The shortlisted photographers in the 2024 Photo London x Hahnemühle Student Award visited Spectrum Photographic Brighton one of Hahnemühle’s UK-certified print studios to oversee the production of their exhibition prints, which is shown at Photo London 2024 in Hahnemühle Student Award space (D22 Discovery area) in the Embankment Galleries. The winner will be revealed during a special ceremony at the Fair on Saturday 18th May.

In this round-up we highlight the five shortlisted finalists, their work and selection of papers for their exhibition prints at Photo London.


Emi O’Connell

Based in South East London, Emi O’Connell’s work focuses on equality and women’s health with a particular interest in phototherapy and using visual arts as a way to sensitively approach topics of trauma. She uses self-portraiture and re-enactment, as well as a research-based practice mixing documentary photography and performative elements throughout her work. Emi’s intimate and sensitive approach uses primarily analogue photography and cameraless techniques such as lumen printing. Emi has a distinction in MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication, UAL. She was recently shortlisted for the Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize and exhibited at The Atkinson Museum, Southport.

Artist statementand then I ran’ has three elements interlaced throughout the series visualizing the narrative of Emi’s grandmother’s recollection of escaping a mother and baby home, 1964, Ireland. Black and white images are performative reenactments referring to Emi’s grandmother’s escape and a visual representation of loss. The project explores Ireland’s deep shame culminating from the separation and exportation of babies, as well as oppressive conditions experienced by these women. Repetition throughout the work is a nod to Freudian theories of ‘Repetition Compulsion’ caused from trauma, a cycle in which you enact content that has been suppressed, repeating instead of remembering. The mixture of the three elements sit between current day and history, going back in time to discuss ideas of freedom, distress and confinement.


Paper Selected – Hahnemühle Digital FineArt Collection Photo Rag® 308

“I have chosen Hahnemühle Digital FineArt Collection Photo Rag® 308gsm as I wanted to choose something with texture and a vintage feel to suit the themes of my work. Photo Rag feels ideal for black and white printing with its deep blacks, contrasting shadows and how it handles fine details so well. I feel that Photo Rag® has a distinctive look that complements black and white images so beautifully and it felt like the perfect timeless paper to choose for ‘and then I ran’.


Africa Barrero-Alexander

Africa Barrero-Alexander is from Madrid, currently based in Bristol and studying BA Photography at The University of the West of England. His work is centred around the relationship between humanity and the land, the nature of the human condition, and the beauty of the mundane. Turning the camera on oneself claiming authorship of identity – by purposefully manipulating light, space and time, Barrero-Alexander depicts deeply personal yet inherently political subjects. Interested in using photography as a therapeutic tool and exploring its ability to reshape narratives and recontextualise past events and traumas.

Artist statement ‘This Body Was Carved From Stone’ explores and reflects Barrero-Alexander’s experience as a transgender man, and the effect this has had on his life and relationships. Questioning his identity and sense of self over the years has led him to develop a deeply complex relationship with gender. Through his photographic self-portraiture, he has carved a space within a hostile social landscape that actively rejects and denies his existence. Barrero-Alexander uses the camera to show his reality and pride in his identity to record both the physical and emotional changes as transition progresses.


Paper Selected – Hahnemühle Digital FineArt Collection Natural Line Sugar

“I have chosen Hahnemühle Digital FineArt Collection Natural Line Sugar Cane 300gsm for my exhibition prints. I chose this paper type because the texture adds depth to the images and has a tactile quality that I really like. Also, the warmer tone of this paper works well with the black and white imagery I’ll be printing onto it. Finally, I think it’s important to use materials from renewable sources wherever possible, and to produce work that’s sustainable and eco-friendly” comments Barrero-Alexander.


Ben Hubert

Ben Hubert is an artist based in England best known for his photography influenced by Ancient Greek and Renaissance art. The recurring themes of his work include relationships between masculine representation and identity, and photography’s relationship with the male form. Central to Hubert’s practice is a combination of photographic and sculptural works. Creating and capturing the fragility of what appear to be strong physical artefacts in alignment with the timelessly complex nature of masculinity’s landscape. Hubert is currently an undergraduate on BA Photography at Arts University Bournemouth; he won the British Photography Award in 2020 and was shortlisted in the SIFF International film festival in 2021.

 Artist Statement   Ben Hubert’s work span’s across image, sculpture and installation, often exploring contemporary themes set within a deeper historical context. Hubert deliberately leaves his work open to interpretation with figurative yet ambiguous imagery which allows the viewer to create their own inferences. His recent work can be described as a thematic dialogue on the relationship between photography and masculine representations. His use of sculptures and their allusion to both the podium and the classical male form considers the complex nature of masculinity. Hubert deliberately leaves his work open to interpretation with figurative yet ambiguous imagery which allows the viewer to create their own inferences. His current project Plinthos will be featured in a group show at the Bargehouse, London in July 2024.


