Alumni Photography Myriad

The following finalists all have one thing in common, each studied photography at The University of Gloucestershire; Jonathan Gregson, Abbie Stewart, Jen Rich, Emma Boyns, Catherine Walter, Laura Truby & Pete Cassidy.

We decided it was high time we found out more about the institution with so many alumni breaching our ranks and contacted BA Editorial & Advertising Photography Course Leader Trudie Ballantyne to find out more.


1)    Overview of your university

The BA Editorial & Advertising Photography course sits within the exciting creative community of the Art & Design School at The University of Gloucestershire, which is located in the beautiful Spa town of Cheltenham, England. The course is highly regarded within the professional landscape; it is designed to give students the creative and professional skills needed to excel and become commissionable, highly successful, in all areas editorial and advertising photography & moving image. Students immerse themselves in whatever genre of photographic work they are passionate about. This includes fashion, people, lifestyle, interiors, architecture, music and of course FOOD photography. They gain extensive professional insight, connections and are taught by a dedicated team of lecturers, all of who are professional photographers & are passionate about the subject and world of photography.


Trudie Ballantyne2)    Background on your role

I worked for many years in London and as an advertising and editorial photographer working for clients such as BT, American Express and Country living magazine. As soon as I started teaching I fell in love with the job, nurturing the next generation of photographers, making a difference to people’s lives and careers is incredibly rewarding. As a team we are continually evolving the course to respond to the ever-changing landscape of professional photography. As course leader I design how this is delivered through out the course in a progressive, holistic and exciting way, that continually inspires, informs and challenges our students.


3)    What would you say you love most about your role?

It’s fun.

I get to work with great people, travel, inspire others and learn new things all the time.

Firstly, I work with a fantastic team of teaching and technical staff. Senior Lecturers Matthew Murray, Grant Scott and Dr. Sharon Harper each bring their own unique perspectives and wealth of experience to the mix, along with many visiting lecturers, speakers and friends of the course.

And of course the students. To witness individuals mature as photographers, moving image creators, to find their own voice, gain personal confidence and be able to articulate about their work is a real pleasure.

We travel and collaborate with business a lot as a course. Paris, London, New York, Shanghai and this year Vancouver, working with brands such as Converse China, Superdry UK, Specialized bikes USA and Lululemon Canada.


4)    Why do you recommend to your students to enter competitions such as ours?

It’s important they get their work seen, reviewed and judged by other professionals. When they win or are finalists, it can give them exposure and connections with people who may commission, employ or recommend them. Our students aspire to work and make their careers as professionals, so establishing their network and making friends with people in the industry at an early stage is vital. I always tell them to give it a go, they have nothing to loose and they could gain so much. They sometimes question, whether their work good enough, the answer to that is if they don’t enter they will never know, it doesn’t really matter what I think, the outcome is dependent on the judges and the dynamics of the panel. So just go for it.


5)    What top tips would you give to any students wanting to enter the competition?

As any photographer will tell you, personal work is so important. Don’t just shoot work for briefs other people give you, create your own narrative, shoot your passions and keep shooting, always be active, don’t get hung up on technique and equipment, yes that is important, but it’s more important to understand what it is you want to say with your work and how you want others to feel and think when they view your images. If you keep doing that you will find you are creating a body of work with substance. So when you find competitions such as this Food Photographer of the Year, you will have work that is worthy to submit. Don’t be put off by the title of the competition. Abbie Stewart our 3rd year student who won the best documentary and best overall food film this year, wouldn’t call herself a food photographer, she is a people/documentary photographer and filmmaker. So check them all out, a good place to find which competitions are currently open around the world is but you must make sure it’s not a rights grab competition, READ the T&C’s, you must always retain the copyright of your work, the organizers should have the right to reproduce your images only in connection with the competition.. not the right to sell on them to third parties, sorry for the lecture but that is so important, value your work and don’t give it away.


6)    Which of the finalists images and films did you most enjoy this year?

Of course I am bias but Jonathan Gregson for me is a powerful visual storyteller who has the ability to create stunning images and stories time and time again.

And I’m so proud of Abbie Stewarts achievement to win the two film awards this year; in competition with professionals is just great before she’s even graduated from ED&AD Photo. The other film I particularly enjoyed was by Barbara Zonzin ‘Choco Thriller’, great idea, beautiful lighting, nicely seen shots with a good edit and soundscape.

I think the politics of food category had some excellent images that demonstrate the power of photography as the universal language, two images that I feel are especially strong were by Mick Shippen and Samantha Hamilton.


To find out more about the course visit our course blog

Follow us on twitter: @EDANDADPHOTO

Visit the University of Gloucestershire Website

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