In pictures: Challenges facing the public’s health


The shortlisted entries have been unveiled in a photographic competition that explores health issues, challenges and risks at play throughout each stage of life for people in the UK today.

Called Flash Points, the competition was organised by The Royal Society for Public Health and the Royal Photographic Society and judged by award-winning photographers Chris Steele-Perkins, Sian Davey and Tom Hunter, as well as Prof Stephen Clift, chair of RSPH's special interest group in the arts and health.

Here is a selection of the finalists:

Early Years

Arrival by Kauser Parveen

image copyrightKauser Parveen

"The birth of a child into the world instils hope, fear and joy," says photographer Kauser Parveen.


image copyrightShelby Marie Clemens

"This photo was captured in Penzance, UK. My little sister has a life-threatening condition called lissencephaly which makes her not talk, walk or eat. She suffers from epilepsy and fits and much more.

"I love her so much, and as I was watching her she was gazing at the clouds and the sea. She looked happy, and she stood out in the photo; the sky reflected on her like a mirror. Photos like this are memories that I treasure forever. From this photo I think that whoever you are, you can be whatever you want, and you should never give up."


image copyrightRobert Herringshaw

"It was shortly before my 16th birthday. My parents and I had taken a schoolfriend of mine with us on holiday to Yorkshire. David and I would often race against each other - sometimes he would win and sometimes I would. The challenge that particular day was to race to the top of the funicular from the beach. I was determined to win.

"Reaching the top first, I suddenly realised I was seeing double.

"I didn't instantly recover and it was two years before I was finally diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a neuro-muscular disease that results in weakness of certain skeletal muscles. A hallmark of myasthenia is that muscle weakness worsens after periods of activity and improves after rest. In my case, and most commonly for myasthenia sufferers, it affects the control of the eye muscles and eyelids. This results in diplopia, or double vision.

"This varies from day to day, month to month, year to year and hourly throughout each day. This particular image simulates what I saw that day. There is right and left eye image separation, showing quite a pronounced divergent double image; my field of vision is often blurred."

image copyrightSophie Naddell

"One of the younger members of Cambridge University's Amateur Boxing Club tackles the cold and dark outdoors to train in preparation for the Varsity fight against Oxford. It is only the second year that women have been allowed to compete.

"Assumptions that anything less than a 'man's punch' is pathetic are only now beginning to shift, and as a result women carry a great deal more pressure to prove both their dedication to training and talent in the ring. With the growing acceptance of women's boxing comes the defiance of the delicate, sensitive, vulnerable female stereotype, and in its place the image of a powerful, determined, and skilful fighter.

"Although Cambridge University went on to lose the 2017 fight overall, their women's squad brought home the first ever women's boxing trophy the university has seen."

Young Adulthood

image copyrightLee Morley

"Cyber-bullying is a product of the digital age where the victims have no escape from their tormentors.

"With traditional bullying, the victim would have been able to find sanctuary at home or in the presence of adults but through the technology of mobile phones the bullies are able to reach them wherever they are."

image copyrightSam Grant

"A self-portrait conveying the fear, pain and anxiety of transitioning from young adulthood to adulthood when suffering from a disability.

"I drew from my stay in hospital after an unsuccessful operation to sustain full use of my legs, as well as the fear and isolation which results from living with autism, to create an image which reflects the mentality of people now in their 20s having to take on the responsibilities of the real world with mental and physical limitations."


image copyrightMartin Nangle

"This photo, taken in June 2017, shows how hope can be reinvigorated and new happiness can be found after shock events have disrupted an expected life course. Companionship is crucial to mental and physical wellbeing. When loneliness strikes, ill health can follow, but it's never too late to spend time with a friend."

image copyrightNatasa Balogh

"This 64-year-old man lost his memory in an accident and suffers from anxiety and multiple sclerosis. He needs 24/7 care. He lives his life bound to a wheelchair. Ceiling hoists, a power-pack wheelchair and nursing shifts are required for his everyday care and well-being.

"But while these things make up for his declining physical ability, nothing can replace the love of a mother. Her warm touches and attention give him peace and a feeling of security, and her presence gives the opportunity for lively conversations."

Later Life

image copyrightDavid Shaw

"Najma Khalid, a British Pakistani woman from Oldham, travels to Buckingham Palace with her mother - Sabar Jan Masood. She was invited to a tea reception with the Queen due to her community work promoting healthy living in the Oldham area.

"Najma is a single mother who has battled unemployment during her parenthood, during which she figured out the related government welfare available to her without support. She now uses her experiences to help other local Asian women who struggle with similar social issues within the more traditional elements of Pakistani society. Chai Ladies, a group which was set up by Najma Khalid helps local Asian women with issues such as identity, poverty, religion, gender issues and parenthood through mutual support. They also take part in many public outreach and artistic programmes that aim for positive cross-community interaction as well as promoting healthy living among the Oldham community."

image copyrightEric Aydin-Barberini

"A number of years ago my grandmother passed away, leaving me and my family to take care of my grandfather, suffering from cancer and Alzheimer's disease. The latter makes normal, day-to-day activities a danger to him. Caring for my grandfather can be both tiresome and frustrating; as his fading memory and understanding of the world fails him, this leads to bouts of anger and confusion.

"Our roles have been reversed. It was once him that looked after me, now it is me that looks after him. My family moving in with him has allowed him to enjoy a good quality of life and live out his days in the way my grandmother would have wanted.

"This photo is part of my Old Timer Disease series, which documents the change in my grandfather and the bond created, as our roles have been reversed."

image copyrightNatasa Balogh

"This photograph depicts the relationship between a mother and daughter. A long life provided opportunities for love, pleasure and many different experiences. The difficulties of old age brought new emotions to their life, as the care and love shared between them became pressurised. Their relationship in the last few years was accompanied by deep compassion and sorrow.

"The mother, aged 97, was suffering from dementia and increasing physical dependence, requiring 24/7 caring by her daughter, but her character was quite unique and brilliant. Sadly, not long after this picture was taken, she passed away."

All the shortlisted entries can be seen on the competition's website.