Capturing a passion

Olivia Barnett won a national competition for young photographers. She tells us how it all started.

Olivia Barnett, who was aged 17 when she entered the competition and in her final year of studies at Gordonstoun, won first prize in the national finals of a competition for young photographers held by Rotary Club of Great Britain & Ireland.

The theme of the competition was ‘Colours of Nature’ and Olivia’s stunning photograph of a red deer stag also won first prize in both local and district stages of the competition before being put forward for the national award in the Senior category for young photographers aged from 14-17.

Read press release here

Olivia’s winning photograph

  • How did you become interested in photography?

I have always loved taking photographs, I just didn't know it yet. Until I decided to take it seriously for A-level Photography, I didn't realise how much of a passion I had for the subject. My interest in photography, however, sparked at a young age when I would follow my mum around when she would take photographs and I would try to copy her with my Vtech Kidizoom Plus Digital Camera.

  • Tell me how you got the winning photograph?

My family and I were on a road trip when I took this photograph of the stag. We were driving towards Applecross when we saw the stag lying on the ground surrounded by stunning scenery. Once we had parked, I got out and started taking photos of the stag. To my surprise was that the stag was very timid, and I was able to set up and get reasonably close to him. After several attempts, I was able to get a shot I was happy with. For a while, we watched the stag before it got up and walked into the hills. It's sometimes luck that puts you at the perfect place at the right time.

  • Are you planning to continue with your photography as a hobby or as a career?

In September, I will be attending Falmouth University to study Marine Photography and Natural History to continue my photography education. I feel so lucky to have found something that I am so passionate about.

  • What kind of photography do you like best?

In Year 12, I experimented with several different types of photography, but it was clear that the one that spoke to me most was nature and wildlife photography. I just adore nature photography. Over the years I have explored many types of nature photography, such as landscapes, wildlife portraits, macro-photography, and one of my favourites is underwater photography and macro-underwater photography.

  • How have Gordonstoun or your teachers helped you with your photography?

Gordonstoun has taught me a great deal about photography. I had never studied photography before attending Gordonstoun in Year 12. I have learned so much from all my teachers, including Mrs Van-Hoof, my incredible photography teacher who has taught me so much over the last 2 years. Gordonstoun has given me so many unique, once in a lifetime opportunities. I am so looking forward to my next adventure.

Olivia is presented with her award by Elgin Rotary President, Ian Brodie