photography.

He was impressed by the high standard of entries which he had to whittle down just to four.

He said: “It was great to see such a diverse range of images and Southend clearly has a lot of professional and amateur photography talent, so it was just nice to see people rising to the challenge and picking up a camera and giving it their best shot.”

Dawn Jeakings, Centre Manager for The Royals Shopping Centre, said: “We’ve long supported South Essex College and the creative talents of the town, so what better way to celebrate local people’s work than having them on display here on public view in The Royals.

"It may even inspire a few others to take up photography or even see Southend in a cultural light.”

As well as BA (Hons) Photography, South Essex College, who run Southend Festival, also offers photography courses in the evening or at the weekend and for school leavers there is also the Level 3 Diploma in Photography and A-level Photography.

See the winning entries below and watch a video of the finalists and winners. 

Southend Standard: Sure is inspiration-on-sea - Philip Wingfield's winning entry 

Winner: Philip Wingfield, 52, from Southend

Title: Sure is inspiration-on-sea

Taken: Southend Seafront

Description: “This image was selected because it conveys the serenity of the mud flats of the estuary near Southend at low tide through use of a simple asymmetric composition. The painted name on the prow of the time-worn wooden boat is intriguing, balanced against the right hand half of the image. The range of tones and textures within the scene give plenty for the eye to take in.”

Philip said: “I was pleased as punch to have my photo picked as a winner of the Southend Festival Photo Competition. It's going to be great to see it on display in the Royals and on the Leigh Art Trail as well as in postcard form. Southend is awash with photographic subjects and talented photographers to capture them, many of whom entered fantastic photos in this competition.

Southend Standard: A Grand Reflection-on-Sea by Mark Taylor 

Winner: Mark Taylor, 40, from Leigh

Title: A Grand Reflection-on-Sea

Taken: Leigh

Description: “This playful monochrome photograph of the The Grand Hotel is effective in employing a simple reflection, but the drops in the puddle puncture the surface disrupting the image. It is interesting to be shown just a thin slice of the tarmac towards the base of the print and the monochrome treatment emphasises the architectural patterns, tones and textures.”

Mark said: "It's thrilling to win a competition which was about showing Southend in a different light because that is a subject close to my heart. I hope my photography - which people can see on the Leigh Art Trail from June 7 - puts a new spin on the town. That is the challenge whenever I pick up my camera."

Southend Standard: Culture-on-Sea by Dean Trotter

Winner: Dean Trotter, 49, from Westcliff

Title: Culture-on-Sea

Taken: End of the Pier

Description: “This image is bold and simple, yet conveys a great contrast between the old pier structure and the newly build architecture, with its sharp lines and repeating triangular sections. The image also contains lots of smaller, subtle details, through the windows inside and through into the far distance, with the boats and waves.”

Dean said: “I was somewhat surprised and really pleased to have had my photo chosen as one of the winners, the thing is I don't really see myself as a photographer but more as someone that carries a compact camera around wherever I go and just take pictures of what I see. It wasn’t a fancy expensive camera, so it was great to find out that I was one of the winners.

Southend Standard: Heart-on-Sea taken by Aaron Jennings

Winner: Aaron Jennings, 24, from Southend

Title: Heart-on-Sea

Taken: Along the esplanade near the Kursaal

Description: “This was one of the few vertical images submitted, and although sunsets are commonly seen, this image seemed to be so distinct, with its stark geometric elements, the composition combining slender man-made structures (and trees that appear dwarfed), almost silhouetted against the richly saturated warmth of the sky and heart-shaped cloud, creating an almost surreal effect.”

Aaron said: “I am over the moon with winning the competition. Given that this was the first photography competition I have ever entered, I was not expecting to make it to the finals, let alone make it as a winning entry. I'm now really looking forward to visiting the exhibition in the Royals, and will hopefully sell some prints of 'Heart-on-Sea'."

The winners, along with all the other finalists will now be put on public display in a free temporary gallery at the Royals Shopping Centre in Southend, between Friday, May 15 and Friday, May 30.