International El Award 2015 open for submissions

EI_Award_Cover_v2-08 As part of Portugal’s Encontros da Imagem Festival, the inaugural El Award 2015 rewards the best Contemporary Photography Portfolio. It provides a chance for photographers across the globe to have their work seen by a series of international experts from countries including Ireland, Germany, Finland, Poland, India, Spain, Dubai, France, Russia, and the United States. The competition is open to artists any age with the only restriction being that they must use photography as a medium.

Seventy authors will be invited to show their portfolio at a portfolio review where they will be ranked on the interest their portfolio provokes, the originality, the coherence of the project, and the quality of the concept that the artist has chosen. This year’s El Award 2015 winner will have their portfolio showcased in an individual exhibition at the 2016 festival, a zine publication will be created and presented in Edition Bessard’s zine collection, and the winner will also receive prize money.

The El Award 2015 competition is open for submissions until July 24, 2015 — more information, and terms and conditions, can be found at

International competition raises funds for breast cancer charity

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© Chris Rhodes (UK) — ‘4 Sale, Shipshewana, IN, USA’ — Renaissance Photography Prize for Best Single Image 2014

An international photography competition is providing emerging and established artists with a platform to have their work seen by a worldwide audience, while also raising funds for a worthy cause.

The Renaissance Photography Prize is currently open for submissions until June 18, 2015, and this year, all profit earned from entry fees will be donated to The Lavendar Trust at Breast Cancer Care — a UK charity, which raises money to fund information and support for young women with breast cancer. 

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© Dany Peschl (Germany) —  from the series ‘To the Mountains’ — Renaissance Photography Prize Best Series 2014

This year's competition consists of single image categories including Journey, Human, and Line, and a series section, which is an open category. Photographers who enter their works into the competition (and you can submit as many images, or series of images, as you like) will have the chance to have their work seen by a panel of influential, international photography critics. Winning images will be announced in November, and they will be displayed at Getty Images Gallery in London, UK.

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© David Favrod (Spain) — from the series ‘Hikari’ — runner-up for Best Series

The judging panel consists of Gregory Barker, Commissioning Editor at Hotshoe Magazine; Louise Clements, Artistic Director of QUAD and FORMAT International Photography Festival; Emily Graham, Cultural and Education Manager at Magnum Photos; Tom Hind, Senior Director Content Development at Getty Images; Chris Littlewood, Photography Director at Flowers Gallery;  Diane Smyth, Deputy Editor of British Journal of Photography; Madeleine Penny, Freelance Photo Editor at The Sunday Times Magazine; and photographer Simon Roberts.

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© Berta De La Rosa (UK) — ‘Las Manos de Carmen (Carmen's Hands) 02’ — category winner 2014: Expression

There is a prize pool of more than £6000 (approximately NZ$12,700) worth of prizes to be won. Submitting a single image costs £18, up to three images is £27, up to six images is £45, and for more than six, a price will be calculated to give the best discount. If submitting a series of five to eight images, plus a project statement, this will cost £55 per series.

For more information on the competition, and to enter, visit

Remembering Anzac: Laurence Aberhart

106 - Aberhart - Dunrobin - Edievale, Otago, 25 June 2012 (Custom)

Laurence Aberhart, Dunrobin — Edievale, Otago, June 25, 2012, 2012, platinum (courtesy of the artist)

For longer than 30 years, Laurence Aberhart has been providing an insight into memorializing war with his images of single Anzac figures and monuments. He's travelled throughout New Zealand and Australia capturing the striking images, and now you can see 60 of these prints in the exhibition ANZAC: Photographs by Laurence Aberhart at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography, from May 30 to December 6, 2015. We talked to Aberhart about the process behind his work and what initiated this three-decade project.

D-Photo: More than 30 years of work has gone into this exhibition; what is it like to now see it exhibited as a whole?

Laurence Aberhart: I do not see this as a whole. It is part of the greater range of ‘work’ that I do. I collect things in photographs. This could be seen as a subset of a subset. It is not complete as I am not a complete-ist. But it is good to see a collected group, together, on the wall and in print, to be able to read the greater picture rather than the singular. Then, one is able to see the ebb and flow of it. It is the justification for all that effort.

How did taking photographs for this project begin? What triggered it?

I use a big camera on a tripod. The larger format, to a degree, determines certain work practices — long exposures being one. I self-taught myself photography and the history of photography. I developed an attraction to nineteenth century images — the older the better in my book. The first photographers, because of the low sensitivity of their materials, made very long exposures, so many of the first photographic images are of statuary, immobile representations of the human likeness. I would like to think that in following on with the same, that I am not copying but participating in the ongoing history of the documentation of ‘memorials’, and participating in the unbroken practice of what I can only call, ‘the ritual of photography’.

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Laurence Aberhart, Maori War Memorial, Moutua Gardens, Whanganui, November 3, 2011, 2011, silver gelatin, gold and selenium toned (courtesy of the artist)

What was the process behind deciding which camera to use? 

I have used the same camera since 1974/5 and nothing but that camera since 1979.

Were there many difficulties in shooting with available light? If so, how did you overcome them?

Wind. Other than that, set camera up on tripod, determine and set the aperture, trip the shutter and let it go.

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Laurence Aberhart, Kendall, NSW, March 11, 2013, 2013, platinum (courtesy of the artist)

You travelled across Australia and New Zealand to capture these images — how did you know where to go, did you have a path in mind?

Much of the earlier work was serendipity. It was what I came across in my travels up and down New Zealand and, more lately, in Australia. As the centenary of WWI came closer  I realized that I had better focus more intently on the WWI soldier memorials, I had to plan circuits. Some  memorials I already knew of, and would have noted before, and some was research on various websites. As the work has been essentially self-funded, with some assistance from Creative NZ towards the end, it has been made under a degree of economic restraint. You could go on, not forever, but for a very long time, to finish this. And as I have said, I am not a complete-ist.

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Laurence Aberhart, Berriwillock, Victoria, May 2, 2005, 2005, platinum (courtesy of the artist)

What sort of messages are you hoping people take away from the exhibition?

