Photograph by teenager with Down’s syndrome reaches final of worldwide competition

11:00 13 June 2014

Bernadette Carney with her son Edward Giffin, 14, who was a runner-up at the international My Perspective photography competition for people with Down

Bernadette Carney with her son Edward Giffin, 14, who was a runner-up at the international My Perspective photography competition for people with Down's Syndrome. Picture: Polly Hancock


This photo of a hazy sunset through a condensation-covered window immediately transports you to a sunny winter’s day huddling inside for the warmth.

Edward Giffin, 14, was a runner-up in the Down's Syndrome Association's photographic competition for his snap, Sunset Through a WindowEdward Giffin, 14, was a runner-up in the Down's Syndrome Association's photographic competition for his snap, Sunset Through a Window

It is the work of a 14-year-old Highgate schoolboy with Down’s syndrome, who has beaten hundreds of snappers across the globe to come in joint third place at an international photography competition.

Edward Giffin’s photo, Sunset Through a Window, was one of only 25 pictures to be shortlisted by the judges at the annual My Perspective contest for people with Down’s syndrome.

Edward, who lives with his parents and older brother in Southwood Lawn Road, said it felt “groovy” to be crowned runner-up at a lavish awards ceremony in Kew Gardens on Thursday last week.

“I have never entered a competition before and I was very excited about being shortlisted,” said Edward, a pupil at the Riverside School, Wood Green. “I love taking pictures with my iPad and I like making my photos into musical slideshows.”

Edward started taking photographs two years ago when he got a tablet computer for Christmas.

Since then, he has put his own unique stamp on every picture he takes by finding an unusual angle or subject for his shots.

His mother, Bernadette Carney, 54, said she was not at all surprised that her son was named runner-up.

“I was really thrilled because there aren’t many opportunities for him in life to be a prize-winner, to show that he can excel at something and be put on an equal footing,” the mother-of-two said. “That’s very important.

“He obviously sees things in a different way and his ability to record that is great. It’s a lovely way for him to remember people and places.”

Ms Carney entered her son into the competition after being “amazed” by the quality of his photographs.

Following his success at the contest, Edward will now hone his photography skills so he can move onto using a digital camera.

“Hopefully, this will encourage someone else to pick up a tablet,” Ms Carney said. “It’s so intuitive, and it has been fantastic for him – not just for photos but as a learning device. It has been miraculous.

“My thanks to the Down’s Syndrome Assocation for running this competition every year – it’s a chance to meet new people and share experiences.”

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