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Photography student Emma in the frame for International Award

Tuesday 6th March 2018

BA Visual Media Student Emma Spencer's Photography WorkHinckley higher education student Emma Spencer has reached the final of international photography competition, the Sony World Photography Awards.

Emma, 23, from Hinckley who is studying for a BA in Visual Media at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, was shortlisted for her work depicting the impact of man-made pollution on our oceans and seas.

Judges from the World Photography Organisation rated her work so highly, they shortlisted Emma as one of just ten individuals from around the world who will now compete in the final for the prestigious Student Focus Award.

Having made it to the final shortlist, Emma wins a Sony digital camera and will be transported to London for the final in April where she will compete to win £30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for her college.

As part of the final competition, Emma’s portfolio will be reviewed in detail by World Photography Organisation editorial staff and the Student Focus judges. 

Describing her piece, entitled ‘Polluted’, Emma said, “For this piece, I decided to focus on the vast amount of rubbish we clutter our oceans with. The rubbish in this bath was collected from one half an hour walk along a beach in Wales. Putting this in our everyday water supply is disgusting yet we expect our sea life to live amongst it. This image is meant to evoke confusion and feelings of discomfort to make the viewer consider this major environmental issue.”

College Principal and Chief Executive Marion Plant, OBE, said, “I am delighted that Emma has reached the final of this world class competition. The Student Focus Award is part of one of the world’s leading programmes for photography students.

“We strongly believe in encouraging our students to compete where they can in competitions at the highest level. Competitions provide excellent experience with the pressures and deadlines of a real-world working environment. Doing well in competitions helps students to gain confidence and an appreciation of their own abilities, and they also learn a great deal from their peers and industry experts.

“Emma has already done incredibly well to reach the final ten in the world as part of the Student Focus Award. We wish her the very best of luck for the final where I know she will be well supported by her tutors as she competes to bring home the highly valuable top prize for the College.”

Emma and her tutors James Botton and Andy Ainslow will attend the Sony World Photography Awards ceremony and festival in London on 19 April including a two-night hotel stay and all expenses paid.

To find out more about Higher Education courses at the College, call 024 7624 3000 or email

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