A Middlesex University student has wowed international judges and has been shortlisted for a prestigious photography prize.
Asef Ali Mohammad, from North Finchley, is amongst an international cast of ten finalists from as far afield as South Africa, USA and Russia for the 2012 Sony World Photography Awards Student Focus competition.
Final year BA Photography student Asef submitted his image of Hazara people in Pakistan. The Hazaras, who live mostly in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, have been subject to persecution, kidnapping and target killings – something Asef wanted to raise awareness of.
Student Focus is a high-profile international student photography award open to all universities across the globe which run a photography course. This year the competition has attracted entries from over 200 institutions across six continents. The finalists, including Asef, have been given a final brief for a new project, from which an overall winner will be selected.
Asef, who moved to the UK ten years ago from Pakistan, said: "I'm excited about being nominated for such a prestigious award – but this is just the start, I can't wait for the rest of the process.
"The whole environment that has shaped up in recent years around photography at Middlesex is fantastic. Each year I've seen other students get published in magazines and exhibited at places like the National Portrait Gallery – it sets the bar high, inspires, and gives you something to aim for."
Middlesex University BA Photography programme leader David Simmonds said: "Asef has been an outstanding student on the photography programme at Middlesex University. A talented image maker, he is a caring, insightful and determined young man. Together these qualities have enabled Asef to make mature, thought-provoking and sensitive images on often challenging subjects to which he has close personal connections."
The competition's brief was based on the philosophy of the haiku poem. The photographers were asked to take on a role similar to that of a haiku poet and create and submit one image that depicts a 'fleeting moment', or 'the decisive moment'.
The ten finalists will take part in the final competition with the winner announced at the Sony World Photography Awards ceremony at London's Park Lane Hilton Hotel on 26 April 2012. Students will also have their images will be exhibited as part of World Photo, at Somerset House, London.
The shortlist was selected by a prestigious judging panel comprising WPO Academy members including Executive Director of the Society for Photographic Education, Virginia Morrison, she said: "The finalists that I had the pleasure of reviewing succeeded in making their fleeting moments stand out in a crowd with such an array of interpretations of the theme. I was struck by the diversity of moments, so to speak, and the range of sensibilities."
Ania Wadsworth, World Photography Organisation Student Focus Award Coordinator added: "The Student Focus programme continues to engage with hundreds of students of photography worldwide. Each year, we are continually surprised and delighted with the overwhelming response to the programme and the quality of the work submitted from around the globe."