Signal Film & Media in partnership with Florence Arts Centre are delighted to announce the theme of Elements for the inaugural West Coast Photo Festival Open Call competition.

We invite keen photographers of all levels and backgrounds to respond to the coastal areas along West Cumbria. All genres of photography are encouraged – including but not limited to: portraits, landscapes, documentary, abstract and architectural photography. Both traditional and contemporary forms of photography are welcomed.

Elements can refer to atmospheric agencies or forces; the weather, a habit or environment, or the defining principles of something. An element can refer to a component part that makes up a whole, or substances that cannot be further divided; you might think of the Periodic Table of Elements: hydrogen, carbon, iron, the constituent parts of the landscape and our bodies. We can also think about it in terms of behaviour and how we respond to things: to be in one’s element can signify a way of feeling, or a sense of belonging to place that feels familiar to us.

What are the elements that make up West Cumbria, its history, landscapes and people? In our changing climate, we continue to see the forces of the elements become more extreme, including here on the West Coast. The idea of being ‘in our element’ for many has been disrupted by the pandemic as the world became much more unfamiliar to us, while perhaps the elements that make up our communities took on a new strength. We saw our immediate surroundings through a different lens, the natural world took on a new significance for many as an antidote to time spent on screens, while we noticed a greater level of detail in seeing the same spaces day after day. These are starting points, but we encourage diverse interpretations of this theme and how it relates to the West Coast of Cumbria.

How to apply:

Applicants can submit between 1-3 images. If submitting multiple images, these must form part of the same series. Moving image work is also okay, but please keep videos to one minute maximum.

Submit your image/s to along with a title and a short statement of 50-150 words, giving some context to your work and how it resonates with the theme of ‘Elements’. We welcome applications from all levels and backgrounds. The minimum age of entry is 14 — those who are under 18 must attach written parental permission to their email submission.

Submission deadline: Monday 6th September 2021 Midday

Image size: min. 1500 px on the longest side, RGB and images no bigger than 10MB, jpeg

Image format: .jpeg

This competition is free to enter. Winners will be contacted no later than Monday 20th September 2021

Prizes & opportunities:

The top 5 submissions will be exhibited in print as part of Chapter Two of West Coast Photo Festival, taking place in October. They will be offered a professional mentoring session with Signal Film & Media to help develop their photography work.

The top 25 submissions will be exhibited online and on our social media channels.

In addition, first place will also be awarded a £200 voucher towards photography equipment, and 2nd place a £75 voucher. 

Judging panel:

Co-Director at Signal Film and Media – Loren Slater 

Programme Director (Adults) at Signal Film and Media – Charlie Booth

Freelance Creative Producer – Sebah Chaudhry 

Florence Arts Centre  

Note for previous applicants: an open call competition was originally launched alongside our 2020 festival which had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Since relaunching the competition for our reorganised 2021 festival, we have developed the theme of ‘Elements’. Applicants are welcome to re-enter this year, however their 2020 submission will automatically be entered for the reorganised competition.


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Signal Film and Media, Cooke’s Studios

104 Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness

Cumbria, LA14 5QR

01229 838592

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