Dentist ‘reflects’ on top prize in Westside BID’s 2023 calendar competition

Keen photographer Damien Walmsley can be forgiven for being ‘open-mouthed’ at some of the stunning picture opportunities on Westside.

For Damien is a retired dentist who has taken numerous images of the inside of his patients’ mouths throughout his career.

Now the Professor of Dentistry at the University of Birmingham has another reason to be open-mouthed, after his fabulous canal-side image was chosen as the overall winner of Westside BID’s 2023 calendar photo competition.

Damien, aged 64, a married father-of-three from Knowle, Solihull, wins £175 in cash vouchers to spend on Westside, while his photo of the Bistrot Pierre restaurant in Gas Street will adorn both the front of the calendar and the month of April.

He said: “I have always been a keen photographer. I’ve been taking pictures of people’s mouths for many years, but also my family and places of interest.

“In dentistry, you have to follow certain rules, but with this type of photography you can bend the rules. I come from Manchester, but have transferred my allegiances to Birmingham with the exception of Manchester City.

“There is something special happening in the city centre and Westside is a great place to wander around. When you go onto Westside, in particular the Gas Street Basin, there are such wonderful places to photograph.

“The canal network has its own beauty to it. The boats make it very pleasant and you are never stuck for a photo opportunity.”

Mike Olley, general manager of Westside BID, said: “Once again we were taken aback by the quality of pictures for our 2023 calendar. But Damien’s reflective shot of Bistrot Pierre was outstanding!

“We’re so lucky to have such a great choice of photogenic scenes across Westside, and even luckier to have such a great bandof amateur photographers who love taking pictures of them.

“Many thanks to everyone who entered and to the those who won the chance to host a month.”

Damien, who took his winning photo at around mid-morning on a day in January this year, added: “I’m always looking for a reflection and this was such a good one. The light was just beautiful but I patiently waited for the man to walk by for context.

“It was very pleasing to win the competition and very good of the BID to choose it for the calendar.”

Damien said the drawing of the person on the wall of the Grade ll-listed restaurant, seen on the right of his photo, was created by a local artist known as DisneyB32.

The 11 other photographers chosen for inclusion in the BID calendar each win a £75 voucher. They will each be featured in a story on the BID website throughout 2023 and will have their pictures included in an exhibition to be held on Westside at a later date next year.

They are: Chris Fletcher, from Coleshill, for January; Anthony Wallbank, of Dudley, (February); Sandeep Tewari, of Wolverhampton, (March and November); Peter Leadbetter, of Moseley (May); Lili Lengkana, of Smethwick (June); Elliott Brown, of Hall Green (July); Meetu Varshney, of Northampton (August); Carl Thornley, of Harborne (September); Jack Babington (October); and Luke Groves, from Oldbury (December).

Further examples of Damien’s work can be seen on his website as well as @dammo on twitter and @dammodammo on Instagram.

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