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  • Winning First Place At The Australian Railroad Photo Competition 'Moving Moments'

PSC's part-time Advanced Diploma student Vanessa Brennan, recently won first place at the inaugural Australian Railroad Photo Competition 'Moving Moments'. The photo selected was one she had submitted for a class assignment.

Vanessa talks about her tears of joy when winning the $6,000 prize money and return trip to China, and why she enjoys studying with us including learning so many new skills and making great friends.


Tell us about your winning image?

This image was taken at Diamond Valley Railway in Eltham. It’s a place I was taken to as a child to ride the miniature trains. When I had to come up with my 12 personal expression images for my class at Photography Studies College, I contacted the organisation and asked if I could visit a few times. I went there on three separate occasions. On the day I took this shot I knew it was my ‘closing shot’. I kept looking at it on the back of my camera and couldn’t wait to get it on the computer to make sure it was all in focus! I fell in love with it immediately.

Are you learning new skills studying the Advanced Diploma at PSC?

Still being new to ‘professional’ photography, I’m amazed with what I’ve learned so far and been able to produce through my images. It was taken in November this year on my last visit and right before I had to confirm my images for presenting. 


Image by Vanessa Brennan

How did you find out about the inaugural Australian Railroad Photo Competition 'Moving Moments'?

After my presentation at PSC, another student contacted me about the competition he’d seen and suggested I should enter. I was so blown away that someone thought my image was good enough to enter a competition! 


Did you feel that you had a good chance of winning?

I entered my image and looked at the other entries and didn’t think mine would get very far because it was miniature. There were 397 entries in total. I received an email to let me know I’d made it into the top three. On the same day I’d received my feedback from my folio presentation. I called my husband in tears and could hardly speak - I was so blown away with both being such fantastic news. 



Image by Vanessa Brennan

Tell us about the award presentation at Melbourne Town Hall?

At the presentation, once third place was awarded I assumed I’d won second place! Then second place was awarded – and the panic set in! Being in the spotlight is not comfortable for me. I had tears streaming down my cheeks, and just then my mum passed me a tissue. Her and dad were seated right behind me! 

Receiving the award on stage was overwhelming! Luckily I’d had time to wipe the tears and crack a smile - that smile remained all afternoon and into the evening. 


What exactly did you win?

I received an amazing amount of prizes that included $6000 and a return airfare to China. The money will go towards next year's PSC studies! I was also given a model bullet train and a certificate. I kept the big fake award cheque - it’s a great reflector!



Image by Vanessa Brennan

When do you plan to visit China?

I will plan a trip to Beijing with my husband next year. Around my PSC studies of course! It’s a pretty exciting thought to travel with my new photography skills. We’ll probably have a ride on a bullet train whilst there but I’m not actually a train enthusiast! I’ve been dubbed 'Train Girl' by my PSC class mates though.


Tell us about your full-time work and family?

I’m currently working as a teacher's aide in primary school four days a week – giving me Friday's free to attend PSC. I have 3 children; 20 year-old boy and girl twins, and a 13 year-old girl. They’re all old enough for me to have time for photography – and sometimes make good models!



Image by Vanessa Brennan

Why did you decide to study photography?

I decided to enrol in the Advanced Diploma of Photography at PSC as I’ve always loved taking photos but used the camera in its automatic setting. My husband studied at PSC in the early 2000’s. When I enrolled I was so hopeful that I’d meet nice people. I scored big time with my PSC group as everyone is wonderful, and we all get along so well.  


Would you recommend PSC?

I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending PSC to study photography at. The tutors are fantastic and helpful,  and more than happy to share their knowledge and experiences. The friendships you make are a wonderful bonus too. I’m excited and eager for semester two next year!




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