2023 AOP Student Awards

The 2023 AOP Student Awards – shining a light on the next generation of photographers and image makers

© Natalia Krezel

AOP Student Awards 2023

The AOP Student Awards were established in the early 1980s, to recognise and highlight emerging photographic talent which existed in further education institutions across the UK.
Many of the AOP Student Awards winners go on to become discovery winners as assisting photographers and then as professional photographers for our AOP Photography Awards, as we pride ourselves on nurturing talented photographers throughout their career.

Entry information


Best In Show - Jimmy Fletcher

University of Gloucestershire, Photography: Editorial and Advertising BA (Hons)


I visited Bempton Cliffs for the first time in July 2021, and I was completely blown away by what I witnessed there. The sound was immense. Crashing waves and erratic bird calls seemed to surround me and engulfed the entire cliff tops. As I looked down from the cliff tops, I was absolutely astonished. The sky, the sea, and every inch of cliffs and outcrops seemed to be dominated by Seabirds. 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, so I came up with the idea of my multi-screen short film, Bempton. Bempton was filmed over the course of a year, from March 2022 – March 2023 and documents the entire breeding season of the Northern Gannet at RSPB Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire. Each year these cliffs are brought to life with the incredible sights and sounds of over 200,000 seabirds who use them as a space to raise their chicks between the months of March and October. The film, spread over three screens, captures the changing landscape of the cliffs, the fight for territory, and the beauty of the Gannets’ courtship over the course of a year. The imagery is accompanied by an incredibly immersive soundtrack, which is comprised of both an emotive score (composed by Simon Turner) and the natural sounds of the landscape and birdlife.

“Fujifilm is proud to support the next generation of photographers through our association with the AOP’s student awards. We believe in nurturing creativity and innovation in the field of imaging, and we look forward to seeing the incredible talent that emerges from this competition. The overall winner can expect a prize that reflects our commitment to excellence in imaging solutions.”


Theo Georghiades, General Manager Fujifilm UK
“We’re delighted Fujifilm are supporting this AOP Award, which recognises the skill and talent of students who are studying photography in various forms, with such a generous prize. Both the cash grant and commissioned project is a great way to provide a helping hand towards a professional career for the judges’ selected Best in Show winner”. Isabelle Doran, CEO.

£2,500 Cash Grant & Package prize worth around £8,000 for our
Best In Show Winner

Fujifilm are offering a commissioned project to the overall winner of the AOP Student awards.

  • The winner will receive a cash grant of £2,500, access to Fujifilm kit to support with their next project and support from Fujifilm ambassador and AOP member Kristina Varaksina.
  • Fujifilm will also support and create the creation of a short marketing video to promote their ‘Print to Prove It’ Campaign.
  • The winner will work closely with a Fujifilm approved Professional Lab who will advise and print a series of images for their portfolio.
  • The prize in total is worth around £8,000 – further prize details will be provided to the AOP Student Awards ‘Best in Show’ winner, once announced.

Entering the AOP Student Awards is a chance to be seen by leading commissioners and names within the photographic industry. 

Category GOLD Winners 2023

Whatever your vocation, passion, course or age, we invite you to inspire us with your photography.


Judge: Julia Fullerton-Batten, multi Award winning Photographer and AOP Accredited Member

This category covers any form of people-photography from portraiture to street photography, photojournalism and beyond. The People category is an opportunity to make visual comments about the human race and its ways. In previous ‘portrait’ categories, animal pictures have been featured but the originators of this category feel that entries this year should feature the human race.

Nick Teo - GOLD Winner

Arts University Bournemouth, Commercial Photography.

I Am Not My Diagnosis

Abandoned office in my hometown in Romania. Records found dating back to 1931-1946.

Christina Filimon - GOLD Winner

London Met BA Photography

Dimineața (Morning), 2023 


Judge: Krishna Sheth, Head of Photography, The Economist 1843 Magazine

Rather than duplicate possible locations such as landscapes and architecture, we offer this category which provides unlimited opportunities. We promise that we will be as flexible as you need us to be.


Judge: Ian Potter, Miss Jones

This category covers almost everything else. Think Irving Penn’s found objects, Mapplethorpe’s flowers, Ori Gersht’s explosions, cats, dogs, bats and monkeys by Tim Flach, and sublime still-lifes by Richard Maxted and then make something unique and sensational of your own. We can’t wait to see your work.

Saturn's Web

Alexander Norman - GOLD Winner

Falmouth University, BA Photography

I Float Alone

Student Awards Judges

Meet our judges for the 2023 Student Awards

Julia Fullerton-Batten

Julia Fullerton-Batten

Category: People

Julia Fullerton-Batten is a fine-art photographer renowned for her highly cinematic visual story-telling.  Her large-scale projects are based around specific themes. Each image in the project embellishes her subject matter in a series of thought-provoking narrative ‘stories’ using staged tableaux and sophisticated lighting techniques.

