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Student Focus and the World Photography Organisation

Student Focus and the World Photography Organisation - The World Photography Organisation run a number of programmes, including the annual Sony World Photography Awards and the Student Focus competition. Hazel Rawlings ARPS went along to the Tate Modern for ePHOTOzine to see what the fuss was about.

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Firstly, The Sony World Photography Awards are open both to professionals and amateurs. There are 15 categories for professional photographers and 9 categories for amateur photographers. Photographers are invited to submit images into various subject areas. All details including websites and dates of entry follow at the end.

Tate Modern Exhibitions

Secondly, Student Focus is inviting students to submit work for their award and this year they have partnered with the Young Tate Online and the Tate Modern’s current exhibition Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera. The brief for students is to produce a photograph that explores the theme ‘Exposed’ from the Tate’s exhibition and the image therefore should draw on these themes. Students are asked to consider the different kinds of imagery and how we experience photography in different areas of art, photojournalism and everyday life.

Ten academic institutions (one student and tutor from each) from around the world will then be shortlisted and come to the World Photography Festival in London in April 2011 where the institutions will compete to become the Student Focus 2011 winners. The chosen image for The Student Focus competition gives a prize to the winning student and their University. By the way The Student Focus winner for 2010 was chosen today and this year’s work can be seen on the website.

For those photographers who have not seen Exposed at The Tate Modern, I would thoroughly recommend it. This is well worth a visit despite the entrance fee of £10 and £8.50 for students. Students will surely benefit from exposure to the artistic and creative ideas on offer, it is after all only the cost of two bottles of cheap wine, and has to be better for you.

Exposed at the Tate Modern covers issues around exposure, voyeurism and surveillance. Featuring a range and variety of photographs created by well-known artists, photo-journalists, amateur photographers and those using technology like CCTV and camera phones. On arrival as you enter, a huge photograph to the left immediately stands out, a young person deep in thought, black background and highly dramatic. These photographs were taken in New York without the subject’s knowledge using a hidden camera and a powerful artificial flash system to illuminate unsuspecting passers-by.
Tate Modern Exhibitions

The Tate reviews describe Exposed -

“Exposed offers a fascinating look at pictures made on the sly, without the explicit permission of the people depicted. With photographs from the late nineteenth century to present day, the pictures present a shocking, illuminating and witty perspective on iconic and taboo subjects

Apparently the UK is now the most surveyed country in the world. We have an obsession with voyeurism, privacy laws, freedom of media, and surveillance – images captured and relayed on camera phones, YouTube or reality TV.

The issues raised are particularly relevant in the current climate, with topical debates raging around the rights and desires of individuals, terrorism and the increasing availability and use of surveillance. Exposed confronts these issues and their implications head-on.

This exhibition is looking at the relationship between the tactics and techniques of the photographers and examines photography as an invasive act that, whether by intention or effect, challenges common ideas of privacy and propriety.”

Sandra Phillips, a Senior Curator describes the exhibition -
"Many of the contemporary artists in the show probe the idea that technologies that once seemed invasive and violating can now be sources of comfort, protection or entertainment, even boredom and as a society we appear to no longer regard voyeurism with the caution we once did."

I was struck by what an excellent opportunity this is for photographers to explore and hopefully develop some very interesting and challenging work. Enter, you never know you might win.

Photographers might be interested to check out the websites on the following events -

The Tate Modern - recent exhibition
Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera

THE WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY ORGANISATION - run a number of programmes including competitions such as - Prize Details
Approximately 45,000 Euros worth of Sony digital SLR camera equipment for individual student finalists and the overall winning university is awarded, courtesy of the sponsor, Sony.

All students of photography from WPO selected universities. All entrants must be aged between 18 and 28 years of age.

Student Focus are creating unique opportunities for both universities and their students to communicate with their contemporaries across the world, meet with and be critiqued by leading industry figures.
  • Entry Date 28 May – 30 November 2010
  • First stage for short list - January 2011
  • Next stage - short list come to London for the World Photography Festival and Sony World Photography Awards ceremony.
  • Winners chosen during 26 April – 1 May 2011
  • All Awards at a Ceremony on 27 April 2011
Sony World Photography Awards ceremony, including Professional, Open and Student Focus competition winners, on 27 April 2011.

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