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World Photography Organisation and Hotel Indigo reveal new talent

The World Photography Organisation (WPO) and InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG’s) boutique brand, Hotel Indigo, today reveal 24 year old Jemma Willcock as the winner of the inaugural national student photography award designed to unearth the next generation of UK photographic talent.

Hotel Indigo partnered with the renowned World Photography Organisation (WPO), which supports professional, amateur and student photography across the world, to create a bespoke student competition and offered one student a commission to shoot one of the newest Hotel Indigo properties.

The competition saw eight Hotel Indigo hotels in the UK paired with local universities and challenged students to create individual photography projects inspired by the hotels’ local neighbourhood. Students from around the country submitted projects with each entry reflecting the local neighbourhood in a unique way, from iconic monuments to self-made creations reflecting the cities’ history.

Jemma Wilcock, who is in her second year of a MA in Photography at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, beat seven finalist students across the UK with her submission which was influenced by the cotton trading heritage of Liverpool.

Her win has earned her  the role of being a commissioned photographer for Hotel Indigo and she will now be rewarded with a paid commission to shoot the Neighbourhood Story for the newest Hotel Indigo to open in Europe in 2014. The finalists photography will be showcased as part of the World Photography Organisation's Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at Somerset House in May 2014, followed by a tour of the eight Hotel Indigo hotels in the UK at which hotel guests and local residents will be invited to view the students' portfolio of work.

Jemma took a conceptual and intuitive approach, using the history of cotton importing and the position of the hotel as her inspiration for the project. Her initial inspiration came from the Hotel's own neighbourhood story which highlighted the cotton trading heritage of the city. Jemma also conducted her own research on what makes Liverpool such an interesting place today and created a project that organised all the information she had collected, using the nails to represent significant places in Liverpool. Her project highlights the importance of art within the city, using nails to represent the Tate Liverpool and the Walker Art Gallery, and the historically significant sites including Liverpool Catherdral and the Royal Liver Building.

Jemma Wilcock comments: “I am very excited to become a commissioned photographer for Hotel Indigo. The programme has provided a very interesting project for me to take part in and has been a great experience all round to build on in the future. My work is generally characterized as slow and meditative, thoughtful and personal. It is conceptual and intuitive in practice a yet remains tangible, sometimes ambiguous but hopefully never out of reach.”

“I think the brand’s focus on becoming part of the community and having an emphasis on the local surroundings and what they mean helped me to create the work that I did and I expect that the commission for the new hotel will be an exciting new project.”

Tom Rowntree Vice President Brand Management Luxury & Upscale Brands, Europe, IHG said, “We’re delighted to name Jemma as the winner of the Hotel Indigo and World Photography Organisation student competition. We had some fantastic photographers in the final but the unique way Jemma was able to capture the essence of the hotel's neighbourhood story and bring it to life creatively  was exactly what we had hoped to achieve. We welcome her on board and look forward to shooting the next Hotel Indigo hotel in Europe with her in 2014.”

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