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Student Selected as Finalist for Photographer Award

26th July 2021

A Barking & Dagenham College student has been selected as a finalist in the Association of Photographers (AOP) Students Awards 2021.

Helen Taylor, from Hornchurch, had been working on a photographic series about Cockney culture and the migration of East Londoners to Essex. As part of this project, she borrowed a neighbour’s Pearly King suit to photograph and was shocked to discover just how heavy it was. It was something that Helen hadn’t considered before and she began to think about how the inside of the suit told an interesting story of the hard life that it endures whilst the outside is immaculate.

The annual AOP Awards are something that the photography department at the College encourages students to enter. The AOP is the leading organisation for photographers and image-makers working in the industry and is an internationally recognised event that can help provide students step into the professional arena.

Having completed her series, Helen decided to enter the competition and has now found out she made it as a finalist. Commenting on her success, Helen said: “I was over the moon to be selected as a finalist and it’s an achievement I am proud of. I truly didn’t believe that I stood a chance of getting anywhere close to being a finalist, but I felt quite strongly about the story that the images were telling as I don’t think anyone has really thought about Pearly King suits in this way before. The AOP is such a highly regarded association in the photographic industry that to have any kind of endorsement from them is fantastic and would certainly help my career prospects.”

Studying photography at the College is something that Helen has really enjoyed and now being a finalist has given Helen a new found confidence in her photographic work. As she adds: “My tutors have been so supportive and are really passionate about photography, which makes you feel empowered to get out there and push your own boundaries. They want you to succeed in your career and it’s been a real pleasure studying there.”

David Bennett, Programme Leader for Photography at Barking & Dagenham College said: “We are all extremely proud of what Helen has achieved. To be recognised by the AOP is a great honour and I know we will see great things from Helen in the future.”

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