South Africa’s Aidan Murgatroyd is one of the shortlisted student photographers whose work will be exhibited at Somerset House, London.
Johannesburg, South Africa (19 January 2022) – The World Photography Organisation announced today that South Africa’s Aidan Murgatroyd, from Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography, is one of the shortlisted photographers for the Student competition of the Sony World Photography Awards 2022.
Murgatroyd joins 16 other photographers who have been shortlisted in the Student and Youth competitions of the 2022 awards.
Winners of Student Photographer of the Year and Youth Photographer of the Year will be announced on 12 April and will go on display as part of the Sony World Photography Awards 2022 exhibition at Somerset House, London.
Student Competiton Shortlist
The Student shortlist showcases series of works by ten students at leading international higher education institutions. For the 2022 competition, students were invited to submit a series of five to 10 images interpreting the brief Connections.
“Over the past two years, we have had to think differently about how we connect in more ways than we could have imagined. The shortlisted entries have each been chosen for their nuanced and intelligent responses to this brief.”
Connections to cultural identity and community are examined by several of the projects, such as The Identity of Holland by Ezra Bohm (The Netherlands, Nederlandse Acedemie voor Beeldcreatie) which focuses on the inhabitants of the Dutch village of Urk, the last people in the Netherlands to still wear traditional dress; Becoming South African by Aidan Murgatroyd (South Africa, Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography) follows the photographer’s journey in search of a greater understanding and sense of connection to his home country after prolonged absences; Theologians by Sergey Pronin (Russian Federation, Docdocdoc School of Modern Photography) captures participants seeking spiritual connection in the summer camp of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University’s Theological faculty; The Butcher by Dennis Mubanga Kabwe (Zambia, Open Window University Zambia) spotlights a local butcher at work in the heart of the market-place; and Cariño by Chris Rosas Vargas (USA, Parsons), a series of sentimental portraits of public spaces in the Bronx and Harlem;
Elsewhere the series explore connections through representations of togetherness, as in Tiramisu by Alexander Komenda (Canada, Aalto University, Finland), which depicts Komenda’s playful collaborations with fellow students to help pass the time during the lockdowns; and Disconnected by Oriel Naxhielly Martins (Armenia, ENFO Escuela De Fotografía, Argentina), where the photographer focuses on moments of physical intimacy and the struggle of coping with isolation during the pandemic.
Connections to the past and to family history were also central to several of the projects, including Connections by Sachi Deshmukh (India, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Italy), which juxtaposes past and present through old photographs of her then newly married parents held by their now aged hands and linked together with red thread; Memories of Family by Xu Han (China Mainland, Nanjing University of the Arts) uses close-up abstract images of paint droplets and patterns to explore the photographer’s relationship with family; and Even When We’re Breathing, We’re Moving by Angela Stoll (Australia, University of Wollongong) examines the idea of movement as a passage of time through long-exposure black and white images of a dancer within an abandoned space.
The winner of Student Photographer of the Year 2022 will be selected from the ten students and announced on 12 April. Together with their university, the winner will be awarded Sony digital imaging equipment amounting to a combined total of €30,000 (over R500,000).
This year’s Student shortlist was judged by Colin Czerwinski, Founder of NOICE Magazine.
Becoming South African
Aidan Murgatroyd is a photographer and graphic designer born in South Africa, who grew up in Dubai and studied in Oregon U.S.A before returning to South Africa to continue his studies in the fields of visual communication.
His submission follows the photographer’s journey in search of a greater understanding and sense of connection to his home country after prolonged absences
“As a third culture kid born and raised in various regions of the world and spending more time outside South Africa than in it, I’ve always desired to explore, understand and connect with what it means to be South African. As a child of mixed cultural background with one English and one Afrikaans parent, even in the midst of family gatherings, I felt a sense of otherness.
I returned to South Africa in 2017 and wanted to travel, connect and interact with the people, places and spaces that make up the South African experience. Finally in 2021, at the first chance available, I undertook a countrywide road trip over five months. The goal? To ascertain what it means to be South African, especially in a nation that encompasses so many cultures, languages and identities. Who are we?”
Check out his gallery below:
Youth Competiton Shortlist
The Youth competition shortlist features seven category winners from June to December 2021, who each responded to a different monthly theme.
Winner of the June competition, Elijah Baptiste (USA, 15 years old, Composition & Design), photographed his subject blindfolded and shot from below in black and white, emphasising the grace of his pose. Zinuo Shi (China Mainland, 17 years old, Street Photography) captures two women in conversation in a marketplace, while in the foreground, the upside-down poster of a model gives a surreal edge to the picture. Emery Sanderson (Canada, 19 years old, Landscape) depicts a serene snowy scene, interrupted only by a solitary figure and the tracks they have left behind. Likewise, Cameron Borg (Australia, 17 years old, Culture & Travel) shows a lone human set against nature, this time a surfer photographed from above in the turbulent swell. Rayhan Mundra’s (USA, 15 years old, Wildlife & Nature) image displays a brown bear in the split-second moment of catching a salmon from a stream. Tri Nguyen (Vietnam, 18 years old, Portraiture) uses a street mirror to create a portrait from two angles, in the glow of the moonlight. Benjamin Joel (USA, 17 years old, Open Call) captured the strength and determination of a national fencing champion.
Youth Photographer of the Year is judged by Hideko Kataoka, Director of Photography at Newsweek Japan. The winner will receive a range of Sony digital imaging equipment to nurture their vision.