Paper Selected – Hahnemühle Digital FineArt Collection Natural Line Hemp

“My paper choice is Hahnemühle Digital FineArt Natural Line Hemp 290gsm. The primary reason for this choice is the textured surface and matte finish – the images contain relatively tactile subjects and it’s important to me that the paper reflects this in its feel and aesthetic. I also wanted to work with a heavier paper for the same reason and so the prints to some degree feel as though they are objects, like artefacts in a frame. I also prefer the slightly warmer tone of this paper over some others, it’s quite an inviting attribute for black and white imagery to have, without being so warm that it feels sepia.”


Ada Marino

Ada Marino is an Italian visual artist based in Wales, working at the intersection between photography and installation. Born and raised in Naples, Marino’s artistic formation is deeply rooted in her Southern culture and family experiences, mirroring the patriarchal domination that had surrounded her since childhood. Marino’s background has served as a springboard, enabling her to analyse and interpret the contradictory forces that shape society. Marino’s practice focuses specifically on women, embracing the causes, concerns and gender issues women are subjected to, investigating socio- cultural phenomena which implicate deviant behaviours and identities structures. Marino’s works have been shown in multiple group and solo exhibitions. Marino was awarded the Alan Whatley Prize in 2023 and nominated LensCulture 2024 finalist.

Artist Statement   New Moons series is born in response to a previous Paterfamilias project, a visual investigation that explored the theme of oppression in the domestic sphere, in an attempt to make the feminine resilience prevail and representing a new beginning. While “Paterfamilias” (2022) is the visual analysis of the complications of the patriarchy phenomenon, New Moons constitutes the elucidation and inner eclipse that encourage the rebirth of women in a role of advocate of themselves, a woman that abandons the state of vulnerability and passivity in a sort of a trauma recovery from a male dominated experience, which through the acquisition of knowledge, awareness, female union creates a fertile territory for the construction of a more inclusive society.


Paper Selected – Hahnemühle Digital FineArt Collection Photo Rag ® Matt Baryta

“I had the opportunity to see the Hahnemühle catalogue provided to my university and I must admit that was difficult to choose from a such superb selection of fine art paper. I was principally oriented to the Photo Rag range as I used already in the past to exhibit my works, but then compared with the Hahnemühle Digital FineArt Collection Photo Rag® Matt Baryta 308gsm I noticed a difference in the structure and I felt that a slightly lightness could have given the perfect consistency without losing the vibrancy and clarity characteristics. The work was born as a response to a previous project and which brings with it an aura of positivity and lightness that I would like to be perceived in all its forms therefore drawing this peculiarity also from a paper that proves to be a bit less hard so perfectly compatible with the concept I wanted to express”


An Liu

An Liu is a London-based photographer whose soft and dreamy visual style blends portraiture, documentary, and staged photography. After graduating from Wuhan University in 2016 with a degree in Computer Science, An Liu pursued a more creative path and began working in fashion and commercial photography in China. She developed her skills further during the MA course in Commercial Photography at the London College of Communication (UAL) in 2022-23, which sparked her interest in narrative projects. An discovered her unique voice during her MA studies, delving into personal and collective stories and exploring empathy and connection through photography.

Artist Statement  ‘Weaving the World’ is a long term project delving into the lives of her grandmother and elderly relatives, illuminating the isolating experiences of aging.  An Liu captures the daily struggles that seniors face, and their efforts to re-establish a tangible connection with the world. Simultaneously, she integrates herself into the narrative, playing childhood games with elderly relatives to create a vibrant dreamscape within the stream of time. Dreams merge with reality, and memories resonate with the present moment, revealing a warm heart at the core of a seemingly sombre theme. Furthermore, metaphors within the images hint at deeper questions surrounding individual narratives, history, and memory, shedding light on the broader discourse surrounding issues faced by the elderly.


Paper Selected – Hahnemühle Digital FineArt Collection Photo Rag ® Matt Baryta

“The reason I have selected this paper is that it offers vibrant colours and rich details. Most of my work is shot on colour film, and this paper can showcase the warm and dreamy light in my work while preserving the abundance of details captured by the film. Additionally, the theme of my work revolves around stories of age and time. I hope the audience can feel the passage of time when viewing my work, so the matte texture of the Photo Rag® Matt Baryta prevents any glare from any direction, allowing viewers to experience the intimate emotions within the artwork. Lastly, its impressive archival qualities and highest age resistance are also very appealing to me.”



About Spectrum Photographic

The artworks for the Photo London Hahnemühle Student Award were professionally printed by Hahnemühle Certified Studio Gold partner, Spectrum Photographic. Based in the heart of Brighton, Spectrum Photographic work with international art galleries, museums and world-renowned photographers, specialising in fine art giclée and photographic printing as well as archival mounting and a range of museum and exhibition-quality services. Spectrum Photographic have prided themselves on high-quality output and excellent customer service for over twenty-five years. As one of the UK’s leading printing and finishing centres, Spectrum Photographic has expert knowledge, exceptional products and fantastic final results.

Photo Rag® is a registered trademark of Hahnemühle GMBH, Germany.

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