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Global award in frame for young photographer

Bianca’s shortlisted image in the Sony World Photography Awards: When I Want to Remember.
The Mulberry Grove General Store on Great Barrier Island is a vast distance, socially and geographically, from Somerset House in London.


But it’s the current workplace of twenty-one year-old University of Auckland graduate Bianca Rocca who has been helping out serving the local population, who number around 1000, at her Uncle Frans’ shop at Tryphena.

Later this month, Bianca will leave the store and the Island far behind, to fly to London to attend the Sony World Photography Awards. The keen photographer, who has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) degree from Elam School of Fine Arts, is one of only ten students globally whose work was shortlisted for this year’s Student Focus Award.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony taking place in the opulent surroundings of Somerset House on the 19th of April. 

Students were asked to submit a single image highlighting an environmental issue. Bianca’s image entitled When I Want to Remember, depicts her two best friends, up at tree, at the Waihopai Dam site in Marlborough.

“If you stand with your back to the dam you see this tree. It’s a small bit of nature that you don’t notice unless you’re looking away from the grand view,” she says. “It’s beautiful, while also being a reminder that the other plant life below the dam have now gone.”

The environment charity, Parley for the Oceans, choose the theme. For round two, Bianca received a Sony digital camera and was given three weeks to photograph ten more images on the theme ‘plastic pollution and oceans’.

She took the photos for her second entry on Great Barrier Island, where she’s been since completing her degree late last year.

It’s where she was when she heard she had made the finals of the prestigious awards.

“I’d just got off the phone with a friend who was planning a trip to Europe around the same time that the awards are happening in April. I mentioned there was a small possibility I might end up being there too - and half an hour later I got an email congratulating me on being shortlisted,” she says.

Bianca will be accompanied by her tutor from Elam Lisa Crowley. The prize for the overall winner of the category is €30,000 (Euros) of Sony digital imaging equipment for their university.  

Leaving all the local tranquillity behind will be hard, but Bianca has decided to stay on in Europe for a while and see where her photography takes her.

Written by

University of Auckland

10 Apr 2018