Praise doesn’t come much higher than that of the D&AD gang, originally founded by a group of cutting edge designers and art directors that included David Bailey, Terence Donovan and Alan Fletcher. They set up the scheme as a way of recognising emerging talent, awarding them the coveted yellow pencil, and since 1978, have been shining a spotlight on to some of the best budding creative through the D&AD Student Awards. This year, Rankin Photography’s creative director Vicky Lawton was asked to present the photography award. The brief, set by Rankin, was to create a photographic story for The Hunger that focused on the crossover between texture and photography. The winners were split into three categories:

Best of Year – awarded to those who have taken an aspect of the criteria and developed it to a point of excellence.

Nomination – awarded to those worthy of being considered for the Yellow Pencil.

Student Yellow Pencil –  awarded to the person whose work meets the judging criteria extremely well, the best demonstration of technique in accordance with the brief. According to the official guidelines, “the creative idea should be so strong that it inspires envy in the jury”.

The 2012 awards were held on the 26th June. We spoke to some of the winners about their extraordinary entries.

Best of Year

Simon Bell – image 1

“I intended my images to truly electrify the visual senses by pushing the boundaries of two-dimensionality to fit with The Hunger’s style. I looked at photographs that I thought broke away from the standard perception of a 2D surface. To create images that look 3D, you need to manipulate perspective, shape, texture and space to create all illusion of absolute depth. I hung florescent tubes in a graphical pattern to emphasise the perspective and depth. The combination of the visual elements, the graphical shape and the space were not enough to truly break the bond of a 2D plane – I needed something more to jump out so in one of the images I lit a florescent tube and the other, I threw paint at it to bring them to life.”

Alexander Ehlke – image 2

Mihaela Nicheva & Genevieve McManus – image 3

“‘Adrift’ explores the parallels between drowning and being half-asleep. The ethereal images reveal the dream-like place where the real and surreal merge. The pictures were achieved using a mirror in a reflective tub of water. Taking the images in focus and without light flares was a difficult challenge, but we’re proud of the final images. They have not been manipulated in any way apart from colour correction. We worked hard to create this technique, so to get recognition for the images is great.”

Ishmael Jackson – image 4

“My aim was to show a capability of transcending from one dimension to a next. As a child, I was passionate about the novel The Lion, The Witch and The wardrobe, and essentially this became my source of inspiration. The book is filled with amazing adventures and interesting characters, and I was fascinated with the idea of an ordinary wardrobe possessing the power to open a doorway into another world. The brief has greatly inspired my projects. It has allowed me to explore things in ways that I could only dream of, deliberately rendering my dreams into reality. I just want more time to dream.”

Stephanie Gilbert – image 5

“With the imminent Olympic hype, I was becoming more and more aware that female athletes receive very little media attention and questioned why this was. If generic sports photography was more visually stimulating would people become more interested? Since the project, I have been working on a project with the Football Association. Working on the brief inspired me to consider experimenting with new ways to present information visually.”


Ruth Jones – image 6

My concept was to show how people put on a façade or mask when confronted by a camera. I showed this by getting my sitters to draw their ‘façade’ on to a sheet of glass and then sit behind the glass with a blank expression. My inspiration came partly from a project I am currently working on, titled ‘Oblivious’, which studies how humans can get used to their surroundings and become oblivious of them.”

Esther Robinson & Nick Blakeman  – image 7

Anastasia Korosteleva – image 8

I ‘dressed’ the model in high fashion garments, which were magnified by one hundred with a scanning electron microscope. Likewise, I ‘applied’ various cosmetics, which had this time been magnified a hundred to two thousand times. I feel that the photographs present a new way of looking at fashion photography, and also explore how we wear fashion. They reduce fashion to its physical core – natural and synthetic products that combine to create the garments and cosmetics that we recognise and desire. The images also show how we can be dressed in less than one millimetre of fabric and one millilitre of makeup – ultra economical, sustainable fashion!”

Yellow Pencil

Michael Skachkov – image 9

My concept was pretty simple and quite weird at the same time. I thought about the relationship between cloth and human and what would happen if I interchanged these roles through the wild combination of fashion photography and special feature. It was inspired by the texture of the human body and a skin, as well as the fabric texture and transformation of 3D objects into 2D and vice versa. The world of fashion is natural and close to a human, as a reflection of our inner world, state of mind, charisma, identity demonstration and self-expression. Skin is a clothing for our body, and has an intimate relationship with the wearer. My concept represents the mystical world where the roles are changing, where the structure is absolutely different, the world where clothes wear humans.

Eason Page – image 10

Find out more about the D&AD Awards and Student D&AD Awards on their website.


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