Behind the awards curtain: PSNZ Central Regional Convention

This April, local photographers will have the opportunity to peek behind the scenes of one of our most respected national awards programmes, as veteran photographer Bruce Girdwood explores the secrets behind successful image sets.

As part of the Photographic Society of New Zealand’s (PSNZ) annual National Convention — dubbed Hutt 2019: Focus on Learning — Bruce will lift the veil on the organization’s closed Honours award sessions, explaining what makes or breaks a successful photographic set.

“The objective is to create as much transparency as we can, and to show people who either failed to achieve their Honours or are planning to apply for their PSNZ Honours what the Honours Board looks for,” he says. “I feel strongly that the Honours Board should not prescribe rules but set guidelines for success.”

Bruce is the ideal candidate to offer such advice; the Wairarapa-based photographer chaired the PSNZ’s Judge Accreditation Panel for seven years, during which time he helped design a course to train photography judges in the art of assessment. This month he becomes the chair of the organization’s Honours Board.

“For me, this is an honour and a privilege, and a role that I am humbled by,” he explains. “Our responsibility is one that I take very seriously because we are evaluating personal work, which is an intimate portrayal of who the artists are and how they see the world.”

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Bruce Girdwood

Bruce Girdwood

The photographer has been on the other side of the assessment equation himself, many times. He has achieved his Fellowship with the Society, as well as having images selected for many of the country’s respected contests, including the Canon National Exhibition, the PSNZ International Salon, and the North Shore Salon.

He describes his own photographic style as one rooted in simplicity. Fixating on a single idea, emotion, or reaction, he explores through an exacting lens, often using long exposures of above five minutes to create blur and texture.

“When I received my fellowship from the PSNZ, it was through a set of 18 images of the ocean to show the ebb and flow of the tides and the day; all were blurry and all printed on galvanized iron sheet. My Fellowship set was displayed in Invercargill and my Southland friends termed it ‘blurry shit’ — the title has stuck.”

At the convention, Bruce is looking forward to helping society members get the most out of their photography, as well as enjoy the communal atmosphere.

“We get together with old friends and make new ones, and we are inspired by the amazing speakers and their approach to photography. Conventions always exceed expectation, and there is always something for everyone. It is great fun and very inspirational.”

Don’t miss your chance to be part of this fun, educational community experience — head to hutt2019.org.nz for more details.



Hutt 2019: Focus on Learning

The Photographic Society of New Zealand invites photographers throughout the country to attend it’s 67th National Convention in April, this year hosted by the Hutt Camera Club.


When: 26–29 April

Where: Lower Hutt Event Centre, Lower Hutt

What: A four-day event comprising guest speakers, workshops, photo trips, gear displays, photography competition, and ample time to socialize with like-minded photographers.

Who: Bruce will this year be joined by presenters such as Mark Gee, Steve Scalone, Esther Bunning, Aaron Key, Catherine Cattanach, Kaye Davis, Ian Rotherham, and many more.


Visit hutt2019.org.nz for full details and ticketing information.