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A curious pet who photobombed her owner’s still life photo shoot has unwittingly put the student in the running for a top photography award.

Aurélie Walder, a photography student from the University of Northampton, was taking pictures of a water-filled jug when her Chihuahua Coco decided she wanted joined in. Aurélie put the pup on the table and continued shooting.

“Coco kept on looking at me and wanted to be involved,” says Aurélie. “She was so persistent that I gave in and through ‘I’ll do something with you’.

“She loves dog biscuits, so I thought I drop one in the water and see what happens – and I got the most amazing result with my very first shot. I expected Coco would close her eyes as she put her head in the water, but she kept them open, which really makes the shot something special. I also love the way the water and glass distorts her body. Coco’s something special, and I just love this photograph.”

Aurelie Walder photographer, aureliewalder.com, photos@aureliewalder.com

The image caught the attention of the University’s Head of Photography, Richard Whitehead, who urged Aurélie to enter it into the Association of Photographers (AOP) Student Awards. The photo went down well with the judges and has now been shortlisted for the ‘Things’ category.

Says Richard, “The AOPs are the most prestigious student photography awards going and draws thousands of entries from hundreds of universities and colleges.

“The competition is incredibly tough, so to get through to the final shortlist for an award is a huge achievement.”

Aurélie, who is originally from Switzerland, says, “I knew it was a good shot, but I couldn’t believe it when I was contacted by AOP to let me know I was a finalist.

“I was actually in a shop with some friends and I think I screamed – and it’s still not sunk in because it’s such a big deal.”

The winner will be announced at a glittering ceremony in London next month, just before Aurélie graduates.

She adds, “I want to be a wildlife photographer, and this nomination has added so much to my portfolio. After graduation, I’m hoping to stay in the UK and pursue my career – and I plan to be reunited with Coco by flying her over because she’s currently living overseas with my mum.”

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