A DOCTOR from Otley is celebrating becoming a Master Craftsman in photography.

Helen Walker has been awarded the Guild of Photographers’ highest status in recognition of her ‘exceptional photographic skill’.

Helen, who works as a GP in Silsden, has been working towards the accolade - which is only awarded to a small number of photographers who produce the highest standard of images - for the past two years.

As part of the rigorous assessment process she had to supply a panel of 20 shots and found inspiration in an unexpected place: the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Holland.

She said: “The panel I submitted was inspired by a trip to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and seeing Rembrandt and the other Dutch Masters. I decided to apply the style of these paintings to the rich medieval history we have in this part of England for my submission.

“I photographed a range of friends, family, models, and even animals wearing period costume and created each image as a fine art ‘painting’ to show a part of medieval life.

“It took me a lot of work to refine my skills to the level required at Master Craftsman and two years working on the panel, but in doing so I learnt a lot about the medieval history of Yorkshire and had a lot of fun!”

The hard work paid off and, as can be seen from the selection shown here, produced striking images that seem to blur the line between photography and painting.

The Guild of Photographers were suitably impressed and Director Lesley Thirsk said she was delighted to see Helen gain the Master Craftsman title. She said: “It is only awarded to those that evidence truly exceptional photographic skill to a panel of internationally recognised experts from a variety of photographic backgrounds.

“Helen is an amazing photographer and thoroughly deserves this recognition.”

Helen also compiled a book of her photographs, complete with medieval quotes and facts, along with a 1500 word brief in calligraphy, on a scroll, as part of her submission.

She said: “I am overwhelmed and humbled to have achieved this award, I am beyond delighted. Through the guild’s program of training, mentoring and competition my photography has really developed since I started seven years ago.

“Master Craftsman was a distant dream when I first joined the guild in 2016 but it’s been a great journey. It has been two years of really hard work for this and I’ve loved every minute of it.

“Thank you to all the models who stepped up to dress in fancy gear, Faith for her never wavering support and enthusiasm, Brad for having my back and endless poring over my images to check for errors, and everyone who has supported and encouraged me.”

Helen recently attended the guild’s Annual Awards at Crewe Hall, Staffordshire where she was awarded Runner Up in the Wildlife Image of the Year category for her picture of a baby giraffe.