David Collyer is an Abergavenny based photographer and Nevill Hall Operating Department Practitioner.

He discovered a passion for telling a story through the rendered image as a teenager, spending time with the press photographers and journalists on a local paper in Surrey edited by his father.

As a documentary photographer who works on long term projects, he returned to shooting film a few years ago after becoming bored and frustrated with the disposable nature of digital photography, preferring a 60-year-old Leica and the anticipation of what he’s captured, to the over-shooting with a modern digital camera.

His photo of a shattered theatre practitioner appeared on the front page of The Guardian and was one of Amateur Photographer magazine’s photos of the year in 2020, as well as appearing in the Chronicle, and international print and online media.

He also published a book called All in a Day’s Work.

On Saturday, this work from Nevill Hall saw him named by the Royal Photographic Society as the Documentary Photographer of the Year 2021.

When we spoke to David, he said that he was absolutely overjoyed and honoured to receive the award, which had over 3,500 entries from international photographers.

His drive for the project was not only to record what was happening from a staff perspective, but to take a snapshot of what was unfolding into what appeared to be an historical period in history.

David decided early on not to photograph patients as he didn’t feel that ethically he could justify using his clinical role to do so, but instead, increasingly uncomfortable with the NHS Heroes rhetoric, he wanted to show the human faces of his colleagues, whether in light-hearted moments, or on the edge of despair. He said the judges chose his work saying that in a sea of Covid related photographs, it had a stamp of individuality, and a very strong narrative.

Starting in February, David’s photographs will be touring the UK as part of a travelling exhibition organised by the Royal Photographic Society, and more of his work can be seen on his website at www.davidcollyerphotography.com He is currently working on two further books on very different topics.