Photography student scoops top prize for close-up nature shots

31 May 2017

A student at the University of Derby has won a prestigious award for his close-up shots of nature.

Damian Hayes, who is studying Commercial Photography, has been crowned winner of the Student Award in the British Institute of Professional Photography’s (BIPP) Midland Region Print Competition 2017.

The 36-year-old, who took an interest in photography after watching his mother create photo albums during his childhood, submitted three images he had taken of a monarch butterfly, seed head and a pair of courting flies on a flower.

He scooped the winning title for his fly photo, 1st Merit for the butterfly shot and a Merit award for his seed head image.

Damian was also among two other University of Derby MA Film and Photography students who gained success at the awards. Robert Brittle won a Merit in the Landscape category for his image of a waterfall in the Peak District and Eric Gaffney was awarded a Merit in the Architecture category for his photograph of a mill building.

Damian, from Sutton Coldfield, said: “It felt great to win and to have all three of my images recognised is wonderful. It will help greatly with me finding my feet in a busy industry.

“I've been aware of the BIPP print competitions since I started attending their monthly meetings with a friend around five years ago. However, this is the first year that I have entered, thanks to the encouragement from my tutors. 

“My pictures are macro images of small insects and plants. I love to photograph insects and plants as there is so much detail that we miss with our eyes. It reminds me of how much complexity there is in the world that we so often are unaware of.

“I've had an interest in photography from a very early age. As my mother kept quite extensive albums for each of my siblings and I from birth, it felt natural to frame my life through photos.

“Later in life I was able to develop my skills as a photographer with help and encouragement from my father and father-in-law.”

The BIPP Awards were judged by Bryn Griffiths and Steve Walton, both highly-regarded photographers. An award ceremony was held at the Lea Marston Hotel & Spa in Sutton Coldfield to recognise the winners.

Cameron Jinks, Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Commercial Photography at the University of Derby, said: “I am delighted with Damian's achievement. He has worked very hard throughout his time here.

“The BA (Hons) Commercial Photography programme is accredited by the BIPP, who regularly hold conferences and events at the University, so for our students to win awards from them is of great significance and prestige for the course and the University.”

Find out more about studying Photography at the University of Derby.