Habitats for Happy Ageing: Photography Competition

What type of place makes you happy? Is it your house, your garden, your local park? Is it indoors or outdoors? Do you go there every day? Or is it a place from your childhood?

This was the brief we set entrants of our Habitats for Happy Ageing photography competition to capture images of places which make people happy, especially in later life.

We received 27 entries and were delighted by the standard across the board; everyone’s image(s) really captured the spirit of the competition.

Our group of four judges met on Wednesday 1st April 2015 to review all the images and choose the winners. The Head Judge was John McGregor from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), and the panel also comprised representatives of MMP partners: Age Scotland (represented by Greg McCracken); Architecture and Design Scotland (represented by Anja Ekelof); and The City of Edinburgh Council: A City for All Ages (represented by Glenda Watt).

Judging the Habitats for Happy Ageing photo competition

Judging the Habitats for Happy Ageing photography competition at Edinburgh College of Art


The results of the competition are:

First prize (£20 book voucher) – Joyce Wyles – from ‘My Garden throughout the Year’

Photo of a garden by Joyce Wyles

From the series ‘My Garden throughout the Year’ by Joyce Wyles

Joyce captioned the image (one of a series) as follows…

My garden has been the love of my life. When I am feeling low and depressed to go out into my garden and work cheers me up and I feel very happy and so much better.

Since losing my husband 30 years ago and moving to this new property with a back garden that was empty except for a lawn which was more moss than grass, I have worked and worked on it to get perfection, now unfortunately at 82 years I am unable to do much as have severe mobility problems, so enjoy sitting in my conservatory and seeing the lovely garden I have created and this makes me feel very happy.

I still potter and do what I can which is very therapeutic and gives me great enjoyment too. So I can say that my garden is my little bit of heaven on earth and definitely my “Habitat for Happy Ageing”.

Second prize (£10 book voucher) – Ludovic Farine – ‘Friendship doesn’t have barriers’

Photo of Loch Lomond

‘Friendship doesn’t have barriers’ by Ludovic Farine

Ludovic captioned the image as follows…

My friend, his nice and caring dog, the beautiful place that is Loch Lomond. He’s happy. It makes me feel happy too.

Third place – Miriam Morris – ‘Leamington Canal, Edinburgh’

Photo of Leamington Canal by Miriam Morris

‘Leamington Canal, Edinburgh’ by Miriam Morris

This was one of a series of images entered by Miriam, all of which had been taken during her walk to work (Royal Mile & Grassmarket) and weekend walks (Water of Leith and Dean Village) in Edinburgh.

Fourth place – Amy Sian Redman – ‘Ullswater’

Photo of Ullswater by Amy Sian Redman

‘Ullswater’ by Amy Sian Redman

Amy captioned the image as follows…

My ‘happy place’ is Ullswater in the Lake District.

Although I love this location in particular, it is also representational of my favourite place in general – somewhere natural and peaceful on top of a hill, with great views, trees, water and luscious skies.

This picture also sums up the happiness I feel for making it to the top! You are rewarded with an epic and beautiful landscape.

Even though I have grown up with these mountains on my doorstep, I will never take them for granted. They are always changing; the quality of light, the colour of the trees and the patterns created by the wind on the water.

As long as I can make it back to this place every so often, no matter how overwhelming and stressed that life might get, this place always helps me to put it all into perspective.

Fifth place – Caro Swan – ‘The best things in life aren’t things’

Photo of two people in a garden

‘The best things in life aren’t things’ by Caro Swan

Caro captioned the image as follows…

I love the serenity of this pic.

It’s my father-in-law and mother connecting face to face in my garden, clearly immersed in happy conversation, amongst nature. It’s how we’re built to connect with each other!

I added the caption because I think it perfectly describes what’s going on.

Sixth place – Steven Leitch – untitled

Photo of a figure on a beach

Untitled, by Steven Leitch

Judge’s comments

Head of the Judging Panel, John McGregor of Edinburgh College of Art, said:-

“Not surprisingly, a photographic brief asking for ‘places which make people happy’ attracted many excellent and emotive images.

All the images were of a very high standard and it was a difficult task to narrow them down. The winner and runner up were unanimously selected from a strong shortlist of six.

The judging panel of four finally decided on an image taken by Joyce Wyles as the outright winner. We felt that Joyce’s photograph of her back garden best gave the overall feeling of ‘Habitats for Happy Ageing’; one could almost imagine sitting in the garden on a warm summers day listening to, and watching, the birds on the bird table and smelling the wonderful fragrance of the plants and having the feeling that all was well with the world.

This photograph was complimented quite nicely by the runner up image, taken by Ludovic Farine. When we looked at this image of a young man and his dog, we thought of him gazing into the future and summers to come, an excellent counterpoint image.”


We displayed a large selection of the photographs at our Habitats for Happy Ageing events at the Reid Concert Hall on UN International Day of Happiness (Friday 20th March) and at Evolution House, Edinburgh College of Art on Wednesday 8th April as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Media coverage

STV Edinburgh – Edinburgh snaps showcase the city spots that make you smile