Billy Rowlinson, a young photographer from South East London has grabbed the attention of the International Olympic Committee this week. He has been announced as the winner of the Youth Olympic Photographer Challenges that has been running on flickr since 7 May – launched in time for the “99 days-to-go” celebrations. His image, taken of BMX cyclists on London’s South Bank was deemed the image that truly captured the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games. Billy will be celebrating this week as he received news that he will be going to the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore as an official IOC accredited photographer. We had a quick chat with 16 year-old Billy just before he packs his bags and his cameras…
How did you hear about the photo competition and why did you enter?
I stumbled across the group on flickr, I then submitted a few pics. I'm very passionate about photography and love exploring. I thought this was a great opportunity.
How long have you been interested in photography?
About 3 years now, I got my first digital SLR camera in November 2007.
Have you had any photography training?
No, I just played around with the different settings - trial and error. Although a photography teacher in my school is always happy to answer any questions, or there's always the Internet and books.
Where was the picture taken and why did you capture that image?
I took it along London's South Bank - there's always loads of talented people down there. Especially in the skate/BMX park.
I was just pretty amazed by it.
Is there a particular story behind the shot?
No not really, well the guys down there are always happy for their picture to be taken. I don't actually know the guy but he liked looking at the shots I took of him!
Why do you think the picture captures the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games?
The image captures the qualities of a junior athlete - motivation, enthusiasm and energy.
How do you feel about going to the Youth Olympic Games as an official photographer?
EXCITED! I'm sure it's going to be amazing.
What are you looking forward to most about going to the Youth Olympic Games?
Meeting professional photographers & getting some advice from them.
Do you want to pursue photography as a career?
Either photography or TV/film broadcasting-production. I'm going to study photography and media at A-level in September; after that I'm going travelling for a year then I might go to art college/university.
What are your favourite sports?
Running and cycling