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TAFE Queensland photography graduate Troy Lum has won a prestigious Australian Institute of Professional Photography award.

The 42-year-old Shorncliffe resident was named Queensland Student Photographer of the Year at the awards ceremony on Thursday 4 July 2019.

It’s a major professional milestone for Troy, who secured his spot after taking out the Queensland title in June 2019, the same month he completed his Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging (CUA50915).

“These awards have been a wonderful way to kick off my professional career as a photographer,” Troy said.

“I have dedicated a year to studying and fine-tuning my skills through my diploma and it is satisfying to see some early reward for that commitment.”

Troy entered three photographs across two categories, and his work was critiqued by a panel of judges who were unaware which pieces belonged to students and which to the experts.

“Whilst it was intimidating to have my work judged alongside the work of professionals with years of experience, it was also reassuring to see how well my photographs were received,” Troy said.

As apart of the Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging (CUA50915) students are required to enter the state round of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography awards as part of their final assessment.

The most striking of Troy’s entries is a portrait of his 12-year-old nephew Mitchell, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.

“This photo was taken just after Mitchell’s second round of chemo,” said Troy.

“Most of his hair had fallen out and he had just shaved the rest," he continued.

“My original intention was to do some periodic images to record his journey and we were trying different poses and lighting styles but this photo just stood out—I think it has great impact.”

After years working in the fitness industry, Troy decided to pursue a career in photography and set about finding a course that offered professional-level skills.

“To an extent it is true that anyone can take a photo, but to work in the industry it is really important to have some formal training,” Troy said.

“For me the year of study that I had prior to stepping out as a professional photographer has been so important because it’s helped to prepare me in a way that is similar to an apprenticeship."

“I’ve had so many light bulb moments over this past year and most importantly I realised at the start of this journey just how little I knew about photography, despite my passion for it,” he said.

Troy is now working in a full-time photography role and said he couldn’t be happier.

“It’s incredible to have a stable job and a regular income from photography and to be free to explore my creative work in my own time.”

 

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