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Leicestershire, UK
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5 November 2009 | PR 09/153

Graduate’s portrait photo scoops two awards at esteemed prize ceremony

Lomas photo

Ali's award-winning photograph.

Ali Lomas, who graduated from Loughborough University in the summer, has won the 2009 Godfrey Argent Award and the inaugural ELLE Commission, for a stunning photographic portrait taken from her series entitled To Feel Beautiful. Both awards are made as part of the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize scheme, which celebrates the very best in contemporary portrait photography and is open to amateur and professional photographers from around the world.

Ali’s portrait, together with those of the other shortlisted entrants for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, is now being exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery until 14 February 2010.

This year’s Godfrey Argent Award acknowledges an outstanding portrait taken by an exhibitor aged between eighteen and twenty-five. As her prize Ali receives £2,500.

As winner of the ELLE Commission, which is new this year, Ali will be given the opportunity to shoot a feature story for ELLE magazine. The ELLE Commission was judged by the fashion magazine’s editor-in-chief, Lorraine Candy, together with the creative director, Marissa Bourke and deputy picture editor, Hannah Ridley.

Lorraine Candy said: “ELLE magazine has a long tradition of finding and supporting new talent from models to designers and photographers and it is an honour to be involved in such a prestigious photography competition.

“We chose Ali’s work because of the exceptional technical quality of her picture and the haunting feel of the subject matter. It was also extremely stylish.  I felt her work would complement the pages of ELLE.”

Taken from her degree show, Ali’s portrait reflects her interest in combining narrative-based portraiture with fashion photography.

Shot on Loughborough University campus using a digital Hasselblad camera with flash, a student friend, Laura Daley, posed for the picture. In the photograph Laura stands next to the wash basins in a white-tiled public toilet. In one of the basins lie the remnants of fish and chips wrapped in paper.

Ali says: “I didn’t want the series to self-narrate; I wanted to keep things ambiguous. The portrait of Laura is meant to portray a moment of unspoken personal trauma and I hope people can perhaps read into it a similar experience of their own. It’s meant to be disquieting and uncomfortable to look at.”

Born in Burton upon Trent, Ali (22) graduated from Loughborough University School of Art and Design in July with a First Class degree in Fine Art specializing in Photography. Since graduating she has been looking for photographic work while considering whether to return to college to take a Masters degree in fashion photography.

“I’d love to be in the position one day when I’m shooting fashion campaigns for the high-end, couture brands. I feel I have a distinctive style and signature that I could bring to the industry,” Ali said.

Following the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, the work of the shortlisted entrants for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize will tour to The Shipley Art Gallery in Newcastle from 27 March to 6 June 2010 and then to The New Art Gallery, Walsall from July to September 2010. The exhibition tour is organised by the National Portrait Gallery.

– Ends –

For all media enquiries contact:

Hannah Baldwin
Head of PR
Loughborough University
T: 01509 222239
E: H.E.Baldwin@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

  1. For a copy of Ali’s award-winning work, please contact Hannah Baldwin, T: 01509 222239, E: H.E.Baldwin@lboro.ac.uk

  2. Images of Ali at the awards ceremony are available from WireImage.com (http://www.wireimage.com/ItemListings.aspx?igi=401490&nbc1=1)

  3. Other examples of Ali Lomas’s work are available at her website (http://www.alilomas.co.uk/homepage.html)

  4. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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