I don’t think it is for myself to have any sort of message. I would hope that the work, as images, is open enough for it to trigger whatever the viewer wants to get from it.

This is a travelling exhibition and was launched in Dunedin. What do you think about it travelling the country? Do you want to see it shown in Australia as well?

I think that it is a good thing that it is travelling to both large and small museums and art galleries, as there is something in it for every province and some states, and much of subject material local people would not be aware of.  It was very important to me the honour the ‘A' of Anzac; not to make it solely of New Zealand images, so, yes it would be nice to see it go to Australia. A portion of it will be exhibited in Istanbul later this year [in an Australian exhibition].

Olympus announces new lenses, upgrades, and limited-edition models

We can only imagine how busy it's been at the Olympus headquarters recently as there has been, not just one, but three announcements about new gear and upgrades. First off the bat is the launch of their new lenses — the 8mm f/1.8 fisheye lens and the 7–14mm f/2.8 ultra-wide angle zoom lens.



The fisheye lens is called the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Pro and is ideal for photographers who are interested in shooting astronomy, underwater, or landscape shots, as well as for professional-imaging requirements. Olympus says that this lens is the world's brightest fisheye lens and plenty of focus was put into ensuring that comatic and chromatic aberrations at large apertures were kept to a minimum. The 17 lens elements, including Olympus's super high refractive  (Super HR) and super extra-low dispersion (Super ED) glass, arranged in 15 groups also reduce aberrations and allow for high clarity right out to the edges of the image. It's got a 2.5cm minimum focusing distance, it's dust-, freeze-, and splash-proof, and it's a lightweight lens weighing just 315g.


The second new Olympus lens coming to the photography market is the M.Zuiko Digital ED 7–14mm f/2.8 Pro zoom. The ultra-wide lens offers focal lengths that are often required by enthusiast and professional photographers — especially those working in the realms of news reporting, sport, landscape, nature, and architecture. It features such elements as dual super aspheric (DSA), extra-low dispersion aspheric (EDA), as well as three Super ED elements, which allow for high image clarity. Olympus says there is minimal distortion across all zoom settings, and it allows for handheld freedom when matched with an Olympus camera that features five-axis image stabilization, such as the E-M5 Mark II body. This lens has a 7.5cm minimum focus distance, features 14 elements in 11 groups, is also dust-, freeze-, and splash-proof, and weighs 534g.

Both the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Pro and the  M.Zuiko Digital ED 7–14mm f/2.8 Pro will be on sale from June 2015.

E-M5MarkII_GMT_Adventure Kit_strap

Having just spoken of the E-M5 Mark II, Olympus has announced the OM-D E-M5 Mark II Limited Edition camera. It pays homage to the classic OM-3Ti film camera as it is painted a titanium colour, and only 7000 kits, which include specially designed accessories, will be sold globally from June 2015. The camera is identical in terms of functionality to the regular production of the E-M5 Mark II. The complete set includes the camera itself, a specially crafted leather strap, and a leather card case, which will contain the owner's card stating which camera number they own, ranging from one to 7000.

Those with current E-M5 Mark II and OM-D E-M1 cameras will be able to benefit from firmware updates being launched by Olympus. These upgrades will enhance the functionalities for underwater and night-sky shooting. The underwater picture mode provides the user with better control over camera settings that are helpful for underwater photography; a unified picture mode replaces the separate wide and macro underwater picture modes and you can now adjust aperture and shutter speed in the P/A/S/M exposure settings. Those vivid colours and natural underwater blue hues will be vibrant using this dedicated picture mode. Improved visibility in extremely poorly lit environments through the viewfinder and LCD screen has also been included thanks to the LV Boost II (live view boost) setting. This will come in handy for night-sky and starscape shooting. This firmware upgrade has been timed to be launched alongside the lenses in June.

World premiere of NZ photographer and film-maker's feature film

Gentoo Chicks Speechless: The Polar Realm is a feature film created by New Zealand nature photographer and film-maker Richard Sidey, which was shot over a decade and explores the polar regions across the planet. It's a non-verbal film and it will have its world-premiere screening during this year's Documentary Edge Festival, which opens in Auckland on May 20 and Wellington on June 3. We talked to Sidey about the film and his passion for the earth's polar regions. 

D-Photo: What sparked your interest in the polar realms and saw you documenting its landscapes and wildlife over the past 10 years?

Richard Sidey: It began about twelve years ago while on holiday from Massey University, where I was finishing a Visual Communication Design course, when life presented one of those rare career-changing moments. I siezed an unexpected opportunity to work aboard an Antarctica-bound Russian icebreaker for three months as a wine steward. While knowing little about wine, I was passionate about nature, and my first glimpses of the white continent reached deep into my soul, and so began my affinity with the polar regions. A couple of years later I returned to Antarctica as an expedition photographer, a position now relatively common on many tourism vessels. The job generally involves guiding, driving zodiacs, photographing, running workshops and lecturing on nature photography. Before long, further opportunities arose, which introduced other remote regions of the globe, and and I spent much of the next ten years exploring, learning, and documenting the higher latitudes. Anyone who has travelled to these regions will understand when I say that it gets in your blood. They are majestic realms, full of intrigue, mystery, and great beauty.

What has it been like to travel and capture over that period time?

Like living a hundred lives, an enormous privilege, and seeing the best parts of the planet in the process. Tenzing Norgay once said, “To travel, to experience, and learn: that is to live” and I couldn’t agree more when applied to anyone with an adventurous spirit. It’s no walk in the park; a career at sea means long periods of travelling alone, close quarters, ship politics, no personal space, 20-hour days, no weekends, prolonged loneliness, and often monstrous seas, but the rewards are worth it. Having this film now completed from all these years of work, travel, and collecting footage is enormously satisfying.

Speechless - The Polar Realm-4 - Copy (Custom)

Were you working closely with Miriama Young to create the score?