Julia’s use of unusual locations, highly creative settings, street-cast models, accented with cinematic lighting are hallmarks of her style. She insinuates visual tensions in her images and imbues them with a mystique that teases the viewer into continually re-examining the picture; something new coming to the fore each time. 

 Her fine-art work is globally renowned and exhibited. She has won countless awards worldwide, is frequently portrayed in photographic journals, has published three books, is a Hasselblad Ambassador and a frequent speaker at international workshops and a juror of international competitions. Her images are on the front covers of ‘A Guide to Collecting Contemporary Photography’. She has a permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery, Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne and the Parliamentary Art Collection, Houses of Parliament.

Krishna head shot

Krishna Sheth

Category: Places

Head of Photography – The Economist 1843 Magazine

Krishna Sheth has recently joined 1843 Magazine at The Economist as the Head of Photography.  She has been an art buyer and Director of Photography commissioning for print and web content for a variety of clients, Saatchi & Saatchi, Monocle, The Financial Times, Telegraph Media Group, Airbnb, Bookings.com and Aston Martin as well as book publishers and individual luxury clients.
Krishna has more than 23 years’ experience of commissioning photography and photo research; She was Deputy Photography Director at the Telegraph Magazine for 17 years and a key player in building the visual profile of the magazine.
Krishna specialises in editorial and contract publishing, dealing directly with newspapers, magazines and commercial clients. 
She was also a tutor on the MA Photography online for Falmouth University and lectures at various universities. She has been Chair Judge for pre-selection for all Sony World Photography Awards. Krishna also reviews portfolios and book dummies and is passionate in raising awareness for emerging talent in the industry. 
Ian Potter

Ian Potter

Category: Things

Agent and Producer at Miss Jones

Ian started working in photography at the age of 19 assisting in London, and some 36 years later is still going strong. After shooting fashion for titles such as British Vogue and The Guardian he went on to art direct before creating The Miss Jones Agency in Edinburgh and London. He has produced many significant and high profile ad campaigns for brands such as Ford, Ikea, Tesco and UKGov and works with a talented roster of high end photographers and directors, to whom he provides both creative and commercial support. Ian’s personal landscape photography is also starting to gain admirers, his work published by Hoxton Mini Press and various online publications.

AOP Student Awards Finalists will be exhibited at Free Range graduate exhibition, Truman Brewery between 23 June – 2 July 2023
WEEK ONE – 23·24·25 JUNE
Gold and Silver Winners, along with Best in Show, are announced on 23 June.

Join us for our STARTING OUT programme: Details HERE
Free Range is an annual creative showcased hosted by Truman Brewery that has been taking place for over 20 years. It allows emerging artists and graduates from an array of creative disciplines the platform to present their work in a prime location. The event is to narrow the jump from institution to industry level and assist in the difficulty in this which specifically creative students face. Not only is the event attended by students and the general public but moreover by industry professionals and therefore creates a space for great potential conversations and opportunities.
Finalists’ entries will be displayed indefinitely on the AOP Awards website.
No copyright is transferred to the AOP in respect of any works entered or accepted.
All students, including those from overseas, studying in the UK at FE level or higher can enter the AOP Student Awards.  

© William Turner, University of Derby – Professional & Applied (Photography).  SILVER Places 2022

Join the AOP as a Student Member

The AOP is a not-for-profit organisation run by photographers for photographers. All profits go towards providing support for photographers including lobbying, promotion of best practice and the worth of photography and photographers everywhere.

Interested in joining the AOP?  Click here to become an AOP member.

Entries open Midday Tuesday 4 April for the AOP Student Awards 2023

Save the date:
Join us at Free Range 2023, Truman Brewery from 23 June to 2 July for an exhibition of AOP Student Awards 2023 finalists work, and for our Starting Out Programme.

WEEK ONE: 23·24·25 JUNE


Gold and Silver Category Winners, along with Best in Show, the AOP Course  of the Year and the AOP Lecturer of the Year will also be announced at the event and online on Friday 23 June 2023. 

£2,500 Cash Grant + Package prize from Fujifilm UK for the Best in Show winner, Gold and Silver winners, along with finalists, may also appear in a final showcase event and also feature in The 38th AOP Photography Awards book.

Denouement , (Series) © Karo Birger, University of South Wales. SILVER Things 2022


© John Buchanan

AOP Photography Awards

The AOP Photography Awards are known as the ‘Oscars’ of the photography world. They celebrate excellence in the creative photography and image-making industry.
This is your chance to be seen by leading commissioners and names within the photographic industry.
Enter our 39th AOP Awards…