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Photography at Learner Summer Exhibition

Exhibitor Melanie Jones – Photography Competition 2016

Winner – Portrait “She’s got the eye!”

Melanie enjoys travelling. The shot was taken during a two day river trip in Laos. There were hardly any westerners and the village was remote, the sole access being the river for trade and communication. The picture was a natural, chance moment to capture a unique image on camera and beautifully portrays human expression and form. Melanie described the light as “beautiful”.

She was absolutely thrilled to learn that she had won the competition, it was a real boost to her confidence and validation of her skill in taking very unique and beautiful pictures.

Melanie’s husband was amongst the guests attending the Learner Summer Exhibition award ceremony and he was extremely proud of his wife.

Melanie started taking pictures on film in 2002, pre-digital, and although she has acquired a knowledge of camera functionality, she described herself as a very much a natural photographer who simple enjoys taking pictures, without too much attention to the “techie stuff”.

Melanie’s proud husband exclaimed, “she’s got the eye!”

Melanie’s photograph was exhibited in the Surrey Adult Learning Learner Summer Exhibition at The Harvey Gallery at the Guildford Centre and has been showcased by Surrey Adult Learning in the 2016-2017 course directory, which is distributed across the whole of Surrey.


Gachou Pletts – Photography Competition 2016

Runner-Up – Portrait “The Artist”

Gachou is a past learner with Surrey Adult Learning from 2012-13 at the Guildford Centre. Her progression and ability in photography has resulted in her becoming the Committee Secretary of the Guildford Photographic Society.

The inspiration for her portrait photograph came from a trip to Brick Lane, where Gachou spotted an artist who was creating street art.

Gachou was delighted to be recognised by Surrey Adult Learning for her flair and technical ability and Surrey Adult Learning was proud to exhibit the portrait of “The Artist” at the Harvey Gallery at the Guildford Centre. Gachou’s portrait photograph has also been published in the Surrey Adult Learning 2016-17 directory.


Justine Ritchie - Photography Competition 2016

Winner - Landscape “Lone tree”

Justine is a very keen photographer and produces consistently high quality imagery, capturing unique scenes. Much of her work celebrates the beauty of nature and this is the main source of inspiration for her work. Justine works part time on a farm in Hampshire and also works part time for the Forestry Commission. She lived and worked on a small farm in New Zealand, North of Auckland, in a remote location where she had access to wild landscapes, big skies and changing light, which became an inspiration for her work. As time progressed, her photography hobby became a more serious pursuit.

On returning to the UK, Justine successfully completed several courses with Surrey Adult Learning to develop her technical knowledge and confidence to use the manual settings on her digital camera.

She initially attended the Guildford Centre’s DSLR for Beginners course in Spring, then progressed to DSLR for Improvers, led by Tutor Geoff Young. From there Justine progressed with the same Tutor completing a further DSLR for Improvers course at the Farnham Centre.

In order to complement the photography courses, Justine completed a one day Mount Cutting workshop.

Justine’s winning photograph for the Surrey Adult Learning Photography Competition 2016 - Landscape category was taken on the South Downs in mid-April. The “lone tree” is a very striking photograph, unique in its stark beauty.

Justine was drawn to the way the early evening light fell on the tree and also across the ploughed field that forms the backdrop to the shot.

The strips in the field planted with grasses are called “beetle banks” and these clever corridors, created by farmers are in fact, a form of biological pest control that provides habitats for beneficial insects, birds and other fauna that prey on pests and also allows the free movement of wildlife through the field.

The photograph was proudly exhibited during the Surrey Adult Learning Learner Summer Exhibition and has been showcased in Surrey Adult Learning’s 2016-2017 course directory, which is distributed across the whole of Surrey. 

Justine complemented her Tutor for inspirational coaching and enjoys the buzz of Surrey Adult Learning courses. She regularly posts on Surrey Adult Learning’s photography Facebook page and shares tips with other keen photographers, as well as giving the heads-up on related events, such as the closing date for other photography competitions.

Justine described herself as “happiest behind the lens” and is very proud to see her own photo in print.

In terms of progression, her objective now is clearly to become a professional photographer.

Her next serious photography project is planned for September when she will be returning to the Isle of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides for a couple of weeks to do some voluntary conservation work for the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust. This will give her the perfect opportunity to capture some landscape and seascape shots while staying on the island.

Justine has decided to create her own website to promote her photography.

Justine said ”I’d really like my images to be meaningful and highlight the beauty of nature, so that people become more aware of the need to preserve and conserve what we have, before it’s too late.”

Winning this competition was a significant achievement for Justine and a real boost to her self-confidence, validating her ability as a truly fantastic photographer that we are proud to have nurtured with Surrey Adult Learning.

  • Updated: 25 Nov 2016
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