I think my photographic career just peaked. It has been such a CRAZY few days that I hardly know where to start with this post. I am still floating. As I wrote a few days ago, I briefly wondered about not entering this year's Epson/NZIPP Iris Awards because after I got my Gold award in 2013 and was a finalist for NZ Creative Portrait Photographer of the Year I thought perhaps I should quit while I was ahead! But as my friend Mel said on Friday night when we were out celebrating: "This is fantastic! It's all downhill from NOW, not from last year!"
I made NZIPP history with my score of 99 (Gold with Distinction) for the print below - three judges gave it a perfect 100, while the other two scored it 98. But even more valuable to me is the emotional response it has generated. Many who were present at the judging were in tears, including some of the judges, and several people left the room crying. I was not there (thank goodness) but I was watching the live streaming of the judging, and I had the luxury of turning into a complete blubbering wreck in the privacy of my own home. I've been inundated with moving messages, thanking me for this photograph and telling me I don't know how much it means.
I think the Gold with Distinction really belongs to my amazing subject. She is an incredible, brave, beautiful and strong woman and I thank her from the bottom of my heart. She said to me that this photograph was part of her healing process but that she also hoped it would help others. Neither of us quite foresaw this level of reaction though - I have been passing on all the hundreds of positive comments as they mean so much to both of us.
I also received Silver with Distinction for these two prints, which was very exciting!
My fourth entry in the Classic Portrait category narrowly missed out on a Bronze, but thems the breaks:
I was so amped at the end of Friday that I barely slept at all, and then early on Saturday morning we were straight into the next day of judging. I received four more awards in the Creative Portrait category - Silvers for these first two images, and then Bronze for the next two:
I have now received enough points to go from being an NZIPP Master of Photography to a FELLOW! So yesterday I booked flights to Rotorua so that I can attend the gala dinner on Monday night and celebrate with my friends. I also got word this morning that I'm a finalist for NZ Classic Portrait Photographer of the year, so deciding to attend the dinner turned out to be a very worthwhile move. By an extremely strange coincidence, my husband Alistair is being awarded his Fellowship of the NZ Institute of Professional Engineers on the very same day, so we'll both be at awards dinners in different cities! It's a shame we can't be there to see each other awarded the fellowships but also kind of cool to have it happen on the same day.
I'd better sign off now but I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of my amazing subjects (including the chook - very patient) and to my ever-supportive family. xoxoxo