Meet the Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year judges

With time almost up for entering New Zealand's biggest amateur photography competition, D-Photo would like to introduce the judges who have the exciting task of assessing your images. Emma BassThis year's Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition will be judged by leading professional photographers Emma Bass, Mike Hollman and Harry Janssen.

Emma Bass is a highly regarded commercial and fine art photographer who has shot for many of New Zealand's leading magazines as well as exhibiting her own personal projects through the country. She has shot editorial for the likes of Life & Leisure, Good, Taste, NZ House & Garden, Next, and Fashion Quarterly. She has also created portraits of some of the country's biggest celebrities, including Denise L’estrange Corbet, Lucy Lawless, Jonah Lomu, Keisha Castle-Hughs and Peter Jackson.

You can hear Emma speaking about her photography practice at this year's Image Nation conference, or, if you can't make that event, check out her interview with D-Photo's Point-Shoot blog about her exhibition, Imperfect.

Mike HollmanMike Hollman is an award-winning professional photographer specialising in travel, architectural, fine art and landscape photography. His career has taken him around the world, shooting for local and international clients, producing four photo books and a series of annual photography calendars, and publishing work in books and magazines.

Mike currently holds the title of Professional Travel Photographer of the Year with the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers (NZIPP) and was recently inducted as a New Zealand Nikon Ambassador.

Harry Janssen is professional photographer renowned for his proficiency across a wide array of photographic disciplines. He runs Auckland's Red Zebra studio and offers a diverse range of services including studio Harry Janssenportraits, commercial location work, retouching, graphic design and photographic education. In 2011 he was named NZIPP Auckland Photographer of the Year and was a finalist in the most recent contest for New Zealand Photographer of the Year.

Harry is currently exhibiting a beautiful collection of his landscape works as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography, click here for more details.

This prestigious group will assemble next week at UCOL's new Institute of Commercial Photography in Newmarket to decide the champions of this year's Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year awards. The winners will be announced in a special edition of  D-Photo, on sale July 14.

You have until 5pm, Friday, June 13 to submit your entries and be in to win a share of over $14,500 worth of prizes up for grabs, see here for details.

Meet the Image Nation speakers, part one

One of the must-attend events of New Zealand photography is coming up next month, and this year's programme looks as dazzling as ever. Image Nation is a two-day conference of back-to-back presentations by some of the biggest names in commercial photography, both local and international. This year it is taking place on Friday, June 13 and Saturday June 14 at central Auckland's Q Theatre. The organiser, the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association, has done a wonderful job in keeping the price of admission down to make the event accessible: check out the tickets here.

To make sure you're all clued up for this weekend of information overload, D-Photo introduces you to the prestigious speakers taking to the stage at this year's Image Nation conference:

Simon Harsent

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Originally from England, photographer Simon Harsent emigrated to Australia and has spent over two decades developing his career to become one of the country’s most highly regarded commercial shooters. Working from bases in both Sydney and New York, he now counts BMW, Emirates, Sony, Singapore Airlines, Subaru, Canon, Mastercard, Levi’s, and Range Rover, Hyatt Hotels among his covetable list of clients.

His commercial work has brought him a slew of both national and international awards, including Cannes Lions, One Show, Clio, D&AD, London International, and Australia’s first Cannes Grand Prix. In 2011 he co-founded the New South Whales-based POOL photography collective.

As well as being one of the world's most awarded commercial photographers, he has also cultivated a respected career in the fine art world. In 2009 he published his first monograph, Melt: Portrait of an Iceberg, which was exhibited in galleries and museums around the globe. He also has work in the permanent collections of the Queensland Art Gallery and The Powerhouse Museum.

Below you can watch a video of Harsent discussing his Melt project in the Canon Seconds video series.


Mark Watson

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Regarded as one of Australia's leading adventure sport photographers, Mark Watson is undoubtedly a man with a few thrilling tales to tell. Motocross, heliskiing, free climbing, mountain biking, cliff diving, paragliding – if it's the sort of thing that has the potential to scare someone half to death, you can bet he's shot it.

Watson is a photographer who has turned his love of adventure into a thriving career, shooting for a wide variety of clients, from the usual suspects in the commercial, sports and auto industries to government agencies, editorial magazines and websites, and advertising campaigns.

He has also attracted sponsorship from a variety of big brands, including being a Nikon Australia Ambassador and Red Bull Australia's key photographer. In the following video Watson discusses a motion and stills shoot he devised with a hang glider sailing through amazing clouds.


Liz Ham

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With a distinctive style comprising equal parts humours irreverence, storytelling aptitude, and a nostalgically charged visuals, Liz Ham has become one of Australia's leading fashion photographers in a career just shy of two decades.

Ham's work has been featured in the pages of Vogue Australia, Blackbook, Dazed and Confused, Nylon, InStyle, Madison, Russh, Oyster, GQ, Vogue Nippon and Manuscript. Her distinctive style has also been brought to bear on such celebrities as Emma Booth, Miranda Otto, Xavier Samuels, Jessica Mauboy, Sia and Jennifer Hawkins.

As well cultivating an inspiring fashion career, Ham also creates editorial and advertising work for the likes of Australian Ballet, Herringbone, Ksubi, Wrangler, Peter Alexander, and Telstra, and her creative personal work has been featured in the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Monthly journal.


Emma Bass

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Auckland photographer Emma Bass is well positioned to discuss both commercial and fine art photographic areas, with a prominent two-decade career to draw upon.

On the commercial side she shoots for a range of the country's leading magazines, including Life & Leisure, Good, Taste, NZ House & Garden, Next, Fashion Quarterly, and many more. Specialising in both environments and portraiture, she has employed her bold and vibrant style to create images of some of New Zealand's biggest celebrities, including Denise L'estrange Corbet, Lucy Lawless, Jonah Lomu, Keisha Castle-Hughs and Peter Jackson.

Her most recent fine art achievements include a second edition of her Imperfect series, comprising elegant still life images of flower arrangements in various states of decay. Some of these works can currently be seen at Auckland's Black Asterisk gallery.


Christina Force

Once the founder of both New Zealand's first photographer's agency and dedicated stills production company, Christina Force is a wealth of knowledge and experience perfectly tailored to New Zealand photography.

As well as being a key player in shaping the way local ad agencies deal with photographers, particularly in terms of production values and copyright issues, Force has also been instrumental in launching many local commercial photographers onto the international stage.

Since 2011 she has rededicated herself as a marketing and folio consultant for photographers, helping her clients craft folios to appeal to the specific markets they wish to launch into, including Asia and North America. Any photographer that has been on the receiving end of Force's tuteladge will tell you the opportunity is not one to pass up.


Early bird tickets for Image Nation almost gone

IN14The ridiculously generous early bird tickets for a weekend of inspiration talks by top-level commercial photographers, both local and international, have almost sold out. You can currently grab a ticket to the Image Nation conference, hosted by the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association (AIPA), for as low as $69, but as of this morning there are only 20 such tickets left.

AIPA, NZIPP and students are eligible for the early bird price of $69, everyone else pick them up for the still very affordable price of $119 – get in quick before they're gone.

The event takes place on Friday, June 13 and Saturday, June 14 – confirmed speakers include international advertising photographer Simon Harsent, local photographers Emma Bass; Dean Zillwood; and Joseph Michael, published Geoff Blackwell, and five more to be confirmed.

The event will this year be held at Auckland's Q Theatre, and you can purchase tickets directly from its website.

Image Nation is always one of the most exciting and creatively energising events of the year and the AIPA has done a commendable job of keeping the prices accessible – if you're a working photographer, assistant, student, or anyone who takes their creativity seriously, you really should be there.