Art student wins photography award using iphone

25 May 2016
Jodie Salmond Simon Devitt-composite
Top: Photographer Simon Devitt with prize-winner Jodie Salmond. Below: When I'm night driving.

Give an art student a phone and they will create a series of winning photographs, which is exactly what Jodie Salmond did.

The postgraduate student from Elam School of Fine Arts was awarded the 2016 Simon Devitt Prize for Photography, for her series of three images captured using an iphone.

This year’s theme was ‘a chance encounter’ and Salmond, who is in her final-year of her Masters of Fine Arts (MFA), included two haiku poems as part of her tryptich entitled ‘When I’m night driving’.

Judge Simon Devitt, described Salmond’s work as ‘beguiling and arresting’. When presenting the prize to her he said “the winning work took risks, pairing a familiar night road trip scene with a close up study of an aggregate surface and road markings, which were unsettling in their shift of speed and scale.”

Devitt, an Auckland-based photographer specialising in architectural images, established the annual award in 2008, at the School of Architecture and Planning, where he teaches.

Previously only open to architecture students, Devitt widened the 2016 competition to include all students from the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries to better reflect the interdisciplinary nature of their studies.

This year there were 70 entries in total, with 20 shortlisted for an exhibition, held as part of the Festival of Photography.

Professor Diane Brand, the Dean of Creative Arts and Industries at the University of Auckland, who opened the show of finalist’s work at the George Fraser Gallery last night, commented that “the overall quality of the work had increased this year along with the record number of entries.”

Dunedin-raised and now Central City-based Salmond, said she was “really happy to have won”. The mixed media artist who primarily employs photography and sculpture agreed “the work has an unsettling feel.”

“I'm really interested in the New Zealand landscape and I was trying to examine the psycho-social elements of those spaces,” she said.

Salmond, who intents to continue working as an artist when she finishes her MFA, won $1000 and a trophy. 

And in keeping with the spirit of the Festival of Photography, this year’s prize was increased to include a state-of-the-art Canon GX7 camera for the winner, meaning Jodie could be tempted to give up using her phone in future.

The 2016 Simon Devitt Prize for Photography exhibition

25 May - 4 June
George Fraser Gallery
The University of Auckland
25a Princes Street
Hours: 11am-4pm, Wednesday-Saturday

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