Benefits company share how the UK pictures happiness

Leading benefits consultancy, Barnett Waddingham, challenged the UK to put their photography skills to the test and capture their ultimate happiness in one image.

Picture Happiness photographic competition forms part of a social study to find out what represents Eudaimonia (overall happiness) in the UK. People from across the country shared their favourite photographs of personal happiness and four winners fought off worthy competition, totalling 636 entries, to take the top spot for each generation.

The entries were split into generational categories, Generation Z, 16 – 21; Generation Y, 22 – 40; Generation X, 41 – 53 and Baby Boomers, 54+, with a winner and a runner up in each. Alongside each photograph, entries were asked to share, in 100 words, what Eudemonia (ultimate happiness) meant to them.

Winners received £500 and those highly recommended received a £50 gift certificate.



Winners and images listed below:

Generation Z (16-21)

Winner – David Byrne

What makes David ultimately happy?

“This picture symbolises happiness for me. This was the first and only time I’ve ever met my girlfriend to date – she is from Australia and I’m from England making it so hard to be with each other. After sharing a mutual love of photography and talking on Instagram, we decided to meet in Paris as she had a month-long placement for her art studies. Being from Australia, she had never experienced snow before. The day we decided to go to the Eiffel Tower it started snowing and I’ve never experienced pure bliss like it.”


David said;

“It’s been an absolute pleasure both working and talking with you, I’m thrilled that you felt that you could connect with my story and it’s all been an absolutely wonderful experience. Again, thank you very much for the opportunity, it means a lot.”


Judges’ comments:

Robert Hollingworth said;

“A beautifully simple yet striking that captures a moment and has a narrative that lives beyond the moment of capture.”

Lisa Baker said;

“This image embodies everything about happiness, as well as being an absolutely stunning photograph – it was one of my personal favourites from the competition.”


Generation Y (20-40)

Winner – Lucas Hiley

What makes Lucas ultimately happy?

“Ultimate happiness?  I gain ultimate happiness through seeing others around me succeeding in life.  When that amount of positivity surrounds me I can help but match their elation.  My entry is one close to home, my girlfriend had just received a job offer that would change her life, there was a thunderstorm outside and she just couldn’t help but dance in the rain, it was beautiful.”


Lucas said;

“Thank you for this wonderful opportunity and thank you for chosen my image as the winner. This means a lot to me, as this is the first time I have received any truly positive recognition for my photography, so it came as bit of a shock, naturally! I think I will probably spend the money on a new lens, or put it aside for a rainy day!”

Judges’ comments:

Robert Hollingworth said;

“Beautiful.  Simple and fun, capturing a sense of personality.  Great use of black and white and lighting on the model’s face.  Enjoy the negative framing.  Striking.”


Lisa Baker said;

“The happiness behind the photo immediately stood out because it was just so natural.  One thing that we learned throughout the competition was that happiness just couldn’t be staged, the emotion behind the best pictures quite literally jumped out – it’s almost impossible not to smile when you see this picture!”


Generation X (41-53) Winner – Elaine Taylor

What makes Elaine ultimately happy?

“This photo was taken during a holiday in Cornwall with friends. It’s a great representation of the holiday and what happiness is to me: quality time with family and friends, lots of fresh air, doing silly stuff, wearing daft woolly hats, making each other laugh, getting muddy knees … and no leads or plugs in sight!”


Elaine said;

“It’s such a treat to be a winner – especially with a theme of ‘Happiness’.  The simple priceless things in life make me happy, which is what this iPhone photo of my sons and their friend, taken during our annual trip to Cornwall, represents: quality time with family and friends, lots of fresh air, doing silly stuff, making each other laugh and no leads or plugs in sight. We’ll put the money towards our trip to Cornwall with the same friends this year, where I hope to capture many similar memories with my phone. Many thanks.”


Judges’ comments:

Robert Hollingworth said;

“A crazy brilliant picture– it is different and the poses of each child is great. It’s children having fun and being happy – the uniqueness of this picture makes it so appealing.”  


Lisa Baker said;

“This stood out because it’s so quirky, and each child is expressing themselves differently.  This perhaps epitomises that we all have a different view about happiness – that’s what certainly came out throughout this competition.  This category for me was the hardest to judge, because we had so many amazing images – I think we found a worthy winner though!”


Baby Boomers (54+)

Winner – Stew Levy

What makes Stew ultimately happy?

“Walking along Canal tow paths. For my wife and I this was our favourite pastimes. She passed away two years ago and sometimes when I’m walking I can see her in front of me, stopping to look at a flower, or a shape in a reflection. I can always feel her with me, but doing something we loved makes me feel quite euphoric and whole again.”


Stew said;

“I am just so touched that someone not only liked not only my picture, but that others understand and felt the emotions that are attached to it. You’ve have lifted my spirits. I will be buying a new lens that I just really couldn’t afford.”


Judges’ comments:

Damian Stancombe said; “An excellent image with a narrative that melts your heart.  Things may end but happiness continues.”


Robert Hollingworth said; “A lovely landscape photograph – good light and use of longer lens.  A deeply moving interpretation of the theme.  I love it, photographically and emotionally.”





Damian Stancombe, Partner at Barnett Waddingham

Robert Hollingworth, BAFTA nominated photographer and videographer

Lisa Baker, Editor at HR News

Laura Matthews, Workplace Health Consultant at Barnett Waddingham

Ruth Isaacs, Secretary at Barnett Waddingham


Robert Hollingworth, BAFTA nominated Director of Photography and Photographer, said;

“It was a pleasure to be invited to judge the entries and there was a strong selection of photos, with a diverse and challenging interpretation of the theme. I was delighted with the winners – congratulations.”

Damian Stancombe, Partner at Barnett Waddingham, said;

“Through this incredibly unique social study we were able to see a pattern through the generations. We saw a journey through life, beginning with a first love, the joy of excitement, building a family and happiness in its final stage, reminiscence.


“Understanding happiness is critical for UK employers’ wellbeing strategies. If we are able to embrace the concept of Eudaimonia (ultimate happiness) as a symbiotic relationship between employer and employee we enable people to flourish, allowing businesses to grow.”


Lisa Baker, Editor at HR News, said;

“Being asked to judge this was a real honour, mainly because with so many pictures radiating sheer delight, it was hard not to feel happy. Looking through them all certainly made my day – I’m only sorry they couldn’t all win.  Thanks to all the amazing entrants for sharing their happy moments with us – and I hope every one of the entrants is inspired to keep taking such amazing pictures.”


Author: Editorial Team

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