KING’S Ely Sixth Form student Luna Guo has been announced as the winner of the ILFORD PHOTO UK Student Photographer of the Year Competition 2018/19.

In what is now the competition’s ninth year, Photography students were tasked with creating a black and white (B&W) image that encapsulates an inspiring line from a book, film, poem, quote or song. The image had to be shot on ILFORD or Kentmere film and printed by themselves in a darkroom.

The competition received more than 630 entries from 40 different UK schools and colleges, and it was 18-year-old Luna’s stunning print, entitled ‘If you don’t help them who will?’, that was chosen as the overall winner.

Luna shot her image on ILFORD HP5+ and printed it on ILFORD MULTIGRADE IV RC Pearl. Her clever image was inspired by the work that Women & Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) undertake in South Africa. The organisation fights for the rights of children and to end child abuse.

Luna said: “I wanted to create an image of the situation that people are facing today when they cannot find someone for help or help others. The sole figure standing out of the crowd in my photograph represents the many who suffer abuse and violence. I had a strong vision of how I wanted the image to look with scale in mind and long shadows. I find using the darkroom very therapeutic and rewarding as I am able to work without the safety net of image enhancing software and learning traditional photographic skills.”

Last year’s competition was won by King’s Ely Sixth Form student Orla Simpson, and to say King’s Ely’s Head of Photography, Antonio Longo, is proud of both girls’ achievements would be a slight understatement.

He said: “I’m thrilled for Luna! Her win builds on our success which saw Orla Simpson being the UK winner of 2018. The competition was set as a live project for GCSE and A Level Photography groups in conjunction with their Foundation learning where they undertook darkroom practice as part of their course. I encourage all students to shoot film and use the darkroom to investigate a range of different processes and materials ranging from Chemigrams to B&W printing. I believe that traditional B&W processing and printing are still a valid educational tool and a must for all students to have access to.”

Greg Summers, Managing Director at HARMAN technology said: “This competition involves much more than capturing an image with a camera. I’d like to thank the lecturers and technicians who get involved, supporting their students and helping to keep darkroom practices alive through their commitment, knowledge and passion. As shown by all the finalists, the work that stands out demonstrates not just the required technical and photographic skills but the ability for the student to interpret and apply their own creativity to the brief in order to turn their concept into a beautiful print. Congratulations to Luna and all the other finalists for their excellent work and for embracing the challenge we set.”

The competition doesn’t end here for Luna. She now goes up against the winners and runners-up from the other participating countries to determine the overall winner of ILFORD PHOTO International Student Photographer of the Year. The UK will be hoping to take the crown from Hong Kong when the judging starts again in April.

To view all of the finalists’ images, please visit:

Back to all news