Photography graduate gains special recognition for competition success

State of Mind
State of Mind (Image credit: Katy Johnson)

Award-winning Arts University Plymouth graduate Katy Johnson has received special recognition for her photographic work. 

Johnson secured second place in the Wex Student Photography Competition and was also named in the ‘Official Selection’ in the International Photography Awards (IPA) after winning an Honourable Mention in the 2021 Awards. Her photography series State of Mind, was submitted to both of the competitions and is the project that was made during her time at University. 

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The Wex Student Photography Competition is a competition open to all UK-based students where they can submit work. This year's theme was 'landscapes', and Johnson won second place with her work titled State of Mind (the same as the larger project). For coming in second place Johnson was awarded £1,500 worth of Wex vouchers. 

“I found out via email that I’d won and it was a big shock, to be honest! The work I submitted was my ‘State of Mind’ series that I’d created for my final major project. As this was such a large body of work, I was really proud of what I’d achieved. Throughout the creation of my work, I’ve always had a feeling of imposter syndrome, so when I received second place, it was a pleasant surprise. It made me feel that maybe I should explore the editorial side of photography further”, Johnson said. 

The farmer, the tractor and his land (Image credit: Katy Johnson)

In 2021, Katy won an IPA 2021 Honourable Mention in the International Photography Awards in the category of 'Editorial/Press - Environment’ for her image The Farmer, the Tractor and his Land which was selected out of over 13,000 entries from 120 different countries worldwide. She said, “I was pleasantly surprised to get the shortlisting at the IPA. I found out about this shortly after I won second place in the Wex Student Awards, so this was another big push and gave me a huge boost to my confidence.”

A big congratulations to Katy Johnson, for her achievements, but also for gaining confidence in her work. Imposter syndrome is something all creatives suffer from at some point in the journey, and the best way to combat it is by gaining confidence in your ability. Entering competitions can help with this as they can provide a needed confidence and career boost!

For more articles on competitions and tips for budding photographers see, Make money with your camera – Part 1: Magazines and competitions, 5 tips to start a career in photography after college or university, and GuruShots: Winning images from the latest Still Life photo competition

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 


Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.