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University College Falmouth Photography student wins Olympus Digital Photographer of the Year Award

A third-year student on University College Falmouth's acclaimed BA(Hons) Photography course, Monica Stromdahl, has been named as the winner of the Olympus Digital Photographer of the Year Award at The Observer Hodge Photographic Awards for 2006.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the prestigious Observer Hodge Photographic Awards, which rewards exciting, dynamic and energetic new work from emerging photojournalists under the age of 29.

The award was established in memory of photojournalist David Hodge, who was fatally injured whilst covering the Brixton riots, and more than 300 photographers from across the country entered this year's competition.

Eligible applicants were required to submit a series of eight images across any subject or theme within the genres of reportage, documentary photography or portraiture. The panel of judges was every bit as compelling as the submissions and included respected photographers, Jenny Matthews, Hannah Starkey and Julian Broad; leading international journalist and broadcaster, Rageh Omaar; editor of The Observer, Roger Alton; editor of The Observer magazine, Allan Jenkins; The Observer's picture editor, Greg Whitmore; and The Observer magazine's art director, Balwant Ahira.

Monica won the Olympus Digital Photographer of the Year Award for her compelling depiction of the inhabitants of a rundown residential hotel in Brooklyn.

"I went to New York just to keep my camera busy during the Easter holidays," explains Monica of how her award-winning images came about. "It took me a while to gain the residents' trust because a camera can seem quite intimidating, and people are sometimes scared of what they don't know. But in the end they accepted me because I'm young and human," she added. "I am determined to pursue a career in photo documentary because I want to tell other peoples' stories and winning this award has given me the confidence to know that I can do that."

Her prize was £2000 and an Olympus Digital SLR camera.

"I am delighted to see yet another student from the BA(Hons) Photography course at University College Falmouth achieve success in a prestigious national photographic competition," continued Course Leader, Dave Matthews. "This award is a tribute to Monica's drive and determination, and I warmly congratulate her on this fantastic achievement."

Monica's winning images feature in The Observer Hodge Photographic Award exhibition, which is on show at The Newsroom, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1 until 19 January 2007, and on her website,

University College Falmouth is a founding partner in the Combined Universities in Cornwall, a unique initiative to promote regional economic regeneration through higher education. The CUC is funded mainly by the European Union (Objective One), the South West Regional Development Agency, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, with support from Cornwall County Council.

For further information about BA (Hons) Photography at University College Falmouth, please visit, email or contact Admissions on 01326 214384.

For further information contact Jilly Easterby, Public Relations Officer, University College Falmouth on 01326 213792 or email

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). University College Falmouth is a partner of the CUC.


Editor's notes:



Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
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Truro TR1 2UD
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Telephone: 01872 223439

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