Photographers in the running for top art award

SetWidth305-Jae-Hoon-Lee-The-Dry-Valley-2012One of the country's foremost contemporary art awards this year features a small but strong roster of photographers on its recently-unveiled finalists list. The Annual Wallace Art Awards is the largest and longest-running awards programme in the country aimed at supporting, promoting and exposing New Zealand contemporary art and artists, and several top photographic artists are in the running for this year's prizes.

Photographers among the 90 artists named as 2014's finalists include:

Harvey Benge

Becky Nunes

Ross Brown

Stephanie O'Connor

Greta Anderson

Carolin Casey

Jennifer Mason

Ping Xu

At stake in the awards programme is over $195,000 worth of international residency opportunities and cash prizes. The winner of the top award, the Wallace Arts Trust Paramount Award, embarks on a six-month residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York.

Last year's Paramount Award was won by a photographer; Jae Hoon Lee took the top distinction with his digital image, The Dry Valley, pictured here.

For more information about the awards, visit the website.

Shooters at the Writer's Fest

Benge_HarveyThe Auckland Writer's Festival might not be the most obvious place to go for photographic advice, but a couple of events in this year's programme, in May, will be of keen interest to photographers. First up, local art photographer Harvey Benge will host a workshop entitled Stories with Pictures, in which he'll be sharing his considerable wisdom on how to tell a photo from bad, in our imagery-saturated world. Here's how the Festival puts it:

With more than 380 billion photographs taken each year, each telling a story, almost everybody these day considers themselves a photographer. But while seemingly easy, taking a great photograph is anything but. Art-based photographer Harvey Benge published his first photobook in 1993; twenty years on with more than 40 publications to his credit, Benge can spot a great picture from a dog. In this workshop he explains the distinction.

The event takes place from 2pm to 3.30pm on Friday, May 16 at the Goodman Fielder Room at the Aotea Centre – you can pick up tickets here.

Secondly, New Zealand bird photographer Brent Stephenson takes part in a weekend gallery session called The Great Avian Chase, in which he will tell tales of his extensive birding experiences throughout the country:

Brent Stephenson, birder extraordinaire and photographer for the wonderful Birds of New Zealand: A Photographic Guide takes Festival goers on a journey of love, loss, close calls and rediscoveries in our avian kingdom. From the huia and the takahe, to the magenta petrel (Chatham Island taiko), Stephenson charts the highs and lows of our local skies.

His talk takes place from 10.15am to 11.15am on Sunday, May 18 at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki – you can book tickets here.

Images: Top – Harvey Benge, bottom – Brent Stephenson