Queensland College of Art Honours student Sophie Richards has taken out the photography category of the 2013 Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards 365 (SOYA 365).
At 20-years-old, Sophie is one of the youngest winners – beating 400 other entrants with more than 5,000 photographs.
As the leading national grants program for emerging creative talent, the SOYA award will enable Sophie to purchase supplies for her film-only based photography including chemicals that will allow her to experiment with some older methods she is yet to try.
Sophie was selected for the award by one of Australia’s most internationally celebrated photographic artists Polly Borland – who will mentor Sophie when she visits Los Angeles to learn the ropes from the renowned industry icon.
Polly said with the standard so high across the board, the decision was difficult – yet she selected Sophie’s work because it was “highly personal and beautifully rendered with freshness”.
Sophie describes her influence as Allan Sekula’s idea that “every photographic image is a sign, above all, of someone’s investment in the sending of an image.”
“I seem to be somewhat burdened (in the best of ways) by an incessant need to document my surroundings and friends.”
“So my latest series of images capture a small snapshot of 2012 as I saw it,” she said.
Sophie follows in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Queensland College of Art alumnus Raphaela Rosella, who travelled to France to attend a workshop with Magnum photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti during Les Rencontres d’Arles.