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4 November 2019

AOP GK 03 copy

© Garrod Kirkwood

Garrod Kirkwood won a silver in last years awards with his eye catching, warming and cheerful image of a family escaping for a day at the beach .  The image won 3rd prize in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. We catch up with Garrod who tells us about how this image came about and what being a winner of the AOP Awards has done for his career. 


© Garrod Kirkwood - Silver, Lifestyle Category, AOP Awards 2019.


Tell us more about your selected image, what’s the story behind it?

I created the image in September 2018. After a chance encounter with Gavin Hubbuck at a petrol station in the seaside town where I live. I’d been thinking about a shot with a family in a vintage car having a day out at the beach for a while. But searching for cars to hire, I really couldn’t find anything authentic that fitted in with my idea. Then one day as I pulled up to the local petrol station. I couldn’t believe my eyes through the gap in the petrol pumps. The turquoise ford Cortina was glowing in the afternoon sunshine. Complete with rally headlights and furry dice hanging from the mirror. It was like winning the lottery from a visual point of view. I waited for the owner to return to the car to ask if I could use it for a shot. I told him my idea but at the time planned to stage something with a family and my idea included a red haired girl. He told me he had a family with kids and his daughter had red hair. He went on to tell me about his love of vintage items, his inflatables, chopper bike and 1970’s caravan and his days out at the beach. So from there the whole idea fell into place.

We exchanged numbers and went on to arrange me joining them for a day at the beach. It really was that simple. 

I think the success and power of the picture comes from it’s purity. And let’s face it, it’s a happy image. Who doesn’t want to look at a happy picture in a world led by social media, depression and anxiety. These people are humble and there’s an intent from both myself and the family to portray the best version of themselves.  


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© Garrod Kirkwood


What impact has being a finalist/winner in last year’s awards had on your career? And what does it mean to you to win a Silver Award.

It meant a great deal to me to be selected by the AOP. Ever since my assisting days (over 14 years ago), I looked to the AOP for inspiration.

To be selected for a Silver award was a milestone in my career. It helped me to become recognised by a wider audience of art buyers around London, which, was my main goal and intention of entering. 



© Garrod Kirkwood


How much time do you spend shooting personal projects?

My personal projects are everything to me. And I spend every moment shooting them when I’m not shooting commercially. Without it, I wouldn’t progress and I find it’s the personal work that people relate to the most and want to see. It’s your identity as an image-maker. With every project I learn something and become a stronger storyteller.



© Garrod Kirkwood


What inspires you?

I gain inspiration from many places. As most people, instagram, books, cinema. Life events inspire me. People watching. Life is a melting pot of inspiration to my work.



© Garrod Kirkwood


What does the AOP do for you? 

The AOP is a strong platform to showcase my work. I believe the best platform in the world for Photographers working commercially, with the best talent.


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© Garrod Kirkwood


Will you enter the next awards?

Naturally, I will enter every year now. As it’s proved a strong platform of advertising for me in the commercial market place. And now I’ve received a silver Award. I owe it to myself to take a gold(!).



© Garrod Kirkwood


Have you got any advice for photographers considering entering the next awards?

Do it. Enter. Shoot your best work and be noticed. Why not? 

What's next for you?

I’m currently working on my biggest personal project to date. With plans to publish a book in the new year. My life goal as ever, is to stay humble and concentrate on creating work that connects.

View more work from Garrod in Find a Photographer

Visit the AOP Awards website for more information and to enter the 2020 Awards! 

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