Photographer Michael Farra has had his work selected for an online photography exhibition by famed fashion photographer Rankin.
The final-year BA (Hons) Commercial Photography student has been awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the 19-25 category of the Light Up The Darkness online photography exhibition, curated by the Holocaust Memorial Trust.
The judging panel for the exhibition included fashion photographer Rankin, acclaimed sculptor and Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp survivor Maurice Bilk, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Olivia Marks-Woldman OBE, and MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, Tulip Siddiq.
Michael’s powerful image portrays a lone Muslim in solitary prayer at Bournemouth’s Central Mosque, and was shot as part of his documentary series Heaven On Earth, which depicts religious diversity in the United Kingdom.
Speaking about his award-winning image, Michael said: “The image is of a local man who, the Imam of the Mosque informed me, was around 93 years old. Despite the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic, the man had still made the pilgrimage to the Mosque in order to carry out his worship.
“At the time I found the image of him praying alone in the usually-packed Mosque to be quite sad. However looking at it now, I see the occasion as representing the resoluteness of humanity and devotion of people towards their beliefs."
He added: “It is an honest display of the power of faith, devotion and the human spirit”
BA (Hons) Commercial Photography Course Leader Conrad Tracy said: “Michael’s image is from his series Heaven On Earth, which looks at faith and its importance in so many communities around the UK, especially during these difficult times.
“We’re always proud of our students’ successes with awards, competitions, commissions and exhibitions, and we're always impressing the importance of raising their profile within the creative industries prior to graduation, therefore making them visible to those who may well commission them in the future."
He added: “To have your work selected by a such an established photographer as Rankin really stands as testament to the quality of the work itself, and we congratulate Michael on his successes as he establishes himself as an award-winning photographer. Well done Michael!”
Speaking about the competition, Rankin said: “It was an honour to be a part of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s Light up the Darkness competition. Now more than ever, it is so important for young people to take the time to engage in history and learn more about genocide and division.
“I loved the message of the competition of celebrating what brings us light throughout our dark times and all of the entries didn't disappoint. It was so fantastic to see how they harnessed the power that photography can have to conceptualise their feelings and thoughts around the theme.”