Otago Polytechnic photography student Oscar Hetherington has won the Grand Prize at the Sony Imaging 2020 Alpha Awards.

Oscar, whose $10,000 prize comprises $8000 worth of Sony camera equipment of his choice and $2000 cash, says the award means “so much” to him.

“It really emphasises the fact that taking creative risks can pay off.

“It has been great to have some of my personal work showcased at such a level and I'm extremely grateful to have been acknowledged amongst such a high calibre of photographers.”

Oscar’s winning entry, titled Back Wash, is a 2020 seascape inspired by his love of the ocean.

“Ocean photography appeals to me the most. From surfing to underwater, lifestyle and wave photography, I love it because every image is different. The ocean is basically a landscape that's always changing.”

Oscar, who is studying a New Zealand Diploma in Photography (level 6) at Otago Polytechnic, began his photographic journey when he picked up an old family camera when he was about eight years old.

“For the first four years it was just for fun – taking photos of my mates going on adventures, camping, surfing, skiing etc and showing people the cool places we would go.

“Then, when I was about 16, someone asked me to take photos of a bike race. Ever since I've been taking photography seriously. Now I live and breath it.”

Oscar, who started studying at Otago Polytechnic at the start of this year and will finish in November this year, says he has been inspired by classmates and teaching experts alike.

“This course has taught me that hard work pays off and to focus on what you want to do specifically. It has also cemented my love for taking photos and being creative.

“Getting constructive criticism has helped refine my skills and working with classmates has forced me to be more creative. Many of my classmates are very talented photographers in their individual fields.

“I have received a lot of support from the students, teachers and guests. Feedback is a key to being a successful creative, so it's really helped to push my ideas and images that little bit further.”

Oscar is currently working on a surf and ocean-related photography book, which he hopes to publish this summer.

“I also plan to continue to grow my clients and my company and hope to work with some bigger creative partners and more influential brands in the future.

Given his love of the sea, his advice to anyone considering studying photography at Otago Polytechnic is fitting:

“Dive-in, head-first. Give it your all and don't be afraid to ask questions. Work hard and enjoy the opportunities you are given.”

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Published on 21 Sep 2020

Orderdate: 21 Sep 2020
Expiry: 31 Jan 2023