A GIFTED student has been shortlisted for a prestigious photographic competition.

Ryan Hickson, from Winsford is in the final 25 in the search to find the best Impericon Next Generation photographer.

The 25-year-old has autism and is delighted to be winning recognition for his imaginative images.

"I have loved taking photos for as long as I can remember and put my heart and soul into my work," said Ryan, of Finsbury Walk.

"I am interested in all types of photography. I am always taking photos whether it is breathtaking landscapes, sports, animals or band photography. I also like taking photos using my drone."

The former Overhall School and Woodford Lodge pupil studied photography at Mid Cheshire College and is continuing to specialise in the subject at Chester University.

"It is my ambition to be a band photographer and hopefully one day to have my own photography business," he said. "I would love that because I have my own style of work."

A selection of his pictures are currently on display in a collaborative exhibition entitled A Transitional History of Chester with fellow student Adam Elson.

Their work is on show in the Fountains roundabout subway near Park Gate Road in Chester.

Ryan was surprised to receive public acclaim for his pictures.

"I was honoured and amazed to be shortlisted for the competition," he said. "At first I thought it was someone playing a joke on me because people like playing tricks and stuff on me.

"The final part of the competition is through voting and advertising on social media so having people troll me and judge me as a person because of how I act because of my autism doesn't help at all.

"There is nothing wrong with being autistic but a lot of us don't get jokes and take things literally so although they think it's funny it really isn't."

Ryan wants to thank everyone who has supported him so far.

"I am very grateful to the people who have taken the time to vote for me in the competition and to those who have taken the time to like my photography page and Instagram," he said. "It has helped me so much with my depression and anxiety.

"Autistic people see the world in a different way to non autistic people and I think I show that in my photography which I am very proud of."

To vote for Ryan visit impericon.com/uk/next-generation-2019-voting-photographers before March 22.