Event report: 2017 Epson NZIPP Infocus, Exposure, and the Iris Awards

2017 Epson nzipp infocus conference photo credit: Heather and Doug Records, Doug Richardson

2017 Epson nzipp infocus conference
photo credit: Heather and Doug Records, Doug Richardson

The New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) Infocus conference is the biggest weekend in the country’s photography calendar. This year’s event, held on June 14–19 at Shed 6 on Wellington’s waterfront, leaped into gear with an impressive line-up of local and international speakers

Covering a diverse range of photographic subjects, the five-day Infocus conference, Iris Awards, and the various events that surrounded it offered education and inspiration in abundance — enough to get any photographer’s head and heart racing.

“This year’s event has been by far the most epic that [the] NZIPP has ever hosted, with our loyal sponsors supporting our vision in bringing to New Zealand a photographic event that was truly world class,” said Kaye Davis, NZIPP honours chairperson.

“We were able to offer enthusiasts, professionals and the general public five days of inspiration, education, and bringing people together, through an amazing speaker line-up, workshops, live shoots, demonstrations, an awards gallery, and a trade show.”

Keynote speakers Lindsay Adler, Esther Bunning, Simon Devitt, Lisa Saad, Sharon Thompson, and Craig Wetjen, among others, dealt with a diverse range of photographic subjects throughout.

The 2016 International Photographer of the Year, Lisa Saad, took attendees on an emotional journey back to where her award-winning The Anonymous Man series originated. Through a mix of spoken-word poetry and audiovisual sequences, Lisa explained the health concerns and heartache that led her to find solace in creating her layered, illustrative photographic works. A printed image produced by Lisa in Wellington during Infocus, entitled The Anonymous Man #34, also formed a stunning art piece in celebration of the event.

A stand-out for many was a collaboration between New York fashion photographer Lindsay Adler and World of Wearable Art (WOW). Lindsay captured garments from the WOW collection in a creative fashion shoot in her hallmark clean, bold, and graphic style. Using the Canon 5D Mark IV, Profoto D2 kit, and a tripod, Lindsay’s demonstration culminated in still images and a cinematograph.

left to right: Lindsay Adler, World of WearableArt, The Floating, by Yanjingting Chen, worn by Lucy Aitchison, dressed by Felicity Mountford, makeup and hair by Damask Dewhirst and Ellie Whiting Lindsay Adler, World of WearableArt, EOS, by CLAIRE PREBBLE, worn by PAGE SHAND, dressed by VANESSA KIRKHAM, makeup and hair by Damask Dewhirst and Ellie Whiting Lindsay Adler, World of WearableArt, TRADITIONAL PROGRESS, by TSZ KAWN AU, worn by SOPHIE PETLEY, dressed by Felicity Mountford, makeup and hair by Damask Dewhirst and Ellie Whiting

left to right:
Lindsay Adler, World of WearableArt, The Floating, by Yanjingting Chen, worn by Lucy Aitchison, dressed by Felicity Mountford, makeup and hair by Damask Dewhirst and Ellie Whiting
Lindsay Adler, World of WearableArt, EOS, by CLAIRE PREBBLE, worn by PAGE SHAND, dressed by VANESSA KIRKHAM, makeup and hair by Damask Dewhirst and Ellie Whiting
Lindsay Adler, World of WearableArt, TRADITIONAL PROGRESS, by TSZ KAWN AU, worn by SOPHIE PETLEY, dressed by Felicity Mountford, makeup and hair by Damask Dewhirst and Ellie Whiting

A special event, Amber Griffin Does Ballet on Cable St, saw the 2016 Commercial Photographer of the Year and 2017 Commercial Category winner run through two live shoots using the Profoto B1X and high-speed airTTL. During her later presentation, Amber spoke on why she feels that establishing and dominating her niche within dance photography was the key to her success in the photographic industry.

left to right: Amber Griffin, Tabitha Dombroski from the New Zealand School of Dance Amber Griffin, Mali Comlekci from the New Zealand School of Dance

left to right:
Amber Griffin, Tabitha Dombroski from the New Zealand School of Dance
Amber Griffin, Mali Comlekci from the New Zealand School of Dance

Emotional energy was heightened as Craig Wetjen shared his ongoing photographic project and book Men and Their Sheds. By being invited into the sheds — and, equally, the lives — of men throughout Australia, Craig’s images provide an intimate, often entertaining, insight into the issues that primarily affect men. Sharon Thompson’s presentation was equally powerful; a documentary photographer by trade, she shared her stillbirth photography and spoke on turning tough times into triumph, fears into fortitude, and how to put your heart back into your art.

Craig Wetjen, men and their sheds

Craig Wetjen, men and their sheds

Photographers left Wellington with notebooks filled and blood pumping, yet the NZIPP said that next year’s Infocus is set to be bigger and better than ever, with preparations already underway. There’ll be “another must-attend event in July, 2018,” said Kaye.