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ADI photography student makes finals of national competition

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Dragos Ionescu’s portrait of his grandfather chosen from over 1,200 entries

The accolades keep coming for Dragos Ionescu, a high-achieving photography student at the University of East London’s School of Arts and Digital Industries.

Dragos has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious Association of Photographers (AOP) Student Awards competition. His portrait of his grandfather was one of just 55 images chosen from over 1,200 entries.

The AOP Student Awards is considered one of the UK’s leading student photography competitions.

“The Student Awards showcase a diverse and inspirational selection of work by the UK’s most promising students and acts as a platform in which they can demonstrate their photographic creativity and skill,” the AOP website says.

Dragos’s entry is a haunting image of his grandfather staring to the side of the camera, clad in a black coat and top hat. The photo is part of a staged series Dragos shot during a visit his grandfather made to London from his home in Romania. 

Dragos said he is close to his grandfather, who was his primary male role model when he was growing up in Romania.

Images in the series have also appeared in Digital Camera magazine. A photo Dragos posted on the website Reddit went viral with almost one million views.

“Honestly, UEL has been extremely helpful in helping me achieve what I’ve achieved so far,” Dragos said.

The AOP winners will be announced on 28 July. An exhibition of all the finalists’ work takes place 28 July-9 August at theprintspace gallery in Shoreditch.