Megan, a student on the BA (Hons) Photography course at Anglia Ruskin University, was the only British photographer to make the shortlist for the annual prize, which is organised by UNICEF Germany and GEO magazine.
The UNICEF Photo of the Year Awards recognise photos and photo series that depict the personality and living conditions of children worldwide in an outstanding manner. The top prize was won by Georgi Licovski, a photographer with epa (European Pressphoto Agency), for his images of young refugees on the Greece-Macedonia border.
Megan, who is 20 and lives in Harlow, impressed the judges with a series of photos of her eight-year-old sister Sophie – photos she originally took for a module of her degree course.
She said: “The photos tell the story of my younger sister trying to make sense of an over-commercialised childhood. Sophie is eight years old and wants to grow up quickly, but is not ready. To receive such an honour within the UNICEF awards is incredible – I’m almost speechless.”
As well as being the only British photographer, Megan is also the youngest photographer to be honoured this year by UNICEF, who said: “Although she has not finished her training yet, she already is a photographer with a fine instinct and the talent to ‘read’ faces.”
Kerstin Hacker, Course Leader for Photography, said: “The photography department is proud that one of our students has been recognised in the UNICEF Photo of the Year award.
“Megan’s series is a very powerful reminder on the pressures children are under and how important stories can sometimes be found very close to home. Her work manages to capture the difficult transition from child to adult and the commercial pressure that makes this journey perilous.
“Megan photographed the series as part of the Photographic Sequences module in her second year of study. The module is helping our students to develop a narrative in a body of work.
“Being selected amongst seasoned photographers for an Honourable Mention in a global, professional photographic competition is an amazing achievement and a real testimony to the ambition and professionalism of our students.”