From winning prestigious awards to having her work shown on billboards across the UK, UWE Bristol photography graduate Eva Watkins is quickly establishing herself as a rising star in the world of photography.
Despite only graduating in 2020, Eva already has a number of awards under her belt, including the prestigious Portrait of Britain Award. More recently, it is Eva’s images of synchronised swimmers which have been making waves.
Henleaze synchronised swimmers project
Photographed at Henleaze swimming lake in Bristol, Eva was introduced to the synchronised swimming group by one of her UWE Bristol tutors who also features in the images. While many people may feel apprehensive about being photographed in their swimming costumes, Eva put the swimmers at ease by getting to know the group and even braved the chilly waters herself.
‘‘I love getting to know the people who I’m making a project with and making sure they feel as comfortable as possible in front of the camera. I also love to get involved in what they do. I went swimming with the synchro team and they taught me synchro moves while they sang ‘Her bathing suit never got wet’ by the Andrew Sisters, it was such a great experience. ’’says Eva
The images have gone on to secure a multitude of awards for Eva, including the 2020 British Journal of Photography: Female in Focus Award. As part of her prize, Eva’s photography will be exhibited in New York City in July; the first time her work has been shown internationally.
Closer to home, Eva was one of 20 graduates selected for a recent UK billboard campaign run by Free Range and Clear Channel. Her image of swimmers emerging from the water on a ladder has been viewed by thousands of people, appearing in cities such as London, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham.
‘‘It’s been a great experience walking around London finding my photograph. The synchro team have been finding billboards around Bristol as well. Neither me or the team thought the photo would be around the UK, it’s wild! I’ve loved receiving photographs from people around the UK of the billboards. It’s been surreal.’’
UWE Bristol and beyond
Reflecting on her time at UWE Bristol, Eva says ‘going to university has to be one of the best decisions I’ve made’ and she credits her tutors and university technicians with helping her to develop her photography style which she describes as ‘documentary portraiture.’
Looking to the future, Eva has recently moved to London and hopes to further her photography career. She also plans on revisiting her synchronised swimming project which was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘‘I plan on making more photographs with the team, swimming with them more and having a fabulous time with them when it’s safe to do so!’’
For more about Eva and her work visit www.evawatkins.co.uk.