Ester photographer wins international competition

"Counting Coastlines" a photo by Douglas A. Yates, of Ester, was selected as the winner of the Blake Society of London's Tithe Grant Award.

Douglas A. Yates, of Ester, has been named by the The Blake Society of London as the winner of the 2013 Tithe Grant, a competition that invited photographers from around the world to submit a picture of how William Blake’s famous poem “The Tyger” appears in the world today. Yates won first place for his photograph “Counting Coastlines” out of 99 entries, with the other two finalists coming from Northern Ireland and Israel.


The Blake Society seeks to honour and celebrate poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827) through an annual program of lectures and other events, as well as the Tithe Grant and other projects. The Tithe Grant, so-named because the winner gets 10 percent of the society’s income as a prize, was conceived by the Blake Society as a way of celebrating Blake’s creativity while encouraging creativity in others. So far, each competition has involved a different art form.

For 2013, the Tithe Grant Committee, which included two Americans and two British members, decided to have a photo competition, with Blake’s illuminated poem “The Tyger” serving as the inspiration. Photographer Clive Arrowsmith and poet Ruth Padel served as judges.

“The Tyger” begins with the lines:

“Tyger Tyger burning bright,

In the forests of the night:

What immortal hand or eye,

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?”

Judge Padel wrote in her comments about this year’s competition: “A photograph of Blake’s ‘Tyger’! It is like asking for a photo of the mapping function of the brain and a glimpse of the top of Everest at sunrise, simultaneously. Photography is ‘writing with light’ and these entries illuminated all possible images of what the Tyger might mean to us, today.”

Yates describes himself as “a photographer and writer who watches water freeze in Alaska.” More of his work and a biography may be seen on his website, Northern Lights:

For more on the Blake Society, visit


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