Photography graduates in the frame for success

Alumni news

Friday 09 December 2011

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Three Coventry University photography graduates have been tipped for professional success by top industry magazine Turning Pro, with their degree show work appearing in a feature on the best graduate photography in 2011.

Harpreet Khara and Joanna Ornowska were among the first cohort of students to be awarded a BA (Hons) degree in Photography, after the course was introduced by Coventry School of Art and Design in 2008.

Students of the course get the chance to work with a group of highly professional practising and award-winning photographers such as course director Paul Smith and senior lecturer and renowned portrait photographer Jonathan Worth.

The degree programme encourages students to explore this rapidly expanding industry and equips them with the entrepreneurial skills required to build their own successful photographic business – and the first of Coventry’s photography graduates are certainly starting to make an impact on the industry.

Featured photographer and Coventry University graduate Harpreet Khara said:

The lecturers on the photography degree course at Coventry University are active in the industry and have extensive contacts with other industry professionals who provide guest lectures, allowing students to network and create useful contacts. I had the chance to build relationships and work collaboratively with people like Ludwig Haskins and Martin Parr, and as lecturer Jonathan Worth spends part of his time in London photographing celebrities like Lily Allen and Alicia Keys, he has current, relevant experience to bring to the course.

Coventry is a forward-thinking university; it has been instrumental in opening up debate on how photographers can and should challenge conventional business models in the digital age. My own third year transmedia portrait project was published in the US and on several other online social media platforms like Twitter. There are also excellent darkroom facilities, including a wet darkroom for developing black and white photos, which is fantastic as this is a dying art in the digital age. I feel at a distinct advantage to photographers graduating from other UK institutions.

Coventry University’s Photography Degree Course Director, Paul Smith said:

Turning Pro sums up the transition that our first graduating cohort has gone through, and it’s fitting that one third of our graduates were selected as rising stars from the thousands of graduates that completed their studies in 2011.

The three graduates featured in the magazine are all doing incredibly well. Harpreet Khara had an internship with British Vogue/GQ photographer Chris Floyd, was shortlisted for the National Art Competition by the not for profit organisation Art of Giving, and has had a solo exhibition in Switzerland. Joanna Ornowska exhibited in Warsaw before starting her studies at Coventry, she had work published in Photo Pro magazine in June 2010 while in her 2nd year, and was a finalist for the Luceo Student Project Award 2010.

Meanwhile, Marta Kochanek recently worked with internationally acclaimed portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz in New York, coordinating a large archive project covering Leibovitz’s 40 year career. Marta has had her own work in numerous exhibitions in the UK and Poland, and been shortlisted for a variety of awards, including winning a PX3 People’s Choice Award in 2010.

Many other Coventry University photography graduates are also settling into their professional roles. Aleksandra Zagozda is currently in New York working for pioneering photographer Chadwick Tyler, whose work challenges contemporary notions of beauty and has been used in high profile fashion campaigns. Aleksandra has also been offered an internship with the Sasha Wolf Gallery, which is based in the West Chelsea Arts District and showcases the work of contemporary photographers.

Another of the photography course's graduates, George Rippon, has recently been appointed to lead the photography element of Fresh Media, the University’s new in-house media production company.