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What's next? Winners - AOP Student Awards 2022

Hear from each of the 2022 AOP Student Awards Gold and Silver Winners across the categories of People Places and Things. We’re delighted to share in their own words their reflections on winning as well as their hopes and plans for the future.


Best in Show + People Category Gold Winner – Paris Tankard, BA Photography, University of South Wales

“I honestly had no expectation that I would be a finalist let alone win, I have had many doubts about my talents over the years and this award has just squashed them all, I have been made to feel appreciated for my work and what I can put out into the world. Not only from the AOP but from everyone coming across my work and praising it. This has all been so validating for me.”

I’m a 21-year-old photographer from London but have studied in Cardiff for the past three years. Most of my work focuses on the idea of activism and the lives of people, with a large amount of my recent work focusing on LGBTQ+ issues and race relations.”

On the topic of what’s next:  “That has always been a question I would be scared of answering, even though the answer may still be the same, that being that I have no clue, I feel like I’m in such a good position going forward with my name already out there. I’ve already been asked to be a panellist at an LGBTQ+ Issues and History conference. The next logical step would be focusing on graduate jobs but as long as I can continue making my work then I’ll be happy.”


Places Category Gold Winner – Kate White, Nottingham Trent University

“I’m a 21 year old photography graduate from NTU. I’ve been fascinated by photography ever since I picked up a camera at 15 but at university I began to use my visual work in a different way. In my winning project, it was used as a therapeutic lament, a way of healing and grieving a place, and a person. But I’m also intrigued by the way photography can be used as a tool to highlight and present ways of solving social issues.

I’m so happy to have been given this recognition and be able to share a project that has been difficult but at the same time very healing for me.”

On the topic of what’s next: “I’m interested by the way gender intersects with global development and am passionate about the upholding of humans right. Therefore I plan to move my career towards the third sector. Using my photography as a tool for change.”


Things Category Gold Winner – Madeleine Roberts, Falmouth University

“‘I was both shocked and pleased to be considered as a finalist amongst so much outstanding work, so to win was an amazing feeling. It is a huge achievement for me and the kickstart of my career. I am excited for what the future holds and feel inspired to further my practice. I couldn’t be happier!’

I have just graduated from Falmouth University where I have spent the last three years experimenting with different subjects and processes which led me to discover my passion for alternative photography and the natural world as a subject within photography. I enjoy being in nature and I am always drawn to water which translates within my practice where I find alternative ways to photograph water and use it as both a medium and subject. I enjoy experimenting and trying new/ old processes in the darkroom and the ways that I can translate this back into the environment itself to work directly with water in the landscape. This combines both my love of nature with my passion for photography and how I combine the two to create unique alternative prints using a haptic approach. “

On the topic of what’s next: “I would like to continue with my project ‘Aqua Fortis’ and complete my book to hopefully get published in a limited release. As well as continuing my exploration of alternative processes and working with water. I would also like to release a series of fine art prints based on my recent work and continue to build my portfolio. I’d like to create more photobooks in the future and explore collaborations and exhibitions. “


Silver Winners

People Category Silver Winner – Danielle Kalinovskis, HNC Photography, Morley College, London

“I am honoured to have won the Silver Award in the People Category, especially for a project that means so much. As much as I want to make art that is beautiful, I really want to make art that is meaningful and that makes people stop and think, and so winning an award that highlights the racial injustice of climate change inspires me to keep creating work that raises awareness of social injustices in thought provoking ways.

I originally graduated with a degree in Classics 20 years ago, and always loved the arts and photography but came from a background where academic excellence was the only option. I was a self taught amateur photographer for years, and it was only ever a hobby until a drastic change in life circumstances a few years ago made me realise that making art is something that I need to do on a soul level. I actually won the AOP Open Series Award in 2017 but was adjusting to life as a newly disabled person and struggled to create anything for a few years. The pandemic highlighted how short and unpredictable life can be and so I decided to return to higher education and follow my creative passions and here I am now, less than a year later from making that decision, having won another AOP Award. Tomorrow is promised to no one, and so I want to embrace each day with passion and creativity whilst I can.”

On the topic of what’s next: “I still have another year left of my studies, but my goal is to get gallery representation, and to be represented by a gallery that understands and supports my artistic vision. I also want to start a Queer Artists Collective, a space for queer artists to come together and support and inspire each other, wether they are emerging artists or well established artists. I think it’s important to have a space where people are free to be themselves and create from a sense of safety and support.”


Places Category Silver Winner – William Turner, University of Derby – Professional & Applied (Photography)

“‘I have always had a passion for photography and the creative freedoms it allows a person to express. As I developed my skills, I found myself striving to push those creative possibilities as far as I could. To turn what is often considered the mundane into the extraordinary. A prime example of this is the image I produced of a simple tree, in a field, in Lincolnshire. Turning this unassuming item of nature, which we all see every day, into a stunning image I am proud to place upon the wall. I am always pushing my own skills and the concepts of photography in new ways. Processes that many would achieve in post, I aim to achieve on location if possible and this has led me to use my equipment in new and inventive ways. 

Winning silver in my category at this year’s AOP awards was one of the first major milestones of my career as a photographer. This was the first competition I have entered and to reach the finalist stage, and to win silver overall is a validation of my work and my skills. It has also shown me that the effort I put into my own creative ideas is worthwhile, whilst also inspiring me to continue improving and to show what else I can achieve moving forwards. 

Moving forward, I have numerous personal projects that I would like to start alongside being a freelance photographer. I would also like to continue my award-winning project as I look to take it globally. I will be looking to further develop my skills and look to produce different unique conceptual pieces of work. My ambition is to work for an agency while creating pieces of art for big companies in the UK and around the rest of the world.


Things Category Silver Winner – Karo Birger, BA Photography, University of South Wales

“‘I am thrilled for the second year in a row to be Silver Winner in Things Category. I did not expect that. Finalists presented a very high level of their work. I feel fortunate to be chosen. That makes me think that my work makes sense and motivates me to carry on and work even harder on my projects. 

I am from Poland and three years ago moved to Cardiff to study photography. The UK gave me better options in them of education and personal development, and that’s why I am here. Visually, I am mainly inspired by 17th-century painting and the surrealist movement. I attempt to create striking images which explore challenging issues and ideas of consumption through its beauty.

My plan for the next months is to apply for the founding of the Art Council for my private project and get noticed by a respected creative agency. My dream is to work closely with the art galleries, as well as on commissions. It is a very long way, but I do believe that through hard work, I can make that happen.”



Click here to see the Awards announcement and all Winners and Finalists entries.


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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.
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