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Posted 30.05.17

Student wins placement with internationally acclaimed photographer Rankin

By Sarah Packer

Dying Matters exhibition finalist and student Margo Ryszczuk captures her grandmother following a family tragedy.

BA (Hons) Photography student Sam Lyne and BA (Hons) Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising & Editorial student Margo Ryszczuk have been selected by Rankin for ‘Dying Matters’ touring exhibition.

Public awareness charity ‘Dying Matters’ recently held a competition to encourage more people to engage with dying, death, or bereavement through photography.

Entrants were asked to submit a photograph and text to ‘Celebrate Life in the Face of Death’. The brief was wide, as photographs could be a place, person, or object or abstract composition exploring dying, death or bereavement.

"Being a finalist means my work will be a part of the touring exhibition and I won a placement with Rankin that takes place over the summer, which I am really excited for.” — Margo Ryszczuk

The judging panel came from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and included Rankin, the acclaimed portrait photographer, Lisa Pritchard, Louis Quail, Dr Tammy Angel, Jane Bywater, Jane Harris and Adam Golightly, who critiqued the photographs and selected the 12 finalists.

The competition challenged both professional and amateur photographers with the twelve finalists, including two of our students, exhibiting at a reception at the House of Lords for the 25th anniversary of the National Council for Palliative Care.

You can see Margo and Sam's work at our annual Degree Shows, 10-22 June 2017.

Claire Henry, Chief Executive of Dying Matters said: “It has been a really challenging and exciting competition. We had a lot of great entries and it was hard for the judges to produce a shortlist.

“Everyone who entered was making a very personal statement about the death of someone dear to them, and so, in the end, the judges decided against choosing one single ‘best photo.’ Instead, they wanted to let the 12 images stand as a selection of fantastic images, that together celebrate life and challenge us about how we respond to death and grief.”

"All the entrants should be commended for their emotional strength, and for their skill in revealing a visual narrative." — Louis Quail, judge and photographer

One of the judges, Louis Quail said: "Having suffered loss and photographed loss, I can understand the importance photography can play in helping us come to terms with losing our loved ones. For me, at least, my memory is sparked by imagery, and photography is a medium that is very well suited to exploring the passing of time and is a natural partner to this process of remembering. I believe the competition has been a brilliant vehicle for people trying to make sense of their own loss and bereavements."

Margo’s winning photograph reflects her yearning to reconnect with her grandmother and her homeland following a family tragedy. “It is an amazing feeling knowing that this very personal project and a photograph of my granny is encouraging people to engage with issues surrounding death.”

'Pensive' by student and finalist Sam Lyne

Tim Gundry, BA (Hons) Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising & Editorial Programme Leader said about Margo's win: "We're delighted that Margo's work has been recognised and featured in Dying Matters. Margo has a dual practice, she is studying commercial photography, but also has a distinctive personal practice which is sensitive and insightful. The opportunity to meet and work with Rankin is a fantastic prize for a photographer such as Margo and I'm sure she will make the make the most of the opportunity."

Sam’s photograph was also selected for the exhibition, entitled ‘Pensive’ it captures his goddaughter sitting in a chair at the hospice where Sam’s sister died 10 years ago at the age of 14.

“My sister, Rachael, lived with cancer for eleven years after being diagnosed with a brain tumour aged four. Towards the end of Rachael’s life, our family was supported by Children’s Hospice South West at their hospice in North Devon; it felt like a second home.

“Nearly eleven years after Rachael died, we revisit the hospice every year for a Remembering Day. On our most recent visit, my two-year-old goddaughter came with us for the first time. She showed interest and engagement in the hospice and the people there and my sister’s memory lives on through my goddaughter’s middle name.”