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University graduate wins national sports photography award

University of Gloucestershire BA (Hons) Photography: Editorial and Advertising graduate Morgan Harlow has won the Sports Journalists’ Association (SJA) ‘Ones to Watch’ Young Sports Photographer of Year Award.

Morgan (pictured below), who mentors current students, secured the prestigious gold award with a portfolio that won high praise from the judges for its variety and execution.

Morgan Harlow head and shoulders

Two images were taken at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge, of Chinese para-swimmer Weiyi Yuan waiting to race and University of Stirling’s George Smith midway through a 200-metre heat (main image).

Team sports featured too, with an aerial shot from a netball match between England and South Africa and a fiercely contested university hockey fixture between Loughborough and Edinburgh.

Completing the set was a shot from the All-England Open Badminton Championships that perfectly framed the athleticism of Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (below).

Morgan, a freelance photographer, said: “I had been over the moon to have been shortlisted for the award for the third time in four years, but to then find out I’d been awarded gold was an incredible feeling.

“I have been overwhelmed by the recognition and lovely comments received from my peers since the awards were announced, which has given me added confidence, and I’m now looking forward to what the rest of the year brings for me.

“While studying for my Editorial and Advertising Photography degree at the University, I made it my goal to learn from the best and in doing so managed to build relationships with staff photographers at Getty Images.

“My clients now include British Swimming, Swim England and England Netball, with whom I was the official photographer for at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“It hasn’t been an easy journey, because freelance photography is a very competitive industry, but I really enjoy my work and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”

an intentionally blurred image of a badminton player hitting an overhead shot

Trudie Ballantyne, Course Leader for BA (Hons) Photography: Editorial and Advertising, said: “We’re thrilled and extremely proud of Morgan, who is such an inspiration to our current students.

“She worked tirelessly as a sports photographer throughout her studies with us and hasn’t stopped since.

“Morgan very generously mentors our current students who photograph sport and regularly comes in to talk to third years about getting into and running a business.

“It’s one thing to take such amazing images but it’s another knowing how to make her career successful and sustainable.  We love her images and the stories she tells not only about her own dedication but that of the athletes she photographs.”