Photography adds up for ex-accountant Jen

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A WOMAN who gave up a career as an accountant to take up photography a year ago has won a professional award - despite still being a student.

Jen Bray, 41, of Illingworth, was living in the Canary Islands in 2009 with her husband and children when she decided it was time for a change of career.

Having lived in Huddersfield before she moved abroad, Jen decided she would try living in Calderdale when she returned.

She started a degree studying photography at Batley School of Arts and after just one year has been awarded the Industrial category of the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) Professional Print Awards - making her the first ever first year student to win in a professional category.

“I lived in Tenerife for a few years but it’s hard to make a living out there,” she said. “Doing accounts was stressful and meant I was stuck in doors all day, and I was interested in art and so when I came home I started a photography degree.

“I was entered in the student category but apparently the judges felt my images were of such a high standard that they should be considered in the professional category. To say I’ve only been doing the course since September, I think it’s pretty amazing.”

Jen said that Halifax offered some great opportunities for photographs.

“It is a friendlier place than the larger towns and cities across the UK and it has a wealth of fine architecture and history that we tend to forget about when it is seen on a daily basis.

Now, for the final module of her course, Jen and ten course mates are hosting an exhibition, ‘exhibit A’, for members of the public to come in and view her work.

It will be held at the West Yorkshire Print Workshop Gallery in Mirfield May 13 until mid July.

“We are all passionate about photography and push the medium’s artistic boundaries. Individual specialisms within the group range from fashion, beauty, advertising, fine art and portraiture to architecture, landscape and macro work.”

Entry is free. For more information, visit

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