GALLERY: Meet our first Bicester photograph competition winner

James Arnold's winning picture
James Arnold's winning picture
Share this article

A £15 plastic toy camera prized by art photographers has helped a town man win this month’s ‘I Love Bicester’ picture competition.

Graphic designer and keen amateur photographer James Arnold sent in a selection of snaps he had taken on his Holga 120, which was produced in China as a cheap mass-market camera before the advent of digital devices.

Mr Arnold was thrilled to be chosen as the first winner in the new monthly competition.

Competition judges at Bicester firm 86 Creative chose his snap of players at Bicester Bowls Club as their image of the month.

Mr Arnold, who habitually carries the simple camera around with him, said: “Because it’s cheap and simple, it forces you to take a photo, rather than letting the camera do it.

“You don’t have any control like with a digital. What you see is what you get.”

Other images taken on Mr Arnold’s Holga 120 included a snap of 23 Pioneer Regiment soldiers from a Remembrance Sunday parade, and three privet bushes illuminated by the sun.

“Different people are interested in different things. I like Bicester because it’s got a lot of character,” said Mr Arnold.

Because it has a cheap plastic lens, the Holga creates pictures that often have unusual effects or distortions. Users love it because of its limitations, he said.

Dek Cordingly, managing director of 86 Creative, said: “We thought it was a nice action shot of Bicester people doing something they enjoy.

“The photo was centred and balanced, and had a nice tranquil setting.”

The I Love Bicester competition is run in partnership with 86 Creative Print, which will be putting up a magnificent prize.

Every month we will run a spread of the best of your pictures, as well as an online gallery of photos on

86 Creative Print Ltd offer a complete design, print and photo copy service from their retail premises in Telford Road, Bicester.

Every month they will be offering a 12in x 12in canvas of the best picture to our competition winner.

Get snapping now and send your pictures in to us at or by post to 61-62 Well Street, Buckingham, Bucks, MK18 1EN.