Miriama Young and I had collaborated once previously on a music video in Iceland, several years ago. The experience was such an easy, organic process that I had no doubt working together on Speechless would be the same.

Initially I created the core structure of the film without music, something I find extremely challenging as music and its tone help greatly in pacing, scene selection, colour, and moods. I felt if the film's narrative could work visually, then the addition of music would take it even further. When the core structure was complete, the film was divided into themes, and sent over the internet to Miriama, based in Sydney. Miriama worked on her initial score, then sent it back to Wanaka where I’d make a few adjustments to fit the pacing and themes before sending it back for further adjustments, and so on. This process carried on over a year before we eventually sat down together in her Sydney studio to make the final adjustments. Miriama had commissioned two gifted musicians in Oregon: violinist Mirabai Peart and acoustic guitarist Ryan Francesconi, to perform her composition. The moment when I saw my decade of imagery put to this heartfelt music I was moved to tears, it was a special moment that I’ll never forget.

Can you describe the importance to you to make this a non-verbal film?

The orginal idea for Speechless spawned from the difficulty I had in sharing my experiences in these remote, unique regions with friends and family back home. So I decided to present raw video in a series of short three-minute films, roughly edited and stripped back of music or narration, to help aid a personal experience for the viewer. With the absence of a spoken narrative, no one is telling the viewer what to think, and the viewer is left to create their own personal journey. These short films were effective enough to conjur up the idea of The Polar Realm, a feature-length visual mediation of the polar regions. However in a production of this length, I felt the addition of music was an absolute necessity to accompany the visual narrative, and Miriama has truly done a wonderful job with her composition.

One Giant Leap

What messages are you hoping people take away from seeing this film?

Simply how wonderful our planet is, in the areas we haven’t wrecked, yet understanding the fragility of these regions. It’s equally part celebration of nature and environmental message. But like I mentioned, it’s the individual experience that drove this project, and I believe everyone will get something different out of it.

From the filming locations, were there any in particular that struck you as exceptionally beautiful or above and beyond the other places you had traveled?

Each wilderness has its own beauty and mystic, and all were a pleasure to photograph. The scenes that meant the most to me however, were the ones closest to home. It was while filming in the New Zealand subantarctic islands where I felt a real connection to the land. There is a scene with two yellow-eyed penguins meeting in an ancient Rata forest in the Auckland Islands to which I emotionally connect. It's a simple moment, but one of exceptional beauty. These islands are wild, rugged, inhospitable, surrounded by some of the largest seas I’ve experienced — but in this dense forest was true sanctuary, calm and quiet, with only the chatter of bellbirds rising above the faint impressions of a penguin's footsteps.

What does it mean to you to have your film played in film festivals?

It’s always a pleasure to have my work shown on the big screen and in front of a captive audience, with a great diversity of other work alongside. Film festivals are fun to be part of, as documentary film-making, and in particular nature photography, requires large amounts of alone time. In festivals, film-makers get a chance to unite together, and socialize while sharing our work and experiences, before we all go back to our next projects.

Richard Sidey - Director (Custom)

Film-maker Richard Sidey

Where else is it being screened? What are the future goals for Speechless?

So far Speechless has been accepted into a few film festivals outside, including the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York. But it’s early days still and I hope it will gain traction, allowing as many people as possible to experience it on the big screen around the world. It may also help in finding a distributor, but if not, with the speed of the internet now, opportunities are endless in connecting with a global audience. It would be nice to think that Speechless will open some doors to further projects and collaborations.

Of course, the primary goal of Speechless was always to share these wonderful, fragile wildernesses, to let each viewer have an individual experience while watching the film, and encourage greater love and respect for our planet. The more hearts that can be touched, the more successful the film.

Speechless: The Polar Realm is being screened in Auckland on Thursday, May 21, Saturday, May 23, and Monday, May 25. It will be screened in Wellington on Friday, June 5, Monday, June 8, and Saturday, June 13. To find out more and to book tickets to a screening, visit

Behind the scenes with Auckland Camera Centre

IMG_7461-2 (Custom) Nick from Auckland Camera Centre talks to D-Photo about the history of the business, and what it’s working on throughout 2015

D-Photo: Auckland Camera Centre is 100-per-cent independent, family owned and operated. Can you tell us about its history and the people involved?

Yes, there’s myself as manager, my brother Rod as assistant manager, with mum, dad and my sister-in-law all working here. For this reason we are very motivated to provide the best possible service to our customers, and develop meaningful long-term relationships with them. We are in it for the long haul, and are prepared to do anything possible to be the very best photographic store in New Zealand.

As many are aware, local photographic stores have similar competitive pricing. What makes Auckland Camera Centre stand out from the competition?

It is a very competitive market, and keeping up with our competitors’ pricing on a day-to-day basis is an almost full-time task. However, our main point of difference is definitely our service and the overall purchasing experience we provide. The management team and all our staff are passionate, active photographers with an objective to provide the best gear suited to our customers’ requirements. Our store has a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere away from the buzz of the CBD where customers can come in, relax, and have a professional consultation about what may suit them best — as an added bonus we generally provide the best price overall. These are attributes that have been instilled naturally into the business from our family foundation and values.

Over the last few years there have been many changes with regards to consumer trends in the photographic market, both locally and internationally. What are some of the trends that have affected Auckland Camera Centre, and how do you go about meeting these changes?

The photographic world is ever-changing: cameras and lenses are getting better and smaller, and for this reason people’s needs are altering. We are very up-to-date with industry trends, and cater for them as best as we can. A few things that we have done to handle these changes are expanding our range across accessories and video-related products which are not immediately available in New Zealand, and stocking a larger range of mirrorless cameras and lens adapters, which is definitely an area of growth. Listening to the interests of our customers helps us source new products — if they want it and we don’t have it, we will stock it.

