Published on November 6, 2013 | by Caroline Clastres

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Award-winning picture of student causes disquiet

A student from University College Oxford gets 'trashed" after finishing his exams in Oxford,

The picture which made Stefan Wermuth photographer of the year [©Stefan Wermuth]

A photograph showing an Oxford University student getting ‘trashed’ has resulted in Stefan Wermuth being named as the SABMiller photographer of the year at the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards.

The Reuters photographer won the top award in British photojournalism, beating off the competition from over 400 contestants who displayed their work.

But the central theme of the image has caused concern.

Monika Wiatrak, fashion student at LCF, said she is “not impressed” by the prominence this picture has been given, considering the dangers caused by binge drinking which has become a recurrent phenomenon in many students’ lives.

“It is just so ordinary to see pictures of students getting trashed now. If you take a minute and have a look at your Facebook friends’ pictures, you’ll realise that it’s literally ‘cool’ to get hammered.

Attitudes

“It shows an aspect of the student life, although perhaps it is a characteristic that takes too much space,” Wiatrak added.

Incidentally, a recent study shows that young people’s attitudes to drinking are indeed affected by the entertainment media.

The research, conducted by Professor Christine Griffin at Massey University in New Zealand, observed how youngsters tend to view alcohol adverts via social media sites as “useful and informative” instead of identifying it as targeted advertising.

A “culture of intoxication” would then be generated as the messages conveyed urged to extreme drinking.

Besides being nearly impossible to avoid, alcohol promotions are drawn as “highly dynamic” as they take “an ever-expanding range of forms” due to new digital and mobile technologies development.

“The sites reinforce the idea that drinking is about fun, pleasure and socialising. Alcohol brands become an integral part of young people’s everyday lifestyles, reinforcing the widespread culture of intoxication”, wrote professor Griffin.

All entries for the UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards are being exhibited in the Museum of London until March 16, 2014.

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