Light up the darkness photography exhibition launches

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2021, we called on young people, aged 14-25, to submit a photo which celebrates the people, groups, places and objects which bring us and others light in times of darkness. Today we launch an exclusive digital exhibition showcasing a selection of the best photographs.

Light up the darkness photography exhibition launches

Hundreds of young people from across the country sent in inspiring and thoughtful photographs which give us a unique insight into what has been the light for young people in the UK during times of darkness.

The photos relate to our theme for HMD 2021, which encourages everyone to reflect on the dark depths humanity can sink to, but also the ways individuals and communities resisted that darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide.

Our partners at GirlGuiding, Scouts, National Union of Students and Union of Jewish Students also ran the competition and our expert judging panel curated a selection of the best photos and chose a winner from each age category.

The winner of the 14-18 age category is Hannah Sheehy. Of her photo, Window Butterflies, Hannah says:

The window of light in my photograph represents the hope of the many who have to hide in the darkness about their beliefs just like during the holocaust. It’s the hope of being accepted and a better life in the light. The few butterflies on the window are conveying the beauty of life when accepted and how beautiful life could be.

The winner of the 19-25 age category is Harriette Grimes, with her photo The Shadow. Describing the photo, Harriette says:

A figure, a shadow. We carry them with us, in everything we do. They live through us, what they could have been. What they should have been. Emulating knowledge and light, so we might learn from what was and build a better what is. Our lost souls.

(Hannah and Harriette's photographs can be seen at the bottom of this page.)

The judging panel

We were honoured to host a fantastic line up of expert judges for the exhibition; the acclaimed photographer and director, Rankin; esteemed sculptor and Holocaust survivor Maurice Blik; Labour MP and HMDT Trustee Tulip Siddiq; and our CEO, Olivia Marks-Woldman OBE. Find out more about the judges.

The judges were blown away with the creativity of the young people who entered the competition. Maurice Blik reflected:

It has been invigorating to see the ingenuity and originality of these young people’s imagery. It should act as a spur to encourage art education in schools

Upon seeing Harriette's photo The Shadow, Rankin said:

The Shadow is a stand out image, I have only seen pictures like this a couple of times…. Silhouettes are always so extraordinary and make you think about people who are not there. I absolutely love it. I’ve been making photographs for 30 years and I have not seen many pictures like this. I love the halo effects and the silhouette really makes you think. Conceptually this drives you to a new place.

Of Hannah's winning photo, Window Butterflies, Tulip Siddiq MP said:

The Butterfly is an amazing picture and a very deserving winner of the competition. It really resonates with the theme of lighting up the darkness, which is about both remembering the horrors of the past and reflecting on the darkness that can take hold if we don’t learn lessons from it.

See the full exhibition

Winning photographs

Click on the images to expand them.