With the success of the Auckland Camera Centre Photo Competition 2014, can we look forward to one this year also? Yes, very much so, our competition last year was a huge success, and we had hundreds of wonderful entries. We wanted to do something a little bit different from other store-hosted competitions that run year round, and are used to dump old stock as prize winnings. We used it as a great opportunity to have some of our professional NZIPP customers as judges, specializing in each field that they were judging. This also enabled judging to be done fairly. This September we will have an even larger competition with more fantastic prizes, so keep an eye out in D-Photo for information and announcements.


No length too great

photographer-treed-by-grizzlyJoel Satore, Treed by Grizzly

Kelly Lynch talks to two of  National Geographic’s celebrated nature photographers, Paul Nicklen and Joel Satore, about the lengths they go to for the shot, and what motivates them to take the risks

How far would you go, how long would you wait, to get the shot? For National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen there appears to be no limit. His powerful images captured in the polar regions are achieved by taking extreme physical risks, and waiting an exhausting amount of time for essential elements to coalesce. He is the current Veolia Environment World Wildlife Photographer of the Year and champion of the Nature category in this year’s World Press Photo competition.

During Nicklen’s first-ever speaking engagement in New Zealand recently, his wildlife images elicited ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from a large audience in Auckland. Through his photos he told of polar ice diminishing at such a drastic rate that if we don’t care for the region’s native creatures, they won’t survive.

It’s hard not to care. Nicklen’s super-wide-angle images are captured so close you feel you can touch icicles on a polar bear’s furry face, look directly into the large liquid eyes of an elephant seal pup, and taste the salt on the water’s surface. His shots unveil a personality behind the fur.


Paul Nicklen, Leopard Seal, Antarctica

The images leave you wondering how, in the wild, Nicklen gets so close to polar bears and sea leopards and lives to tell the tale. He is clear to point out he has never been attacked by a grizzly or polar bear. “Wildlife will dictate the space you can occupy with them,” he advises. “All wildlife has its limits, and it is a matter of finding out what those are. Only one grizzly bear in 500 has a bad attitude.”

The length of time it takes to gain an animal’s trust depends on the animal and their comfort zone as it changes, he says.

“A grizzly bear I once photographed let me be within two metres of it, but for another it would be 200 metres away and that was always its limit.” Remaining calm is key, he explains. “My goal is to be a fly on the wall, a ghost, so I can get the shot.”

Pre-visualization of the image is essential for Nicklen. He invests in getting the mood and edginess of the image right, something that’s inspired by living out on the ice.

“Research is so important, to make sure it’s a full moon and high tide; if necessary I’ll wait for a year for the conditions to be perfect. I don’t accept that it will just be good enough on the day.”

Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, Nicklen developed a love of open spaces when as a child his family moved to live with an Inuit community on Baffin Island, in the Canadian Arctic. In his book Polar Obsession he credits Inuit culture with teaching him ice survival skills, and writes about how falling through sea ice as a child has helped him acclimate to seawater temperatures of -1.5 degrees.


Joel Satore and friend

Despite crashing his light plane, falling into freezing water, being trapped under ice or suffering from frostbite over 20 times, Nicklen is steadfast in his goals. “I want to lure you into the story and to take care of the environment.”

A self-taught photographer, Nicklen was mentored for 18 months by whale photographer Flip Nicklin (with an ‘i’, no relation). Despite his images appearing in magazines around the world, it took 10 years for him to be accepted as a National Geographic photographer. In his years of trying he worked harder and became more specialized — he dives under ice to depths of 60 metres, camps on it at temperatures down to -40 degrees Celsius, and shoots just as well above water. Nicklen considers his photography specialty to be eco-systems — the whole gamut.

Thus far he’s had 16 stories published in National Geographic, some of which have required years of planning. For example, his project capturing narwhals also took 10 years of planning and two years of shooting. The almost impossible task has been Nicklen’s hardest, made dangerous because the best viewpoints of surfacing narwhals are from between drifting shafts of rotting ice. Nicklen had major dramas photographing them from splintering ice, and taking aerials from his light plane was fraught with mechanical issues. None of this, however, deterred him from capturing amazing wide-angle shots of narwhals jousting their twisted spikes out of the water.

In 2010 Nicklen set about photographing the spirit bear (or Kermode bear), a rare white bear living in mossy forest in British Columbia. Dropped into the isolated region, Nicklen camped alone in persistent rain for the entire six-week assignment, without one spirit bear sighting. On his last day he checked his remote camera trap to find one had filled a frame with its white fluffy snout.


Paul Nicklen in snow outfit

The following season, he again camped for one month without a spirit bear sighting, until finally one walked directly past him. In the end the bear let him closer, and the coverage eventually comprised Nicklen’s third coffee-table book, and a National Geographic spread, with the coverage also contributing to the halting of proposals for a dam development in the vulnerable area.

One of the first National Geographic photographers to embrace digital gear back in 2004, Nicklen — not sponsored by anyone — currently uses a Canon EOS-1D X, and his lens collection ranges from fisheye to telephoto. He says he loves Canon’s new 200–400mm f/4 with a built-in 1.4x extender because of its sharp results.

He also loves the high-quality ISO his camera offers, essential for shooting under ice where light is limited. He isn’t worried about shooting images at 100 ISO, he’d rather get shots using f/8 and f/11, and the camera’s higher ISOs will allow him to do this. He even used 6400 ISO in caves in Mexico with publishable results.

Another recent visitor to New Zealand who shares the ambition to raise awareness of our environment through his imagery is National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore. He entertained and engaged a large crowd in his only New Zealand talk in Auckland some weeks following Nicklen’s appearance. His strategy was to present quirky, humorous photographs of humans and animals to lighten his environmental message.

Sartore has completed 30 stories for National Geographic in the past 22 years, covering every continent. He’s a generalist photographer but concentrates on work with a wildlife conservation theme, bringing awareness to endangered species. Through this kind of work he believes it is possible to “save a species,” and that’s why he embraces the difficult career. “There are certainly easier ways to make a living, but this is very satisfying,” he says.


Paul Nicklen, Narwhals

From Nebraska, USA, Sartore modestly credits his Midwest work ethic for keeping him employed in one of the world’s most desired photography jobs. He hates to waste anything, especially time, and works hard for each shot. When he’s on assignment he works 18-hour days. “National Geographic can’t publish my excuses, I must get the shot.”

