ALL her years as a dancer and her training in photography at York College has paid off for Mimika Cooney who opened an image business last April.

South African born-Mimika who lives in Rainsborough Way, York, has won two national photographic awards.

The annual national photographic print competition run by the SWPP/BPPA (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers/ British Professional Photographers Association) attracts 3,000 entrants during the course of the year, and each month 32 winners are chosen from the 250 monthly entries from photographers across the UK.

Mimika has scooped the March title of Photographer Of The Month in two categories for March. Her dynamic images of dancers won her the awards in both the monochrome and pictorial categories.

The two awards make her a finalist in the overall Photographer Of The Year that will be decided at an awards dinner in Coventry in December. The overall winner gets a fully expenses paid trip to Las Vegas, as well as a professional camera.

Mimika, who entered last year's Evening Press Business Of The Year, said: "I just love dance. Having been a dancer myself I can fully appreciate the artistry and fluidity that dance is all about. I love to capture the essence of a non-verbal story that a dancer portrays through beautiful movements."

She and her husband, Michael, an electrical engineer, travelled the 6,000 miles to set up home in York afterlaunching EngNet, a dedicated engineering search tool on the internet, by engineers for engineers.

But having always had an interest in photography she took a part-time evening photographic course at York College two years ago and launched into the image business.

She also enrolled on the Fast Track programme run by the BIPP (British Institute of Professional Photographers) in November 2003 and a year later gained two professional photographic licentiate qualifications.

Updated: 11:14 Wednesday, April 27, 2005