The 2017 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition is now open for entries, and we'll be catching up with our final category winners from the 2016 competition during this year's event. In this instalment, we talk to the winner of the 2016 People category, Kim Falconer, about what she's been working on since her win last year.
D-Photo: What made you decide to enter the 2016 D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition?
Kim Falconer: I am a fairly regular photo comp enterer, usually putting something into two or three national comps a year, but I had never been organized enough to try a D-Photo comp before. I had no expectation of winning anything!
What was it like to have such a positive outcome in winning your category of the competition?
The fabulous Octabox soft box prize from Profoto has opened many new possibilities for my portraits.
Can you tell us the story behind your winning image?
There is a story behind my image Contemplation, which started when I came across a repeat of a few episodes of the TV series The Borgias. Even before I got caught up in the Machiavellian plot and stunning costumes, I was lured in by the exquisite lighting used throughout. The lighting in one scene in particular really caught my eye and inspired me to try and recreate it in my image.
Confession — it is actually a composite, but all elements were photographed with the specific end image in mind. So the monk was in his pose, table and props, window and wall, bed and rustic blanket all taken with lighting from the same direction and angle, and with the same white balance.
What gear did you use to capture your image? Are you using the same gear now or have you changed your preferred equipment?
All taken using the second love of my life, my Nikon D750, with the gorgeous 24–120mm f/4 Nikkor lens.
What projects are you currently working on at the moment? Can you provide a bit of an explanation about what inspired you to work on this or these?
Current projects bouncing around in my head are numerous and varied, but mostly include portraits. Maybe if I can focus enough to stick to a theme, I may end up with enough to consider applying for an Associate Honours from the PSNZ.
What inspired you to pick up a camera for the first time, and how long have you been shooting?
I first started doing photography in high school — I believe darkroom work gives a very helpful background. After, I was a content point-and-shooter for many years, until I ended up working in a photo lab in Queenstown for awhile. Excellent training in colour balance reignited my interest in aiming to create something more with my camera.
What would you say to someone considering entering the competition, but who are a little hesitant in clicking the ‘submit’ button?
There's no downside to submitting your favourite work to the 2017 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition. But I am a real advocate for photography clubs, where I think everyone can learn really useful self-evaluation skills, along with so much else.