He says it’s his job to do things never seen before, that are difficult and will surprise the readership. He calculates a National Geographic assignment of eight weeks to capture a story on grizzly bears equals 56 days. “That is only 56 chances to get the story, and my shots have got to be better than any ever taken before or I won’t be hired again.”

Like Nicklen, Sartore goes to extremes for his result, living by the simple motto ‘if you don’t take the risk you don’t get the shot’. He’s been chased by wolves and bears, and attacked by a stingray. Once he even had a cave fall away from under him, and it was only grabbing hold of grass that saved him from falling to his death.

When shooting bats in a cave in Uganda, he removed his glasses and bat guano (excrement) fell into his left eye. He was medically evacuated and had to self-quarantine for three weeks, assessing his condition in case he contracted the Marburg virus, similar to Ebola. Thankfully he didn’t contract it, but he was less lucky in the Bolivian jungle when he caught leishmaniasis — caused by a flesh-eating parasite. The infection spread to his lymph system, a hole developed in his leg and, while the infection was controlled, the parasite is something he still lives with and which has to be monitored.

Just like Nicklen, Sartore will wait endlessly for his desired shot to eventuate. In the jungle he camped on a platform for four days with four others waiting for wild pigs. They each bathed their bodies in acrid swamp water to mask their scent, and dared not move in case of scaring pigs away. Bombarded with bugs, he was stung by wasps and bats urinated on his face. In his diary notes he recorded, “We poop and pee in a wooden box in front of each other. Can’t leave platform, might scare pigs.”

The magazine’s cover shot of red-and green macaw parrots in beautiful symmetry mid-flight took 10 dedicated days to capture. Standing next to his tripod on a high platform above the forest canopy, Sartore waited for the macaws to pass by from a nearby nesting cliff. His reward? The story’s coverage stopped plans for a hydroelectric dam which, if built, would have flooded and destroyed more than 2500 square kilometres of forest.

So far Sartore has published four books, and his work appears in many publications like Time and Life magazines. His images regularly receive commendations in the Veolia Environment World Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.


Joel Satore, Macaws, Madidi National Park, Bolivia

Also not sponsored, he shoots with Nikon D4s using numerous zoom lenses ranging from 14mm to 400mm, including macro lenses. He has a Nikon 600mm f/4 lens and names Nikon’s 28–300mm f/4-5.6 as his favourite, because of its versatility.

His latest work, done between assignments for the last eight years and with plans to continue as long as he is able, is Photo Ark — Sartore’s ambition is to photograph endangered species around the globe, from the smallest bug to large species like rhinoceros. So far 3000 species have been photographed.

The project takes him to zoos with breeding programmes, where he sets up a mini studio and photographs creatures on both a black and a white background, using even lighting from three to four portable lights.

“Individually as shots, they might not be much — but together they are a strong body of work. I hope this will be my legacy, to capture the plight of endangered species around the world.” Both Nicklen and Sartore are living proof that with enough passion, determination and ingenuity even the most impossible-seeming shots can be achieved. And if they can be used for positive ecological change then all that risk, time and effort will always be worthwhile.


Joel Satore, Grizzly Bear and Salmon

Want to assist the best?

Nicklen and Sartore have many people emailing them every day wanting to work as their assistant. Here are the attributes they’re looking for.

For Nicklen they need to be: • A good rock climber, tree climber, ice and cave diver • Rebreather-trained as an ice and cave diver • A good cook • Extremely nice and to the point

For Sartore they need to be: • Available to work for 18 hours a day for 14 days straight • Open to working as Sartore’s secretary while he is ‘in the blind’ • Able to pay their own airfares and expenses • Willing to eat poorly and infrequently for the assignment duration • Knowledgeable of the area in which they’re working • A positive person with a sense of humour

Olympus announces new outdoor and underwater camera

TG-4_BLK_LEFT-SIDEedit It's a field that's both enticing but worrying if you don't have the right equipment. Underwater photography allows you to capture the stunning life that exists in the ocean, or you may even endeavour to stage a shoot underwater featuring people.

It can be a bit daunting submerging your precious equipment, but with Olympus's new Stylus Tough TG-4, they assure us that this is a concern of the past. The Stylus Tough TG-4 is waterproof (to 15m), dust-proof, shockproof (2.1m), crush-proof (100kgf), as well as freeze-proof (-10°  Celsius).

It's got RAW file recording capability incorporated and you're able to capture the underwater world in a way that is closer to what you'd see with the naked eye thanks to the new UW HDR shooting mode that makes sure shadows, highlights, and contrasts are clearly captured when images are taken in normal light — these aspects are often lost. The F2.0 zoom lens enables you to capture clear images in natural light, even if it is night, and the new live-composite shooting mode is great for long exposures.

There are plenty of tiny creatures and objects within the water world and even the smallest subjects can be shot with clarity due to the inclusion of the variable macro system (VMS). You've got a lens ranfe of 25–100mm with F2.0–4.7 aperture, and optional waterproof 0.74x fisheye lens (18.5mm), and 1.7x telephoto lens (170mm) that can be attached via a bayonet mount.

If your photography expeditions see you out in the rugged outdoors, shooting on land or underwater, the Stylus Tough TG-4 is definitely a camera to look into. The camera will be available in May and has an RRP of $579.




Passing marks for our photo schools?

Capture10 Institutes around the country are churning out photography graduates, but are they being taught the right skills to survive an industry that may not have a place for them, asks PJ Heller

Become a professional photographer” shouts the headline from a newspaper ad for a local polytechnic. Ah, the life of a professional photographer — trotting around the world, shooting the rich and famous in fabulous locations, or documenting dramatic global events, all the while earning lots of money. At least that’s the way it is often portrayed in the media, but the reality is far from it, explains Aaron Key, executive director of the AIPA.

