Thursday evening, 8 October in The Truman Brewery saw the celebration of the 2015 Association of Photographers' annual event, as part of Photomonth, the East London Photography Festival.
Jessica Kelly knew she had been selected for the accompanying exhibition but had no knowledge of the surprise that awaited her on the evening. It came as a great shock when Robert Elms the MC announced her name as the winner of the 2015 Open Award in the ‘Best Single Image’ category. ’I thought there had been some mistake’ she later confessed ‘and that they’d confused my name with someone else’s’. Nevertheless she boldly stepped up to receive her award in front of an audience of over 800 of the leading commercial photographers, art directors and picture editors - a fair number of whom have inputed into Jess’s course since it’s inception in 2010.
In her final Ravensbourne year studying BA (Hons) Digital Photography she was earlier a finalist in the AoP Student Awards as well as in the last 150 for this years Taylor Wessing Awards. ‘My course has given me the opportunity to take risks and deepen my practice’, she confessed. Jess added that, ‘…it was during my second year that my tutor encouraged me to enter competitions, but I never expected to win and certainly not such a major award as the AoP. Without the support I get from the teaching staff here at Ravensbourne I’d never have taken the gamble. I’d encourage every photographer to take the risk and enter competitions if only for the experience and the exposure.’
Jess already has plans in place for her third year projects; in the summer of 2016 she intends to take work to the Arles Photo Festival and is considering applying for the prestigious photojournalism and documentary photography Master's course at LCC. Certainly her success at the AoP Awards is going to bring her work to many people's attention.