Young photographer Tamara Moore found inspiration at the most unlikely time -during a mock A-level exam.
"I was right at the back of this massive sports hall," she says. "I finished early and was just looking around me. I just noticed what a striking image it was, the repetition of all these desks one in front of another."
The resulting black-and-white picture of the exam hall at East Norfolk sixth-form college set Tamara off on a career as a photojournalist.
The photo was part of her winning entry in a competition run by the STAR Awards -the Oscars of the learning and skills sector - in partnership with The TES. Tamara, aged 19, won three days' work experience on The TES picture desk, and the opportunity to photograph last year's STAR Awards ceremony in London. Her pictures were so good that they were used on the awards website and in promotional materials, helping her to gain her first commissioned work.
She is now studying for a two-year foundation degree in photo-journalism at the London College of Communication. Her interest in photography began when she first picked up a camera while on a family holiday. "I took a family photo snap and thought that's what I want to do for the rest of my life," she said.
While she was studying A-level photography, her tutor at East Norfolk college suggested she enter the STAR competition. She has just completed a second round of work experience at The TES as part of her course.
The day before this interview she was photographing the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. "It's been a fantastic experience," she said. "We get taught about picture desks in college, but it's good to see the people at the other end and where the ideas come from."
Another highlight was the opportunity to photograph last year's STAR Awards ceremony at The Brewery in London. This has led to her first paid work as a photographer. Tamara has been commissioned to take photographs for Southwark College's prospectus.
This year the STAR Awards and The TES are running the competition again.
Student photographers in the learning and skills sector should submit three images that capture the theme of "the learning experience".
These will be judged by The TES picture desk staff based on style and originality, technical competence, and potential to develop professionally.
Please include a short description (maximum 100 words) about the inspiration, execution and content of the images.
The technical requirements are that the minimum target file size should produce an image with its longest side being 30cms at 200dpi, as a high-quality jpeg. Computer-manipulated images must be labelled as such.
The winner will be invited to do a work placement at The TES during July or August, and also invited to London in October 2006 to photograph the setting-up of the STAR Awards ceremony.
Email entries to Katharine Preece at email@example.com with the name of your course, tutor and college or learning provider before June 16