“Thousands of kids are going to see that and go, ‘Oh, wow, I’ll do that’, not understanding that for every one of those successful photographers, there are probably a thousand others who are barely managing to scrape together a living, even though they might be just as talented or have as much photographic ability.”

Yet nearly two dozen schools around the country continue to churn out graduates with degrees or diplomas in photography, laments Key. Only a handful of those graduates may actually work as professional photographers, with others moving into peripheral areas such as design, animation, retouching, teaching, or video. Some may decide to try their luck overseas, while others leave the industry altogether. Still, the age-old question persists of how many photo graduates the market can sustain.

Vicky Te Puni, who graduated from Auckland’s Unitec in 2012 with a bachelor of visual design majoring in photography, recalls on the first day of school that her instructor advised the class there were “absolutely no jobs in photography”.

“There are no jobs, but there’s a lot of work,” she says. “You have to create it yourself. You have to be smart about it.”

John Maillard, head of the photography programme at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT), agrees, saying there are very few salaried photography jobs available. “The first thing we tell our students is photography is a very difficult career, and you’re going to have to figure out how you’re going to make a living.”

Careers New Zealand rates the chances of getting a job as a photographer as ‘average’, citing stable demand and stable numbers in a competitive industry. In the 2013 New Zealand Census, 2130 people listed themselves as photographers.

Mike Langford of the NZIPP says the issue is compounded by the idea that “everyone’s got a camera, and therefore they think they’re a photographer”. Langford himself is director of the Queenstown Centre for Creative Photography workshops, which teaches many of those keen amateurs. “The days of just having a camera and being able to take a good photograph, and being a professional as a result of that, they’re gone. That doesn’t exist any more.”

Ann Shelton, associate professor of photography in the School of Art at Massey University, says the school is very aware of the realities, and does not try to attract students by convincing them that photography is “glamorous”.

“We let them know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, and to succeed you have to work really, really hard and commit yourself to a degree,” she explains.

Rachel Hoskin, head of the School of Photography, Arts and Design at UCOL, says the school cannot ‘create’ jobs for graduates, only arm them with the best chances possible of finding or creating work for themselves. “If they really have that motivation, that passionate drive, they will find their place in the industry and they will be successful.”

Ian Rotherham, programme coordinator for photography and senior lecturer at UCOL, says he has been hearing the question about whether the market is oversaturated with photographers for more than 30 years. “I’d ask the same question of lawyers and politicians. There are people studying economics and politics at universities all over the place, and it’s a pretty small pool to get a job within politics … I think putting a spotlight on just photography is pretty unfair.”

iStock_000004242081Medium (Medium)

However, photography schools have been in the spotlight lately, with UCOL expanding to launch the Commercial Institute of Photography Auckland, offering the two-year Diploma in Photographic Imaging. At the same time, Unitec has slashed its design and visual arts department by more than half, eliminating 50 jobs, which will be replaced with 17 new positions, many of them expected to be filled by outside design professionals. At Massey, its two-year Diploma in Photography has been put on hold, and its four-year Bachelor of Design with a major in photography has been revamped for the coming term.

Langford, Key, and Te Puni all agree that photography schools are more interested in their bottom lines than they are about what happens to their graduates. “They are profit-making businesses,” Langford says. “That’s what they’re there for.”

Some of the schools, however, supply accolades and statistics to make a case for their industry relevance and efficacy. UCOL points to the success of its graduates, as well as its staff and current students, in industry awards — most recently, photographers associated with the school grabbed 21 medals at the Australian Institute of Professional Photography’s annual print competition in Melbourne. Shelton reports 65 per cent of Massey’s 2011 design students obtained full-time employment within six months of graduation and, of those, about 80 per cent were in jobs directly related to their chosen areas.

“We’re teaching skills,” Shelton says. “We’re providing students with a set of really high-end skills that they can use when they graduate in lots of different ways. Some of them will use those skills to become commercial photographers, and many of them will use them in innovative and different ways.”

One complaint coming from both New Zealand’s professional photography organizations is that many students coming out of photo schools lack the necessary training in running a business.

“To actually make it as a photographer — as a wedding and portrait photographer or a commercial photographer — and do the jobs that a lot of those young people want to do, like the billboard campaigns, the magazine editorials, and other cool stuff, you’re going to be self-employed,” Key notes. “And to succeed as a self-employed person, it’s probably more important to have some business knowledge. You know how to negotiate. You have to know about copyright and all of the business side of things. That’s more important to succeed than actually knowing f-stops and shutter speeds.”

He says many schools simply teach insubstantial, tacked-on classes in business, because such classes are a hard sell to students more interested in creative endeavours. “It’s the age-old thing: they want to turn out art. To actually succeed in that you have to realize you have to devote a lot of time to the business side of it.”

This was very much the case when Te Puni was studying. She says Unitec was “totally lacking” in providing students with the business skills to be self-employed, such as the cost of running a business, how to prepare taxes and understanding GST. “They don’t actually prepare you for that even though that’s the reality.”

UCOL, Massey, and CPIT all say they require photography students to take business courses. “It’s quite a holistic programme” that includes web and page layout design, invoicing, and building a business, says photography instructor Deborah Marshall of CPIT’s business focus.

Similarly, Rotherham describes UCOL’s business component as “very nuts and bolts”, addressing areas like copyright and pricing. Students at Massey can do a minor in a business subject, such as entrepreneurship and small business, or marketing.

The photography school representatives all stress that students receive a well-rounded education to prepare them for the future in a rapidly changing industry. CPIT’s Maillard says professional photographers need to be multi-skilled and have to move beyond thinking of themselves as just photographers, and UCOL’s Hoskin agrees.

“We designed our programme the way we did so that students have multiple skills when they leave,” Hoskin says. “That’s the beauty of our degree. We’re not flooding the industry with people who only have one skill set.”

Massey’s Shelton also echoes the need to produce graduates who are adaptable and flexible, with a breadth of knowledge that can be applied in different ways. “We can’t predict what sort of careers will be out there for our graduates in 10 years … So we want to send a young person out there with a broader range of career options, because we can’t anticipate that change.” Even so, Langford is unconvinced that all schools share those same attitudes. “There are a lot of institutes out there teaching photography. Some of them are pretty woeful, and the students, when they come out, really have no idea of how to use a camera to communicate.”

