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Gordonstoun pupil Olivia Barnett wins national photography competition


By Jonathan Clark

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A GORDONSTOUN pupil has won a national photography competition for a stunning snap of a stag.

Olivia Barnett recently won the senior category of Elgin Rotary's Young Photographer competition and went on to win the overall district competition.

Ian Brodie presents Olivia Barnett with her trophy for winning the national competition.
Ian Brodie presents Olivia Barnett with her trophy for winning the national competition.

She has now added to that by winning first prize in a final that covered entrants from across Great Britain and Ireland.

The theme of the competition was Colours of Nature and Olivia’s photograph of a red deer stag was named winner.

Olivia's achievements are only made more impressive by the fact she only started studying photography in sixth form (fifth year).

“I just adore nature photography," Olivia explained. "My family and I were on a road trip when I took this photograph of the stag.

"We were driving towards Applecross when we saw the stag lying on the ground surrounded by stunning scenery. Once we had parked, I got out and started taking photos.

"To my surprise, the stag was very timid, and I was able to set up and get reasonably close to him. After several attempts, I was able to get a shot I was happy with.

"For a while, we watched the stag before it got up and walked into the hills. It is sometimes luck that puts you at the perfect place at the right time.

“I had never studied photography before attending Gordonstoun and now, in September, I will be studying Marine Photography and Natural History at university.

"I have learned so much from all my teachers, including Mrs Wendi Van-Hoof, my incredible photography teacher who has taught me so much over the last two years! I feel so lucky to have found something that I am so passionate about.”

Olivia receives her trophy from Elgin Rotary President, Ian Brodie. Her photography teacher Wendi van Hoof holds Olivia's winning photo and Head of Senior School Richard Devey is far right.
Olivia receives her trophy from Elgin Rotary President, Ian Brodie. Her photography teacher Wendi van Hoof holds Olivia's winning photo and Head of Senior School Richard Devey is far right.
Olivia shows Ian Brodie, Elgin Rotary Club President, her photography work. Head of Senior School Richard Devey (left) and Olivia's Art and Photography teacher Wendi van Hoof (right) look on.
Olivia shows Ian Brodie, Elgin Rotary Club President, her photography work. Head of Senior School Richard Devey (left) and Olivia's Art and Photography teacher Wendi van Hoof (right) look on.

Elgin Rotary president Ian Brodie presented Olivia with her award.

He said: “Rotary Elgin is very proud of the entry which Olivia sent to the club during our photographic competition.

"The judges were delighted with Olivia’s stunning entry. We invited her to come to the club and she gave us a short explanation of how the photo shoot came about.

"We entered the photo for the Rotary District competition and Olivia won that also. A great accolade for Olivia and the club. Well done, Olivia.”

Principal of Gordonstoun Lisa Kerr added: “Olivia has distinguished herself as an extremely talented photographer during her time at Gordonstoun.

"In her role as captain of photography she has already taken photographs of life at school which have been published in national magazines.

"I am so pleased that her skill has been recognised by the Rotary Club and I am sure she will be extremely successful in her future career.”

The Young Photography competition is one of 10 organised annually by Rotary.

All students who enter receive a certificate, with the winners receiving a trophy and a cash prize.


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