Jo Fenning – Surrey Adult Learning photography competition 2017 winner (landscape)

Jo Fenning won the landscape category in the Surrey Adult Learning (SAL) 2017 Photography Competition.

Jo has an affinity with people and differing personalities, having worked in sensitive situations throughout her working career. Finding herself behind the camera provides her with the chance to use that skill to draw out the very essence and soul of her subjects, producing spectacular imagery, both in portrait and landscape photography.

Jo explained that she had decided to pursue photography as a leisure activity over five years ago as she enjoyed taking family photos and wanted to learn more about the functionality of her camera and digital photography.

She mentioned how she had found the number of SAL in a brochure and called to enrol on a course.

Jo does not appear to do anything by half measures or without due diligence. Her commitment to photography has resulted in a five year attendance at SAL courses across different Adult Learning Centres in Surrey – from Woking Beginners classes to progressing to Improvers courses in Guildford and Esher. Jo was dedicated and enthusiastic to improve her skill and knowledge base.

She enjoys the Creative Photography courses that she attends in Esher as it gives her the opportunity to catch up with fellow photographers who are keen to exchange feedback and ideas. The classes revisit and refine techniques and learn new skills. The tutor Christina Rossman makes a point of setting creative, specific and sometimes very challenging projects for her class that push the boundaries of the norm. Jo said, "I love that, as it is so different and a personal challenge".

Jo made a point of extending a personal thanks to all the tutors that have coached and mentored her along her learning journey, and in particular, a huge thank you to Christina.

Self motivation

Self motivation is equally important to Jo, who shared, "What I enjoy the most is being challenged and challenging myself." Her positive "can do" attitude coupled with attention to precision and detail has certainly paid dividends as Jo is becoming an accomplished and skilled photographer, who is respected for producing professional standard imagery as a matter of course. Jo is never far from her camera and enjoys participating in regular "Meet Ups" mainly in London, to continue to perfect her skills and knowledge with fellow photographers. Over the years she has completed online courses including post processing, such as Lightroom.

The winning landscape photograph, which is a spectacular view of the rice terraces in South East China echoes Jo's ability to capture not only a jaw dropping landscape but equally the soul of the scene. Looking at this photograph one realises the uniqueness of the picture and the ability of the artist behind the lens. This photograph was taken when Jo travelled on a photography holiday to China, earlier this year, visiting remote mountain villages off the beaten tourist track. "The landscapes are simply amazing, breathtaking" she said.

Jo loves to travel and this is accompanied by continued learning and being challenged in her photography, which she hopes to continue. Commission requests are fulfilled and although unsure as to what the future definitely holds is more than willing and happy to consider any new challenge or opportunity that may come her way.

The future for Jo presents itself as bright and exciting. I am sure, Jo will continue to flourish. SAL is proud of its learners and we celebrate this achievement with Jo, whose perseverance and dedication has paid off.

Well done, Jo!