Queensland College of Art Photography graduate, Jessica Woosley (pictured), has won the title of Top Emerging Documentary/Photojournalist of the year as part of Australia’s Top Emerging Photographers Awards.

The awards recognise, encourage and promote talented Australian photographers in the early stages of their careers. Now in its sixth year, the competition attracted a record of 460 entrants and was open to those with less than four years’ full-time professional experience.

Entrants submitted a portfolio of six images, in one or more of nine categories including, Documentary/Photojournalism, Advertising, Architecture, Portrait, Editorial/Fashion, Landscape, Sport, Wedding, and a current student category.

A panel of 51 of Australia’s leading photographic industry professionals judged the images.

Jessica was appointed the joint-winner of the Documentary/Photojournalism category, sharing the honours with emerging photographer, Ian Flanders.

Renowned photojournalists Benjamin Lowy, Jack Picone, David Maurice Smith, Stephen Dupont and Daniel Boetker-Smith judged this category.

Jessica graduated from QCA in 2013 with a Bachelor of Photography, majoring in Photojournalism, and specialising in Documentary Photography.

Her photographic work, ‘Beauty Tinged with Sadness,’ was completed as part of her final year portfolio at the Queensland College of Art. The series has a strong focus on childhood, and the sanctuary those years provide before the hardships of adulthood.

Jessica says these themes are close to her heart after her tireless pursuit of a dancing career consumed much of her childhood years.

“Before I began studying at QCA, I had been training to be a ballet dancer for 20 years, until my curiosity about the world and the human condition grew too strong to ignore,” Jessica said.

“I believe my experience in the very small world of classical ballet makes my work unique. I feel like I am discovering the world every day I spend out of a studio; this was the driving force behind my graduating work.”

Jessica said the lecturers and tutors at QCA inspired her passion for creativity.

“The college has greatly influenced my work. I feel unbelievably lucky to have been inspired and mentored by such talented tutors and lecturers,” she said.

“In particular, Angela Blakely and Kelly Hussey-Smith were outstanding mentors and I tried to use my time at University to soak up their passion and wisdom.”

Jessica intends to commence her Honours degree at QCA in 2015.

All category winners and runners-up in Australia’s Top Emerging Photographers Awards are revealed in the May/June 2014 issue of Capture.

View a selection of the category winner’s work on the Capture Facebook page.

Read more about Photography at the Queensland College of Art.

Read more about Jessica and her work on her website: jessicawoosley.com

Image by Jessica Woosley as part of her entry to the Australian Emerging Photographers Awards.

One of six mages by Jessica Woosley as part of her entry to the Australian Emerging Photographers Awards.