This years winning entry from Renhui Zhao
Announced to a packed audience at the prizegiving on 22 May, the winner of the coveted AOP Student Photographer of the Year award is BA Photography student Renhui Zhao. His moving series of caged monkeys taken at a number of zoos and circuses around the world captured the judges imagination. Judge Sarah Greenwood felt “There were several gorgeous individual shots but for me the winner had produced a series of images which showed he was capable of producing a story with more than one great shot. He made a connection with his subject and produced beautiful images”.
Renhui Zhao receives a package of prizes to launch his professional career, including an Epson Stylus Photo 2400 printer, a double page spread in the prestigious AOP Photography Awards book and extensive PR coverage. He will also gain hands on experience when he assists an AOP Photographer of his choice on a shoot.
This year the judges awarded a runner up prize to Iveta Vaivode for evocative snow scene images entitled Gardens of Abandonment and two Merit prizes who each receive an Epson Stylus Photo R360 printer. These were Nicholas Chee for his interesting interior of a Singapore hairdressers and Toby Smith for his thought provoking Dishes image. Judge and professional photographer Richard Maxted commented “…the two images that gained the merits were evocative, thought provoking and graphically really strong”.
The Association of Photographers has been running an annual competition for students since 1981. These awards recognise the excellent standard of photography produced by individuals studying on photography related courses in the U.K. Now, a quarter of a century since their
inception, the Student Awards continue to flourish and offer the winning students and their colleges both support and valuable publicity. Ella Basford, AOP Education Manger, has looked back over the last 25 years of AOP Student Awards. “One of the things that jumps out is the quality. Every year the quality gets better and better and every year the judges find it harder and harder to choose…The beauty of the AOP Student Awards is its uniqueness; there is no brief so anything goes. We look for technical ability, composition, original ideas and of course that indefinable ingredient, talent.”