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Student stories: BA (Hons) Photography success

Our BA (hons) Photography course has had a series of success in recent months with students showing amazing resilience in these difficult times and achieving magazine features, online shows and becoming being awards finalists. 

Final year student Philip Sliney wrote a recent #WeAreOCA post about how a collective Source magazine feature came together. This week attention turns to Association of Photographers (AoP), with four AoP Student Awards finalists, and a forthcoming AoP final year show.

AoP Student Awards

Last year we were very pleased that OCA BA Photography student Kinga Owczennikow was our first AoP student award finalist. This year we have FOUR FINALISTS!! Anna Goodchild, Stefanie Gadow, Kinga Owczennikow (again) and Elizabeth Woodger. 

Our 4 finalists’ work can be viewed in the Place and Things categories of the AoP finalists gallery here: aopawards.com/696-2/

Anna Goodchild
April 2016: I started a tiling course.

Artist’s statement:


Ian’s extraordinary letters written from HM Prison Dartmoor in 2016, reveal how ordinary life can be in a UK jail, and paint an underrepresented picture of the UK incarceration system by the media to the ‘outside’.

Informed by Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, this project concerns life in a world-within-a-world to which people are sent, like a prison or a care home. Ironically, the prison walls which separate also unite the inside with the outside, in this case, through a correspondence. 

In his letters, Ian showed an acute awareness that the world outside, here represented by plants growing around the entrance to HMP Dartmoor, was changing over time.

“I feel honoured and hugely thrilled that someone outside the OCA has valued what I have done.  During the six months since getting my results, I could not see how people were going to read my work which I felt had legs! I don’t normally enter my work in competitions because it makes sense as a series and not as individual images / diptychs.  The AoP competition had the scope to submit up to 4 images in a series so I thought I would try.”

View more of Anna’s work on her website: www.annagoodchild.com

Stefanie Gadow

The photograph that I submitted to the AOP Student Awards was part of my Languages of Light assignment for Expressing Your Vision. I photographed 24 subway stations during one night in Hamburg, Germany. The absence of people creates an atmosphere of loneliness, isolation and possibly even uncertainty – resembling a city in lockdown.

When I started with Expressing Your Vision, showing my work to other people intimidated me. But I learned very quickly that constructive feedback from fellow students, my tutor at the OCA, and people from different (artistic) backgrounds is very valuable. I began to share my photographs more frequently and decided to submit my work to the AOP Student Awards.

Being a finalist in the Student Awards is an exciting experience for me. I gained confidence in my work, and I am now even more motivated to continue my studies at the OCA.

Kinga Owczennikow

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

―Ralph Waldo Emerson

I photographed this recent, ongoing series in various areas of Albania’s capital,  I aim to present viewers with everyday sights of natural and urban elements, in what appear as harmonic coexistences. The city vegetation, with its humble, yet ever-changing gaze, seems to show itself as a passing-by visitor to Tirana’s landscapes. I would like to believe that it patiently waits for a moment and an opportunity to take over. 

Being chosen as one of the finalists of the AOPStudents Awards 2020 has brought me a sense of combined appreciation and reassurance for my artistic practice. The submitted images are the essential part of my current body of work on the subject of Tirana as well as the main body of work with OCA. 

This is my website: https://cargocollective.com/kingaowczennikow

Elizabeth Woodger

I’ve been studying with the OCA since 2012 and I’m finally nearing completion of my major project.  Sometimes studying at a university can feel a bit like working in a vacuum so competitions – like the AOP student awards – are a wonderful opportunity to ‘get your work out there’.  When I started my major project about 18 months ago, I had certain expectations about what I’d be doing; then time passed and the project evolved.  Now, Diagenesis explores the relationship between humans and the environment, using myself as both a metaphor and a catalyst.  One of the key elements of this project is a short film, which was something of an epiphany for me because I’d never worked with moving image before.  

Being selected as a finalist is so exciting because it proves to me that using moving image for this project was not simply a moment of madness!  It’s also wonderful to see that my artistic work can function effectively when it’s out in the real world.     

You can see more of Elizabeth’s work on her website here: https://elizabethwoodger.com/

and on her Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/elizabethwoodger/?hl=en

And we are so pleased to announce Photography student Elizabeth Woodger has just won Gold in the AoP Student Award ‘Places’ category for her moving image work Diagenesis. Congratulations Elizabeth! Watch the piece here.

Acting PL Dan Robinson said, 

“We are all really proud of this! I’ve been enjoying witnessing OCA Photography student’s resilience and creativity in recent months during these difficult times. To now have four finalists in the AoP Student Awards is a fantastic recognition of the outstanding work being produced on OCA BA (hons) Photography. Congratulations to all the students and tutors who have helped make this happen. As the only fully distance learning and open-access Photography degree in the UK, we’re extra proud that our students’ work is gaining the recognition it deserves at a national level.”

AoP Virtual Final Year Show

We are also excited to announce an OCA BA (Hons) Photography final year show in partnership with AoP. 10 final year OCA BA (Hons) Photography students are exhibiting online 20 July to 7 September inclusive. This will give welcome additional exposure to students for whom options for physical exhibiting may well have been restricted through no fault of their own. Exhibiting students are:

Hazel Bingham

Melanie Black

Bryn Davies

Sarah Deane

Sarah Gallear

Anna Goodchild

Karen Gregory

Philip Sliney

Rob Townsend

Selina Wallace

We Are @BAPhotoOCA

All OCA Photography and Moving Image students can get free student membership of AOP, read more here https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/why-enter-awards/ 

and https://discuss.oca-student.com/t/free-aop-student-membership/8128/

Find out more about OCA’s Photography courses here. 

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Posted by author: Dan Robinson
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