Winning streak continues for King’s Ely Photography Department!



A KING’S Ely student has had her creativity and photography skills celebrated in not one but two awards ceremonies.

Ella Martin, who is in Year 11 at King’s Ely Senior, has been Highly Commended in this year’s Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) Supporting Excellence Awards.

Ella’s achievement is in the ‘Khadija Saye Photography Award’ category, which recognises the ‘best photography portfolios by UK boarding school students’. The award is named in honour of the former Rugby School boarding pupil and respected international photographer, who tragically died in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

When describing Ella’s portfolio, judges said: “A powerful portfolio of portraits demonstrating a strong range of technical skills.”

All three of Ella’s images were created for a sustained project, entitled ‘Portraiture’, as part of her GCSE coursework. Ella said: “I wanted to experiment with a wide range of studio lighting and mixed media to enhance my models.”

Ella’s achievement was announced at the BSA Annual Conference for Heads, which took place in Bristol. Now in their sixth year, the BSA Supporting Excellence Awards celebrate the successes, hard work, and dedication of boarding schools and the individuals within them.

This success comes just weeks after Ella discovered that she had won a prize in the 2023 ‘Beyond the Frame’ Photography Competition, which is organised by Norwich University of the Arts (NUA). Now in its sixth year, the annual competition is open to photography students aged 11-19 from across the globe.

This year, there were 650 entries from 176 schools located in 26 different countries. These entries were whittled down to 50 shortlisted candidates, of which seven were King’s Ely students: Ella, Elliott Hilsden, Sam Clarke, Willis Xu, Euan Henry, Lia Kunis, and Thomas Bateman.

Ella won the ‘People’ category of the competition. Her image was chosen by photographer, filmmaker and educator, Cat Gundry-Beck. Commenting on Ella’s winning image on King’s Ely’s Instagram page, Cat wrote: “Congratulations to Ella, such beautiful work!”.

In a statement posted on the NUA website, Cat said: “The standard of work on show was incredible and produced such a diverse range of images. The sense of play and experimentation was unbelievable, with people finding influences from so many different places.”

In March, King’s Ely Sixth Form student, Jessica Harding, was crowned the International Winner of the ‘2023 ILFORD PHOTO Student Photographer of the Year Competition’- again, beating hundreds of young photographers from around the world. Chosen by a panel of photography professionals, Jessica’s win means that a King’s Ely pupil, under the guidance of Head of Photography, Antonio Longo, has now enjoyed success in this competition for five years running.

Mr Longo, who has been Head of Photography at King’s Ely for eight years, said: “I am extremely proud of Ella, Jessica, and all our students who were shortlisted in these competitions. I have been committed to creating a Photography Department at King’s Ely that is a community filled with young and creative minds. My approach to teaching photography is to support young photographers with their technical and creative skills, and to encourage them to capture the world around them in a unique way; making the ordinary, extra ordinary.”

King’s Ely is renowned for its holistic approach to education, and this is reflected in the school’s outstanding Visual and Performing Arts provision. Music, Drama and Theatre, Fine Art, Fashion and Textiles, Photography and Dance are each embedded in the culture of King’s Ely, with vast opportunities for pupils of all abilities and aspirations.

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