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Simon Devitt Prize for Photography 2021

Online Exhibition 

“We all observe fleeting moments and chance encounters in our daily lives. Moment by moment most of these dissolve into the ether. Sometimes one or two will stay with us. Very rarely are these moments, the special ones, captured.”

“The Simon Devitt Prize for Photography is both a fantastic opportunity for our students and a means to showcase the talents of New Zealand’s emerging creative minds.”

2021 Winner
Congratulations to our 2021 winner: Chloe Alderton, Master of Urban Planning (Professional) and Urban Design student! Chloe’s winning photograph featured above is titled 'The quarter acre dream'.

About the Simon Devitt Prize for Photography


Established in 2008, the Simon Devitt Prize for Photography is open to all students from the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries at the University of Auckland. This popular photography competition is an annual event showcasing unique photographic perspectives from students with backgrounds in architecture, dance, design, fine arts, music and urban planning.

Each year, all Creative Arts and Industries students have the chance to enter and win $1,000 and a trophy.

Online Exhibition - 2021 Finalists
Theme: Take Refuge
Winner: Chloe Alderton
Master of Urban Planning (Professional) and Urban Design

Person laying in a bed, duvet covering them. Behind them there are leaves.

The quarter acre dream
Second place: Hanyu Liu
Postgraduate Diploma in Music

Person wearing a mask, looking at someone else who is looking at a painting of people getting off a train, all wearing masks

Those who look at the pictures can imagine that we, too, will one day set foot on the journey of refuge.
Third place: Ava Trevella
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Person laying down on grass

Person laying at the top of the creek


Person swimming in a creek, grass around the body of water


Terry Cheng
Bachelor of Architectural Studies

Close up of bee

Xi Li
Master of Fine Arts

Cyber Worldview: Left behind (Beijing, China)

Dark background, blinds in the background

Cyber Worldview: Hidden (HongKong, China)

Mingze Liu
Master of Fine Arts

Person outdoors, leaning against cardboard

Ellyn Oh
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Someone standing on a bench, with the night sky in the background
Get the hope

Someone pointing to the night sky

Dive to refuge ride out fear

Ella Simkin
Master of Architecture (Professional)
An outdoor shot of a coffee shop. Sign on the roof says 'What happens when nothing happens?'

My Bedroom Window

Griffin Smith
Bachelor of Architectural Studies
Mountain, sea and sky scenery, with people in the distant

Transmission Gully

Cindel Vlietman
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Close up of a bird house, with a bird sitting in it

City Rat

Bonnie White
Bachelor of Fine Arts/ Bachelor of Global Studies
Person underwater

The Fall

Person underwater, their head out of shot, but above water

My Dream

Person underwater, their reflection on top

My Refuge 

Mele Siniva Williams
Bachelor of Fine Arts 
Person sitting in a bucket full of colourful balls, reading a book

Fish out of water

Frances Wright
Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Fine Arts 
A shed outdoors

While the Billy Boils (Huia)

Sophia Ying
Bachelor of Architectural Studies
Dark background, close up of eyes
Dark background, close up of a hand

Take Refuge In Me

Hanyu Zhu
Bachelor of Architectural Studies
Dual image, left image is a sepia-tone image of a landscape with a body of water and mountains. Image on the right is a similar backdrop with stronger colours

2016-2020 Sometimes, time makes everything worse.
Previous winners

2020 winner

John Golena and Simon Devitt

Winner: Bachelor of Architectural Studies student John Golena, Winning image (left): It’s Just Me, Myself and I: Solo Ride Until I Die, Theme: Isolation

2019 winner

2019 winner, Elam student Angela Yuyi Hu

Winner: Elam student Angela Yuyi Hu, Winning image (left): Untitled, Theme: House Hunting

2018 winner

2018 winner, Elam student Hannah Davey

Winner: Bachelor of Fine Arts student Hannah Davey, Winning image (left): Rise Up, Theme: Mythical

2017 winner

2017 winner, Master of Architecture (Prof) student LiWen Choy

Winner: Master of Architecture (Prof) student LiWen Choy, Winning image (left): Dissonance, Theme: How Are You?

2016 winner

2016 winner Jodie Salmond

Winner: Master of Fine Arts student, Jodie Salmond, Winning images (left): When I’m Night Driving, Theme: A Chance Encounter

2015 winner

2015 winner, Elena Lochore-Ward

Winner: Master of Architecture (Prof) student Elena Lochore-Ward, Winning image (left): San Francisco, Theme: Final Frontier

2014 winner

2014 winner, Alice O’Brien-Gortner

Winner: Bachelor of Architectural Studies student, Alice O’Brien-Gortner, Winning image (left): Extinguished, Theme: The In-between

2013 winner

2013 winner, Sam Wong

Winner: Bachelor of Architectural Studies student, Sam Wong, Winning image (left) Rider, Theme: Subterranean

About Simon Devitt

With photographic work spanning forensics, sport and architecture, Simon Devitt started life in a South Auckland suburb, son of Janice and Brian and middle sibling of Aaron and Adele-Marie.

To find out what underpins his passion for photography and the grounds for his generosity, we virtually-visited Simon as he saw out his own self-isolation at his rural property just south of Auckland. Learn more about Simon.

With thanks to our valued sponsors Simon Devitt and John Leech Framing Workshop.