Institutes with real, substantial connections with the photographic industry are the most likely to produce graduates who are aware of and equipped to deal with the realities of the trade. They’re also fairly easy to identify, as they will wear this connectedness on their sleeves, welcoming industry members to observe their courses as readily as they’ll send students out to observe the professionals.

Discounted rate for Paul Petch's one-on-one tuition

photogrpahy-tuition-with-Paul-Petch If you're after some one-on-one tuition from an Auckland-based commercial photographer with more than a decade of experience, then Paul Petch of Paul Petch & Co is the tutor to approach.

His tuition is tailored to your specific needs, from beginners to advanced photographers, and he'll make the time to meet and chat about what you're wanting to learn from his tuition prior to booking your session. From what you outline to Paul as your requirements, he'll make sure that everything is to a level and pace that is specific to what you need. 

Working alongside Paul you'll become privy to easy-to-remember skills that have taken years for him to develop and trust as a professional photographer. At the moment you can learn about any photography topic at a discounted rate. Instead of paying $150 per hour, you'll only have to pay $99 per hour for a minimum of two hours. To make the most of Paul's knowledge and experience, and this special discounted price, email Paul at to enquire now.

To see more of Paul's work, learn more about his background, or to book for tuition, click here.

Action category joins the 2015 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year line-up

Action The 2015 edition of the Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year line-up is well under way with plenty of beautiful shots being sent in for each category.

We are excited to announce that yet another category has been added to the incredible line-up — the Action category, proudly sponsored by GoPro.

If this has inspired you to get out your camera and start shooting, submit those shots over at the competition's entry form here.

Have a look at the galleries of images already submited by clicking on the category images down the side  of the page here.

Last call for Kingsize Studios Scholarship


Image: Aaron Burgess — 2014 Scholarship participant

Tomorrow (March 24) is your last day to apply to be one of the 12 selected photographers to take part in the 2015 Kingsize Studios Scholarship Class.

The twelve-week programme starts up in April and aims to provide emerging photographers a place to learn and build on their technical expertise, visual language, as well as their business knowledge to enable them to self-manage their practice.

Held on one evening per week at Kingsize Studios in Grey Lynn, Auckland, the programme participants will be able to take part in discussions and group critique, which will be accompanied by guest speakers and industry experts.

Free access to studio space and equipment will also be made available so that students will be able to complete their assignments and build their portfolios.

The programme is open to applicants of any age and background, but they should be at the stage where their career is developing, including graduates, emerging photographers, or people looking to expand on their skill set and refine their photographic direction.

To find out how to apply, head to — but be quick because you've only got until 10am tomorrow (March 24, 2015).

12 days to fix Waitemata coastline plants for good

Fixed for Good series 01  

You may not be able to tell by just strolling past them on your way to a Sunday brunch, but plenty of thought and consideration has been invested in selecting the plants that beautify the area of such places as Auckland's Wynyard Quarter.

Native and local plants have been chosen to be planted in this area for their restorative features, as they are able to act as a filtration system for storm water. Preventing the plants from being contaminated by the effects of the  heavy industry area that Wynyard Quarter has been known for, was also taken into consideration — concrete trenches had to be built to shield the plants' root systems.

Dieneke Jansen and Jenny Gillam are on the quest to illustrate the scientific preservation efforts and communicate the present ecological moment that we are in with their photographic series, titled Fixed for Good, featuring plants native to the Waitemata coastline, and listed in Auckland Council's various planting guides.


Fixed for Good series 02

The saplings will be frozen and shot as though they're in the clear, even light of a laboratory, bringing to mind the preservation efforts such as plant cryonics and seed banks. However, despite these preservation efforts, the plants that are frozen are unable to draw upon the water frozen around them and will eventually die.

The photographic series that they capture will be reproduced and displayed in a lane that runs behind Sanford Seafood's ice-making facility in Wynyard Quarter, and will present for viewers the opportunity to think about the ecological moment we're currently in — remembering what has been lost, while thinking of the future and the struggle to stop further environmental damage.

Jansen and Gillam are currently seeking donations to ensure this project can come to fruition through their Boosted profile, and they've only got 12 days left until donations cease to be accepted.

“We'd love it if the project can reach its funding target so that it can go ahead,” Jenny says.

All donations will go towards the printing and display costs, and those who donate will be offered a copy of their co-edited book, An Urban Quest for Chlorophyll.

Ever Green install 01


The duo have previously created a project that holds common themes, which was displayed in Wellington for the City Council's Courtney Place light boxes back in 2012, called Ever Green.

“We photographed eight native shrubs through glass from two sides, giving the appearance that the plants may be contained in the light boxes. With Fixed for Good we are continuing to explore the planting structures of inner city environments and the control of these plants due to space limitations and maintenance requirements, the preservation of the environment, as well as how photographs operate in an urban context,” says Jenny.


To support the Fixed for Good cause, head over to the Boosted website to read more and make a donation.

The cancellation of Auckland Photo Day 2015

Dave_Barker_DBarkerTime for a fagTime for a Fag. Dave Barker — first prize

It was first initiated back in 2004, and has been running ever since, but this year Auckland Festival of Photography's Auckland Photo Day is not going ahead.

Nikon has been the naming rights sponsor since 2011, but due to a new business plan currently being worked on by Lacklands, Nikon's newly appointed agents, the competition has lost its sponsor.  

Katie_Quinney_rugby people 2Rugby People. Katie Quinney — second prize

The Auckland Photo Day is known as the public competition that is held over 24 hours only where photographers are asked to capture an image which reflects Auckland in their mind.

It's previously been about allowing everyone to capture and communicate their perspectives of the Auckland region and celebrate many of the different cultures and identity present.

