Search Our Website

AOP Member Login


22 April 2020

Laura Nobel 2 copy


Curator of this years Student Awards Laura Noble, Director of L A Noble Gallery, talks to us about what attracted her to photography. Importantly Laura provides some honest tips for emerging photographers as well as explaining what she believes makes for an award winning image.

What attracted you to photography? My attraction began when I was given my first camera aged 7, shown how to load the 35mm film and that was it. My father is a keen photographer so he was full of hints & tips as I learnt how to take pictures with my Miranda cheesebox, then later when I started using my first SLR & began developing my own photographs. My own artistic practice is painting, drawing, sculpture etc, however I use photography mostly to record things or for research now. When I do take a 'photograph' for artistic reasons it is usually analogue, with an SX-70 Polaroid, medium format or 35mm black & white. The alchemy of film & the element of surprise still captures me & always will I expect.


Krista Svalbonas Migrants 58

©Krista Svalbonas From the series: Migrants
Artist page:


Later it was writing about photography that led me deeper into the artform, from reviewing exhibitions & books to advising photographers through portfolio reviews & consultations keeps it interesting & varied. I love writing essays for photobooks as you can really get your teeth into a project & explore! Many of my favourite photographic adventures happen when I'm writing about one project.


AOPimage copy

©Chloe Bowman From the series: Avian Knot 2019
Artist page:

What would your main advice be to today’s emerging photographers? Never assume - assumption is the source of most f*- ups! You can always learn something from anyone - it's not all about you.

Always be polite in person, on the phone & via email - this will pay dividends in the future.  Learn to speak on the phone if you want to get anywhere or anything done.


Endless John Kippin copy 

©John Kippin Endless 
Artist page:

Which Photographers inspire you? Those that take chances, try something difficult & don't rest on their laurels. My own artists all inspire me, or why would I want to work with them? I am delighted to now be representing John Kippin whose work was one of my first serious photographic purchases in the early 2000's. Rhiannon Adam's incredible bravery & the risks taken to create her series Big Fence/ Pitcairn Island are nothing short of extraordinary. The tension of beauty & binding in Chloe Bowman's work has a perfect painterly harmony.  I can't get enough of Krista Svalbonas who joined LANG recently who renders architecture (another love of mine) in magical ways. The personal touching combination of her father's photographs alongside Camille Mazier's own images reveal so much of her own grief, another brave soul. It's not just the work, it's the artist behind the work as well. Yvonne De Rosa whom I have worked with for many years has developed an incredible way of working which I admire greatly.

Also, those whom I do mentoring sessions with, people who push themselves & take chances. I have classic favourites from the canon, however there is always room for more. If you would like some other names, I would have to include Zanele Muholi, Joana Choumali whom I'm privileged to call friends from inspirational beginnings when I first saw their work. Certain works I go back to time & time again vary greatly; far too many to list here.


TimeRunningOutOnPitcairnIsland copy

©Rhiannon Adam - From the series: Big Fence / Pitcairn Island
Artist page:

As curator of the things category, what advice would you give to students entering this category and what in your opinion makes for an award winning image?

Make an image which has meaning, structure, a reason for existing - it's not easy but absolutely worth digging deep to create. A great image is never fleeting, go beyond Instagram & make art. An award winning image understands positive & negative space & if in colour a mature approach to it. Don't rely on colour to do the work for you. Drama, emotion, movement & dynamism can be created with the right lighting. Natural light is not always the answer. An award winning image has depth, layers & meaning. 


volcano tanna CamilleMazier 

©Camille Mazier From the series: I Shall Be As Strong As A Moai
Artist page:

What’s next for you?

Currently we are preparing the FIX Photo Festival 2020 open call and working with LANG artists & touring the 'Occupy the Void' exhibition I curated which was a huge hit at the London Art Fair this January. I am also writing a very important book which I hope photographers, curators and collectors can benefit from for years to come. 


YDR copy

©Yvonne De Rosa - From the series: Negativo 1930 
Artist page:
Arles page:

For further information and to enter the Student Awards click here


IMAGES: All © of the artist, Courtesy of L A Noble Gallery

Join our mailing list for free access to this resource.