Coventry Photography graduate shortlisted for top Guardian award

Coventry Photography graduate shortlisted for top Guardian award
Alumni news

Wednesday 03 October 2012

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A recent graduate from Coventry University has made it through to the finals of the prestigious Guardian Student Media Awards, a leading competition for future journalists and creative industry talent.

Dean O’Brien, 43, from Tile Hill, Coventry, is up for ‘Student Photographer of the Year’ – the first time for a Coventry University student.  To enter he was required to put forward three different images that tell a story and highlight both technical and artistic excellence.

Taken from his time at Coventry University, Dean submitted images from an ongoing project that looks at modern day Ukraine and its struggle with social change and other issues, such as marriage agencies, following their post-Soviet Union independence.

As well as exhibiting the images, Dean has also made short films on the same topic, and plans are underway for a book to compliment the ‘Destination Unknown’ project, from which these photographs were taken from.

Judges for the award include photographers: Olivia Arthur (Magnum Photos); Matt Cardy; Giles Duley; David Levene (the Guardian) and Eamonn McCabe (the Guardian).

Dean is one five shortlisted for this highly-acclaimed award, and he will find out his fate at an awards ceremony taking place at the Guardian offices in London on 7th November.

The winning sharp shooter will have the opportunity to display their talent during two weeks works experience at the Guardian.

Dean, who will graduate from Coventry University in November with a first-class honours degree in Photography, said:

It's a terrific honour to have been shortlisted for this award. The Guardian Student Media Awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase my work to people within the media and photography industries.

The images I submitted contain a certain integrity which I feel is vital when documenting social change in such a troubled country. My aim is not to shock, but to create a better understanding of why so many women are leaving the country they love.

Ukraine is a complicated country which does present challenges to those trying to depict a true portrayal of the situation there. Since gaining its independence in 1991, Ukraine has struggled against the continued 'Russification' of the country, and my latest project 'Uncertain Futures' aims to document this further.