A Middlesex student who went to Africa for a university project has been named as the Student Photographer of the Year by the Association of Photographers.
AJ Hamilton, was presented with the award in central London recently for his series of striking fashion photos he took in northern Uganda.
Amazingly, the 26 year-old student, who goes by the name "squiz", shot the images in response to an assignment on his BA Photography course, arranging clothing from designers and sourcing a contact out in Uganda to help him find a location and suitable models.
He said: "I had always wanted to shoot in Africa and I wanted to use a girl from the Acholi tribe, as they are particularly tall and elegant. I went to villages and spoke to families to see who would take part."
The resulting photos were selected from a record number of entries. The judges praised the Middlesex student's work for its "unique quality and sensitivity to detail". Student Awards judge Miranda Gavin offered Abijah six bespoke one-to-one mentoring sessions and he also received £250 worth of Fujifilm products.
This is not the first time that AJ has been abroad for an assignment, as he shot a fashion portfolio look book for a designer in Japan last year and two fashion editorials.
Talking about the lengths he had gone to for a university project, he said: "There's a few of us on the course who buzz off each other, we spur each other on and push each other."
With 5,000 friends on Facebook, he uses the social networking site to make contacts in the industry and find opportunities to work with "creatives". He said: "If I didn't have that connection and people couldn't see my work so easily it would be much more difficult."
It wasn't all plain sailing on his award winning project, as AJ realised just before leaving for Uganda that he had booked to go in the wet season.
He said: "I was so close to cancelling but I went and luckily it was clear for two of the ten days I was there."
AJ's work was also shown in the AoP gallery in Shoreditch, east London until April 8. To see more of his work go to his website.
Second year photography student Sonya Hurtado added to Middlesex's success in the competition as she was awarded a merit by the AoP judges.
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