The world in their hands

7th October 2005 at 01:00
When the tomato plants in Samantha Willoughby's first floor balcony window box produced an extra-large one with a head-shaped blob on top, it seemed a photographer's gift. So with the throw-away camera provided in a competition run by the charity Epilepsy Action, she took a stunning study of it, sent it off and won first prize.

The competition, entered by young people with epilepsy across the UK and as far afield as Australia and Spain, was intended to show the rich mix of people, places and events that enrich their lives regardless of their condition. The winning pictures have been displayed at Wakefield's creativity and media centre, alongside quotes from the photographers about what epilepsy and their photos mean to them. See them online at

Samantha, 13, who attends Greycoats school in Westminster, developed epilepsy when she was 11 and moved to secondary school. Her seizures are controlled by medication; she tires easily but manages to fit in several nights a week of Irish dancing, to be a Brownie young leader and a Guide.

She learned photography at primary school, picking the tomato to photograph because "it was funny and different. I don't know what I wanted to say in the photo. I helped my dad sow the seeds and water it every day with special tomato food. Afterwards we ate it. It was quite nice."

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