Chris_van_Ryn_Auckland Photo Day 1Lazyboy Time. Chris van Ryn — third prize

Lacklands said, “While Nikon will not be a key sponsor this year, we wish the festival all the best for 2015 and look forward to future festivals. Nikon has enjoyed a strong association with the Auckland Festival of Photography, which showcases photography to a wider audience and inspires Aucklander's to document and commentate visually on their city ... It is an outstanding event.”

The organizers of the Auckland Festival of Photography are optimistic that the competition will make a return in 2016.

Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition is now open

sigma apoty We're pleased to announce the Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition is now open for entries.

This competition is New Zealand's premier amateur photography competition, and is the largest of its kind in the country to provide amateur photographers the chance to showcase their talent and compete for amazing prizes.

This year's categories include Monochrome, Nature, Creative, Junior (for 16–24-year-olds), Landscape, Travel, and People. 

With each year the competition gains more and more interaction — last year alone there were 5000-plus incredible entries into the competition. There has also been great support from the category sponsors including Sigma, White Studios (Creative), UCOL (Junior), ProGear (Landscape), Ilford (Monochrome), Vanguard (Nature), Profoto (People), and Momento (Travel).

The outstanding prize pool will be announced soon, so keep an eye on and D-Photo Issue No. 66 for more details.

All you need to do to submit your image/s is visit and fill out the form and upload your image. All entries will be shown in the category galleries, which you can explore from the competition entry page. Full terms and conditions can be found here.


Phocus Photography Workshops now open to the public

Phocus Photography Workshops Previously only accessible to students of The Photography Institute, Phocus Photography Workshops' hands-on DSLR training courses are now open to the general public.

The workshops are held year-round in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington, and are conducted by award-winning photographer and experienced tutor, Justin Aitken, the well-received workshops are designed to help learners grow as artists while inspiring them to get the best out of their camera of choice.

Available at both Beginner and Intermediate levels, the structured courses and practical exercises are designed to help build a solid foundation for a burgeoning photography career, while also helping to fill any educational gaps that enthusiasts and hobbyists might have, including mastering manual shooting.

To find out more about the workshops, visit

Brand-new category for Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year 2015

With every year that passes the D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition grows exponentially. The 2014 edition received an incredible 5783 entries across the seven categories. This year, for the 2015 edition of the Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, we're excited to announce a brand-new category — the Junior category, proudly sponsored by the Universal College of Learning (UCOL). This section will be open to 16–24-year-olds to submit their works of art.

The competition opens on Monday, March 16 at, with full details available in the upcoming issue of D-Photo Issue No. 65.

takeover_juniorImage: Ryan Meta, courtesy of UCOL

Win an Epiphanie Hudson Cognac bag

Introducing the new Epiphanie range of leather camera bags to their inventory, Camera Style is celebrating by giving away one Hudson Cognac bag, worth $420. It's universal, so perfect for both men and women and you can transform it into a satchel, or a cross-body backpack. 10675577_10152925462004590_744536816363022656_n

To be in to win, just fill in the form below and tell us what you would store in the bag.

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Paying it forward with The Luka Light Project

luka3 It's something no parent wants to go through, but for photographer Sandra Henderson being told her daughter, Luka, had a brain tumour saw the nightmare become a reality. Thankfully, Luka's tumour was not cancerous and was completely removed with the little girl now in the recovery stages; but it's triggered something within Sandra that has seen her want to help out families who are going through a similar experience.

“The whirlwind and nightmare of having a sick child, especially out of the blue ... was a real wake-up call into the world of children suffering illnesses. Starship was amazing and I felt that I just wanted to give something back out there — sort of pay it forward, ” Sandra says.

The Luka Light Project is Sandra's plan to help families going through tough times with their children, whether they're going through injuries or illness. It involves taking a family portrait and providing them with something that will keep the memory of happy times alive. The family will receive a free family portrait and a free large, framed enlargement.

“I am hoping to do one a year — but there are so many stories out there,” says Sandra.

The project is not about getting publicity for her work; Sandra says many families are quite private and if they want to keep their portraits that way, she's happy to do that.

To nominate yourself or someone you know to receive a free portrait to treasure, visit this post on Sandra's Facebook page. Just leave a comment or private message her. Sandra says a little background about the nominee is appreciated as well, which can be sent to


The Creamy Psychology takeover

Yvonne Todd, Molvah Prayful One, 2007, light jet print 500x409, from series Christians
Told by an art teacher at high school not to pursue photography, Yvonne Todd ignored the advice, once high school was over and she'd done her time at a “dreary admin job”. With a world of possibility opening up to her, Todd experimented and learned the ins and outs of photography.

“It was an exciting time. I felt like I was unlocking the secrets of the universe — secrets I had previously been excluded from knowing,” she says.

Now, Todd has taken over both floors of the City Gallery in Wellington with her exhibition Creamy Psychology, which features around 150 of her photographs. She's the first artist to take over the entire venue with her work.

“To be the first artist with a solo exhibition that fills the entirety of City Gallery is a significant undertaking ... I haven't had a solo show on this scale before, so it's a momentous event in my career,” Todd explains.

Subjects of Todd's images include cripples, anorexics, cult members, showgirls, and tragic heiresses. Typically highly styled with the use of wigs, make up, false teeth, and costumes, the portraits have been described by Todd herself as being decidedly uncomfortable while others are comical or tragic.

As you flow from room to room you're confronted with images that delve deep into the realms of Todd's interpretation of, and the feelings she discovers about, commercial photography and fashion. It's less about making the viewers identify and feel comfortable with the images and more about confronting them with tragic scenarios. Todd herself has suggested that people may come away feeling uneasy from the exhibition.

The exhibition, curated by Robert Leonard, will showcase many photographs that Todd has captured since the 1990s, incorporating her love for glamour and collecting fashion pieces with a display of some of the vintage designer gowns that Todd has collected over the years, including gowns owned by the likes of Whitney Houston.

Creamy Psychology runs until March 1, 2015 at City Gallery in Wellington and you can read more about Todd and the exhibition itself in D-Photo Issue No. 64, on sale now.