Photography competition winners - My Edinburgh

The annual student photography competition winners have been announced! The competition was open in Semester 1 under the theme ‘My Edinburgh’. Open to international students and students who have had a study or work away experience, the submissions totalled over 150 photos.

2023 photography competition prize winners gallery

Filip Jarzynski - 1st prize winner

Filip is a School of GeoSciences student from Poland.

Filip's photo caption - "The photo was taken almost from the top of Arthur's Seat on a cold morning in December. The shadow of the mountain still falls over the city, whereas the mountains in the upper part of the photo are already fully illuminated by the warm, rising sun. The photo is divided by an incoming shelf cloud."

On that day I randomly woke up around 3am, a few hours before the sunrise. The weather conditions were looking promising, so I decided to spend this morning outside even though going up the Arthur’s Seat was probably not the best idea since all of the rocks were covered in ice. I’ve chosen this photo because I think it’s unique, it shows Edinburgh in quite an unusual scenery.

Filip Jarzynski

Zainab Abbas - 2nd prize winner

Zainab is a Centre for Open Learning student from Pakistan and Turkey.  

Zainab's photo caption - "Sunrise in Cappadocia, Turkey is hauntingly beautiful. Hundreds of hot air balloons float over the unique landforms of Cappadocia. I am an Edinburgh Futures Institute student based in Turkey."

I think the reason I chose this photo was that it was beautiful but at the same time the landscape gave it this element of haunting desolation, and perhaps this very contrast was what I found inspiring. The lighting is also what gives it its dreamy quality. I took it at sunrise in Cappadocia, a place in Turkey known for two things; hot air balloons and the unique rock formations and I was trying to capture the beauty of the two combined.

Zainab Abbas

Simar Mann - People's choice prize winner

Simar is an Edinburgh Medical School student from India.

Simar's photo caption - "A City of Festivals - The Beltane Fire Festival."

The photo was taken at Calton Hill in Edinburgh where the Old Royal Observatory used to be. There’s also a graveyard there. But every year the Celtic festival of Beltane is celebrated on 30 April. I really liked the dichotomy of a pagan festival being celebrated on what used to be a place for science.

Simar Mann

Yuheng Feng - Principal's choice prize winner

Yuheng is a School of Informatics student from China.

Yuheng's photo caption - "A heron leaps over the lake at the foot of Holyrood Park."

During my visit to Holyrood Park, I was amazed by the rich biodiversity. I captured several photos of wild animals, but this particular one stands out. It showcases a heron in graceful flight. And in ancient China, herons symbolise a smooth career and good fortune for travellers. This belief added a special meaning to my choice.

Yuheng Feng

Zeliang Lyu - Global category prize winner

Zeliang is an Edinburgh College of Art student from China.

Zeliang's photo caption - "31 August 2023, I saw the Blue moon rise from cloud-like kata Tjuta when I rode the camel in the sacred indigenous land (Uluru-Kata Tjuta) during sunset."

This photo holds special significance for me, as it captures the moment when the super blue moon appeared alongside the sunset while I was riding camels. It represents my first solo trip during my exchange semester in Australia. The whole trips had so many challenges. So, this photo shows how exciting I was in that moment, and how peaceful the landscape was. This kind of emotional contrast can be seen from the colours contrast of the photo.

Zeliang Lyu

Kate Puglia - Campus category prize winner

Kate is a School of Health in Social Science student from the USA.

Kate's photo caption - "Taken in the shadows of the Old College, students bring light to a grey Edinburgh day."

The Old College campus is one of the most photographed places in Edinburgh, and I wanted to capture a different perspective of the historic site. I chose this image for the juxtaposition of the structured architecture and the life that the student subjects bring.

Kate Puglia

Huaiyuan Huang - City category prize winner 

Huaiyuan is a Moray House School of Education and Sport student from China.

Huaiyuan's photo caption - "Princes Street on a busy weekend."

I took this photo from a viewpoint on Calton Hill. This is also the viewpoint, where many popular photos of Edinburgh city have been produced. However, when I took this photo of Prince Street in 2022, I wanted to make something more creative than those popular ‘postcard’ photos of the Edinburgh landscapes. By using a telephoto lens, I got more details in the photo about the changing and moving traffic on Princes Street. This was also trying to present the place as a lived space of Edinburgh people with dynamics rather than a static landscape photo to print on a postcard. In fact, 2022 was also a year I started to change the focus of my photographing practice in Edinburgh, from the traditional landscape photography to cinematic street photography. The photo I submitted for the student photography competition has, somehow, presented this significant turn. This is also why I chose it.

Huaiyuan Huang

Kana Wakaumi - Community category prize winner

Kana is a School of Geosciences student from Japan.

Kana's photo caption - "When a candle is transformed into a beautiful river by the collaboration of 20,000 people. Happy Hogmanay, Edinburgh!"

I thought this view represents the beautiful collaboration among all the organisers and staff who made this event possible and the participants. Also I learned that the torchlight procession was themed to shine a light on homelessness, so thought it could imply the community’s thoughts of support. I had to take it quickly so it might not be of good quality, but it was an amazing view and a memorable experience. I appreciate the wonderful community and rich culture here in Edinburgh so much!

Kana Wakaumi

Related links

Visit the photography competition's Facebook page  

2022 photography competition winners

2021 photography competition winners

2020 photography competition winners

2018 photography competition winners

2017 photography competition winners