TALENTED King’s Ely Sixth Form student Gaia Giardinelli has been announced as the winner of a fiercely-contested competition for young photographers.

More than 400 students entered this year’s Beyond the Frame photography competition, organised by Norwich University of the Arts (NUA). The theme was ‘environment’ and students were asked to interpret the theme in their own vision.

As reported earlier this month (April), the work of King’s Ely Sixth Form students Lexy Chen and Gaia Giardinelli was shortlisted. Both young photographers attended NUA’s Beyond the Frame exhibition and awards event on April 12th, where they had the opportunity to meet the judges and learn more about the photography industry.

As if that wasn’t an achievement in itself, 17-year-old Gaia, from Cambridge, was announced as the overall winner on the night. A judging panel made up of Tim Flach, Carol Sharp, Denisa Ilie and James Smith, course leader at NUA, selected Gaia’s image as the winning entry from more than 400 photographs submitted by 174 teenage photographers nationwide.

The competition was open to anyone aged 15+ at high school or college, and there were entries from Cumbria to the Channel Islands. For winning, Gaia received more than £1,000 worth of Canon photographic equipment.

James Smith, BA Photography course leader at NUA, and chairman of the Beyond the Frame judging panel, said: “The quality of students’ work and the breadth of ideas in response to our brief was truly impressive. This ranged from fashion to landscapes. We were delighted to meet our finalists at the inaugural Beyond the Frame exhibition at NUA – probably the first time many of the students will have exhibited their work outside their school or college. The judges thought long and hard about their overall winner. Gaia’s image explores the relationship between nature and humanity. She challenges viewers to think about the dominance of mankind over the natural world and foregrounds the importance of plants and trees by making it the dominant element of the image.”

Gaia and Lexy’s success comes just weeks after King’s Ely Sixth Form student, Orla Simpson, won the UK ILFORD PHOTO 2017/18 Student Competition, Lyrically Speaking. Her striking image was based on the lyric ‘Let’s talk about freedom, everyone prays in the end’ by award-winning musician Sam Smith. Last year, King’s Ely student Charmaine Wong came runner up in the digital category of the competition.

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