ECSTATIC: Mardiana's work beats more than 4,000 entries to win award in Australia
KUALA LUMPUR : MALAYSIAN-BORN Mardiana Sani has been named "Australia's Top Emerging Photographer" by Capture, the country's leading professional photography magazine.
The talented 23-year-old beat more than 4,000 entries to claim the overall prize as well as a win in the Portrait category.
The magazine said: "Taking primary inspiration from the emotional conscience, (her) images incite the viewer to feel their content, before turning thought to them."
Mardiana, who grew up in Kuala Lumpur and is now based in Melbourne, said she was ecstatic after receiving the news announced on Tuesday.
"I was in disbelief for the first few hours, then it sank in and I realised that I'm not even an Australian! It's a huge honour for Malaysia and I feel blessed," she said on Wednesday.
Mardiana graduated last year with a bachelor's degree in photography from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, where she was also named the Australian Commercial and Media Photographers' Student Photographer of the Year for her work in portraiture.
She said she had always known she would one day work in a visually-creative field.
"The moment it clicked for me was when I realised photography combined all of my passions -- psychology, beauty, diversity and adventure."
She is currently a resident photographer with Melbourne's Blue Tree Studios.
Mardiana's works can be seen at www.mardianasani.com.