Asef’s focus is on photo prize


Shortlisted: Middlesex University student Asef Ali Mohammad Shortlisted: Middlesex University student Asef Ali Mohammad Shortlisted: Middlesex University student Asef Ali Mohammad

A MIDDLESEX University student’s work has been described as “outstanding” by a panel of international judges after he was shortlisted for a prestigious
photography prize.

Asef Ali Mohammad, from Friern Barnet, beat entries from 200 institutions across six continents to become one of just ten finalists in the Sony World Photography Award.

“I am absolutely delighted with the news,” said Asef. “It is a big competition in its fifth year with a fantastic reputation. It also means my work will be exhibited at Somerset House, in London.”

Drawing inspiration from the notion of the “fleeting moment”, the 27-year-old chose an image of the Hazara people in Pakistan, who have been subject to persecution, kidnapping and target killings.

“My mother is from the Hazara tribe, so I consider myself one of the Hazara people,” he said. “They have a rich and wonderful history and I wanted to raise awareness of the discrimination.”

Asef moved to the UK ten years ago and since 2006 he has lived in Friern Barnet, which he described as “very welcoming”. “I cannot imagine living anywhere else,” he said.

Should Asef go on to win the coveted award on April 26, he will pick up about £37,500 worth of equipment for his university’s photography department.

“The competition is very tough, with entries from all over the world, from South Africa to Argentina,” he said.
“Although I am happy just to be nominated, my focus now is on trying to win.”

David Simmonds, Asef’s university teacher, has high hopes for the “talented
“Asef makes mature, thought-provoking and sensitive images on often challenging subjects with which he has close personal connections,” he said.
Ania Wadsworth, coordinator for the Sony award, added: “Each year we are continually surprised and delighted with the overwhelming response to the programme and the quality of the work submitted from around the globe.”