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Student wins national photography award worth £8,000

University of Gloucestershire student Jimmy Fletcher has won the Best in Show Award worth a total of £8,000 at the Association of Photographers’ 2023 Student Awards.

Jimmy, who has just completed his degree in Editorial and Advertising Photography within the University’s School of Arts, impressed the judges with his multi-screen short film documenting the entire breeding season of the northern gannet at Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire.

His piece won him a prize with a total worth of £8,000 including a cash grant of £2,500, a commissioned project with Fujifilm, access to a Fujifilm kit for his next project and the opportunity to work with a Fujifilm-approved Professional Lab to print a series of images for his portfolio. 

Jimmy said: “Hearing my name and seeing my work on screen at the announcement had me absolutely buzzing. I am still in complete shock.

“I have often doubted myself and my talent, but to have my vision and hard work recognised in such a prestigious competition has really boosted my confidence. I am now feeling very positive and excited for what the future holds for me.”

Jimmy, who also won the Silver Award in the Places category, said his award-winning film was inspired by his first view of the birds at Bempton Cliffs.

“As I looked down from the cliff tops, I was absolutely astonished,” said Jimmy. “The sky was filled with gannets flying back and forth with food and nesting materials, the cliff faces saw gannets feeding young, mating, building nests, clashing beaks, and fighting for territory.

“I immediately fell in love with this almost prehistoric looking scene and decided that I wanted to recreate this emotive experience.”

To add to this fantastic achievement Jimmy’s film was selected by the curators of the Wilson Gallery in Cheltenham to be one of three graduating students to feature in a group show that opened on the 1 July.

Trudie Ballantyne, Academic Course Leader for Photography: Editorial and Advertising at the University, said: “We’d like to congratulate Jimmy on his superb success in winning the Best in Show Award at the Association of Photographers’ 2023 Student Awards.

“It’s an enormous accolade to win the Best in Show Award considering the quality and range of entries across the competition and Jimmy should feel extremely proud about winning such recognition and a fabulous prize.

“Jimmy has worked incredibly hard over a year and a half to fore fill his creative vision, it took many, many hours of travelling, sitting in the wind and rain filming, recording sound, then editing and working with composer Simon Turner to create this magical three screen film. Jimmy finishes his journey with @edandadPhoto on a real high, it’s such a brilliant way to kick start his career.”