A few months ago, a good friend and fellow classmate convinced me to enter the Calumet Student Photographer of the Year competition. To begin with, I had no real intention of ever entering my work in a competition but I thought, if anything it’s an experience and I have nothing to lose! Only a week later, I looked in my inbox and got the most unexpected surprise; an email telling me that I was in the top 10 finalists. Chuffed at that, I put it to the back of my mind, thinking how honoured I was to get this far (but I’d never ACTUALLY win it…surely?). The very next day, I got the call to say that my picture had won! I couldn’t believe it…it took two days for it to sink in and to stop thinking that Calumet had called the wrong guy!
The week to follow couldn’t have been better; I was invited along to The Photography Show at the NEC in Birmingham, where Calumet was exhibiting, and I got to view the brilliant work of emerging photography talent from across the UK. I was presented with my award on stage, which was a little daunting but a fantastic experience all the same! Within the following few weeks my image was featured in the Scottish Metro, a national magazine and I was invited on to The Fountainbridge Show on STV to talk about the award and my career so far. If I’m being honest I was just amazed that anyone actually cared and showed interest in my work, but so excited that they did.
I didn’t get to enjoy the success for long though as term end was near – I’ve since been working incredibly hard contracting repetitive editing strain to get all of my college work done and dusted. I’ve been developing the Alien Abduction concept as part of this and have created a few images that I hope offer more of the alien/fashion theme… but you can judge for yourself what you think.
Looking back over these final months of college and winning the Calumet award, I feel so thankful to the people who believed in me. I think as a creative practitioner we create and grow ideas; almost like growing a flower from a seed, but you spend so much time checking it’s healthy and growing in the right way that you never get the time to see if it’s any good. Winning the Calumet competition was like a huge reassuring pat on the back and an acknowledgment that I’m growing in the right direction.
Going forward into next year I want to work on my fashion photography, and try and better my Alien Abduction project – or at least do something as good as it, we will just have to wait and see. I will keep you posted.
Editor’s note: The search for Calumet Student Photographer of the Year 2016 will begin at the end of 2015. Extra entries are offered to members of Calumet’s Student Programme. Click here to find out more about how you can save with Calumet throughout your photography studies.