Associate of the NZIPP - wahoo!

I'm home now after a whirlwind few days down at NZIPP Infocus in Christchurch and man I feel shattered! What an inspiring, rewarding, challenging conference it has been - the speakers were amazing and gave so generously of their incredible knowledge. And the general vibe down there was so supportive and so fun - I feel proud to be an NZIPP member. I was thrilled to receive my Associateship with the institute this year, after four of the seven prints I entered in the Iris Awards won bronze awards. And I'm all fired up to do even better next year: for one thing I'm going to enter the maximum 10 prints, but also I plan to create photos specially for the awards, rather than just casting back over my client work to find photos that might be suitable. That whole processing of planning, shooting, culling and editing specifically for the awards is a real learning curve and so personally rewarding. I've had this goal before, and then I didn't follow through on it: it's time-consuming, and work got in the way, and I let my creative projects fall by the wayside. This time I've put it in writing to you guys, so no excuses!! I have been scribbling down photo ideas in my iPhone over the last few days and I'm going to MAKE the time.

Here are my award-winning images from this year.

The awesome Greta - bronze in the Commercial category.I was stoked to get an award for this flower shot because it felt a bit risky to enter it - I love the colours, light and composition, but it is just a photo of some bouquets on a table after all, and I wasn't sure it would have that extra factor needed to take it above "high professional standard" and into a Bronze award. I printed it on gorgeous velvet art paper and was really happy with the final result, and so glad the judges liked it too!

The photo below of Jane was another one I was really pleased with. I did specifically set out to "shoot" Jane for for the Iris awards, but my original idea of having her against a massive wall of flowers didn't work out (I couldn't afford to hire as many as I needed, and extending the wall of flowers digitally was well beyond my limited Photoshop skills). So this was one of those times where you end up with something quite different from the vision you had in mind at the start of the shoot, and I was thrilled to get an award, not least because Jane was so amazing and I felt I owed her!!

And finally, a bronze in the Illustrative category with this silhouette photo of Alexander and Eva at Waikanae Beach. To be honest I was a little disappointed with the performance of this one. I had showed it to a couple of top photographers who sometimes judge the Iris Awards (they weren't judging this year) and they both loved it - one even said it could possibly earn me a Gold. So I had my fingers crossed for a Silver but no, it was not to be. Nevermind - sometimes I think there's an element of luck in these things, depending on whose on the judging panel at the time when your photo pops up, the time of day, the photos that have preceded yours etc etc. Every year that I attend the print judging I feel outraged on other photographers' behalf as their stunning work passes by unrewarded, and also sometimes a bit bewildered by some of the work that does make it! C'est la vie.

The kids were so excited to help me unpack the box of prints and find my Associateship medal, and Eva wanted to do a little presentation ceremony, so Alexander was the official photographer. He even closed the curtains to create a simple background - I felt right proud of him!

Before I sign off and start working on all my Gold awards for next year, ha ha, I'd just like to give my thanks and love to Alistair, who is a constant source of support and encouragement, not to mention a fantastic business adviser and voice of reason. This generous man is under so much pressure at work but was happy to let me leave him juggling his own crazy work hours with looking after the kids for five days so that I could attend this conference, because he knows how much it feeds my soul. Thank you.

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