Elam student finalist in Sony World Photography Awards

01 March 2016
Castle Hill (Kura Tawhiti) by Matilda Fraser

Artist Matilda Fraser, a 26 year old student at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland was announced today as a finalist in the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Student Focus programme.

Fraser’s shortlisted image ‘Castle Hill (Kura Tawhiti)’ beat entries from over 400 educational institutions across five continents. She is now one of ten shortlisted photographers from around the world who will be flown to London to compete to win the Student Focus Photographer of the Year title and a grand prize of €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment. She will also have the opportunity to be featured by the British Journal of Photography (the world’s oldest photography publication) and a chance to contribute to their Instagram feed.

The Sony World Photography Awards is the world’s largest photography competition, and its Student Focus programme is a launch pad for many students to break into the photographic industry as well as the opportunity to be recognised globally.

Fraser’s shortlisted image ‘Castle Hill (Kura Tawhiti)’ was shot on a drive to Cass, a station near Arthur’s Pass, while on a six-week writer’s residency in Dunedin.  She says of the image: “Kura Tawhiti, seen here from the car window, is full of unique limestone outcroppings, and named a 'spiritual centre of the universe' by the Dalai Lama, who visited in 2002 and paused there to pray.”

Fraser says “she is very pleased and excited to be nominated for the Award. As a practitioner who primarily works with film, I am looking forward to the learning curve offered by this opportunity, and am anticipating the final brief already. I am grateful for the chance to visit London, as this will be invaluable to the on-going development of my work.”

Fraser, and the other shortlisted photographers, have to shoot a new series of images using a full frame camera from Sony, given to each shortlisted student as part of their prize. Fraser’s images will all be shown at Somerset House, London from 22nd April - 8th May as part of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition and will be published in the annual Sony World Photography Awards book.

From this new work, an expert panel of judges will select one winner who will receive €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for their university.

Talking about her student’s success Joyce Campbell, Senior Lecturer, Elam School of Fine Arts says “we are delighted to have Matilda shortlisted for this international prize. Her time-based work seems particularly appropriate to this year’s focus on Millennials. She explores the poetic relationship of language to image and negotiates the fragile fabric that binds people to places, to objects and to each other. The Award and the surrounding events in London are a wonderful opportunity for Matilda to build networks around the globe that extend her rich social practice, and for our School to connect with other tertiary contemporary art institutions.”


Miranda Playfair, Media Relations Adviser

Email: m.playfair@auckland.ac.nz