This month Photography Studies College is abuzz with many students and graduates posting about their recent accolades from Capture Magazine's Australia's Top Emerging Photographers list. In the Student Category one of our first year's won the top award (and her image graced the cover), and two more students were listed in the Top 10. A PSC graduate made the top 20 in the Portraits Category, and a PSC tutor who is also a past graduate took out 9th place in the Art Category. And many others have been Highly Commended in various categories of photography. We talk to a few of these rising stars about their award-winning work – and along the way discover why PSC students have an edge of others.
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Waiting is a big part of my working life as a photojournalist. Waiting to be contacted, waiting for permission, waiting for the light and waiting for the right moment to happen. Recently, I was waiting at a Timor Leste prison for permission to photograph the inmates. I sat behind the metal bars watching the sun going down hoping we could start taking pictures before it got too dark. Getting into a prison as a photographer is not always easy. Permission has to come from the guards, warden and often politicians, all of which takes time. Everyone has a vested interest in what I see and photograph except regrettably the prisoners themselves. Waiting was uncomfortable, the buckled chair wobbled and threatened to collapse each time I moved. Across the compound I could see men with the word prisoner, emblazoned in bold letters on their shirts. I’ve photographed prisons in other countries. Sometimes it’s easy to get in and on other occasions I’ve waited days, weeks, even months to be told no, I can’t come in. Once when I was at a prison in the Philippines a guard with a gun strapped across his chest, performed karaoke for me as I waited to meet the prisoners. On this occasion I was lucky. I got permission, passed security, went through the gates and then I waited for the prisoners, also the captive audience of the guard’s karaoke via loudspeakers. A poorly performed Elvis Presley numbers doesn’t make waiting any easier!