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.

Cruising into photography

Dan Molloy Supper Club

Paul Gummer talks to commercial photographer Dan Molloy about the fallacy of photography being easy work

There’s a perception outside our industry that photography is easy. This way of thinking often extends to the notion that it’s pretty straightforward to become a photographer.

I doubt there is any job in life that is ‘easy’ if a person has a desire to become highly proficient at it and carve out an interesting career. In fact, I am convinced that the more you put into something, the more you get out, and that this holds true for most people. Each of the photographers I have talked to about getting into the industry has found the road hard going. It is the reward of doing something we are passionate about that keeps us at it.

I find it fascinating to analyse why successful people are just that. It all begins and ends in our thought worlds, and one of the keys to success is persistence at pursuing your goal despite the obstacles. 

Some journeys can appear amusing. My former colleague Joe Sing began life as a greengrocer. His dream was to become a photographer, and eventually he bought the shop next door and turned it into a photographic studio. One minute he would be selling a kilo of spuds, and the next he would be running around the back of the shops, taking off his brown coat, straightening his tie, and popping up in the studio to sell a portrait. He told some hilarious stories about his adventures, but they were all cemented together by the fact that he worked incredibly hard to become successful.

Dan Molloy Get It cover

One of our graduates from the Universal College of Learning (UCOL) back in 2003, Dan Molloy, left for a photography job on a cruise ship in the Caribbean for eight months. On paper, this sounds like it would have been an easy dream job. Not so. Molloy says he loved the travel but not the job. It was demanding, mundane, repetitive work. The pay was low and the hours long, and the photographers were treated poorly. Despite this, he says it was a fantastic experience after being brought up on a New Zealand farm. He learned the skills of efficiency, time management, and customer service — all of which he says are vital to running a successful business now.

Molloy left the cruise ship at the same time as an Australian friend, and they decided to travel together for a while before heading to Brisbane. Molloy liked it there and found part-time work to keep him ticking until returning to New Zealand. He tried getting a job in photography, but it was difficult to become established. He contacted a lot of photographers in desperation to get work, but to no avail. He became disheartened and wondered how he would ever run his own business. Then an acquaintance offered him some occasional photographic work, shooting events and bands for posters, etc.

With time on his hands, he became fit, healthy, and “good looking” (he laughs), resulting in a model agency signing him up. The agency eventually asked him to photograph its models, and after a year or so, this sideline business took off. Molloy made numerous contacts through the agency and began to shoot for many of its clients. The freelancing included advertising campaigns, fashion lookbooks, and catalogues. A move to Australia’s Gold Coast, and setting up a studio at home, resulted in even more work flying in. Using social media to advertise, Molloy found both Facebook and Instagram to be superb for generating business. Initially this was from models wanting a portfolio, but it then spread to smaller companies needing photography. The bigger companies, he says, tend to operate through agencies.

Dan Molloy Kate Anderson

One of Molloy’s main clients is the Gold Coast glossy lifestyle magazine Get It, for which he has shot many covers and fashion editorials. Modelling, acting, and talent agencies are also in the line-up, along with fashion designers. His ideal jobs are shooting new ranges for fashion designers — as they allow for a more creative approach — such as the shoot for Kate Anderson’s winter collection.

Difficult jobs for Molloy are those for which there is no clear brief. So much so, that he now insists on a brief when a client books a shoot. His prime advice for new photographers is to “never sell yourself short”. This comes back to the idea that photography is easy and enjoyable, and so, if it is, to the question of why it is worth paying for. One of the biggest problems in our industry is people doing jobs for nothing. The irony is that those who do this cannot possibly last in business. The flip side is confidence in both your work and your fees. Joe Sing used to say, “charge what you’re worth but be worth what you charge”. At UCOL, we are frequently searching for ways to make graduates’ portfolios stand out, and how they can add value for clients. Sometimes this means breaking new ground. Molloy took risks and created opportunities — two traits very often shared by successful people.

Young blood

00001Oliver Rose

Kelly Lynch talks with three young photographers who made waves last year within the challenging fashion and commercial environment

Coming up roses

Personable young photographer Oliver Rose has based himself near central Auckland’s trendy hub, Ponsonby Central — the ideal spot to meet clients and discuss image ideas over a strong cup of coffee. Working in close proximity to your requisite caffeine fix is just one of the invaluable tricks the 23-year-old has picked up while working predominantly as a fashion and portrait photographer for the past two years.

In that short time Rose has built up an impressive list of clients, and enough of a reputation that he’s now eyeing up the international market. Rose says he has managed to stay ahead in the highly competitive market because he is eager, passionate and driven, which people notice and like. “Agencies are always looking for something fresh, the new kid on the block,” he explains. 

But it is bigger than that, Rose spends time understanding what he calls his client’s vocabulary, getting to know their brand. He researches trends applicable to them, what medium their message will work well in, and he shoots stills and/or video to match.

6 Oliver Rose

A diverse interest in visual arts has helped Rose establish his distinct visual style. His passion for oil painting was kindled in school, where he produced artworks drawing influences from cinema, particularly early German expressionist films from the 1920s to ’30s. His photographs unsurprisingly now echo this cinematic feel, too. 

His time at Auckland’s Elam art school was focused on film-making, with stints assisting on music videos and an independent film to bolster his practical experience. After he finished school at 19, an opportunity to shoot during New Zealand Fashion Week opened doors for him, igniting a career in fashion photography.

He says he spent three years killing himself doing jobs. He lived on two-minute noodles, and would spend nights learning, upskilling in areas like post-production, studio shoots and business acumen to further his prospects. Now, despite now having a healthy number of key clients who keep him fed on more substantial fare than packet noodles, he still regularly spends evenings in the studio, further developing his know-how by trialling lighting and different shoots. 

The effort has resulted in a style Rose can claim as his own, and one he is very protective of. Instead of working a shoot he feels wrong for, he says he would rather turn down a job to ensure the client hires the right person.

It’s a work ethic that ensures business has been very good, so much so that next year he is expanding to Sydney while still maintaining his Auckland business, returning regularly for shoots. There is no hesitation in his voice when he shares his future ambition to make imagery in the fashion worlds of New York and Europe. 

Elena Stejko Sacha Stejko

Turning heads

Finding a niche is always solid business advice, and Sacha Stejko has done just that — in the last three years the young photographer has taken close to 450 head shots. Over the past two years, since she turned 21, Stejko has become the go-to photographer for actors’ head shots, a reputation gained from working with the country’s chief acting agencies and a healthy dose of word of mouth.

Stejko’s photographic beginnings include a scholarship to Auckland’s Whitecliffe College, and winning a Sony-sponsored competition at the age of 18. Her prize was the opportunity to shoot during New Zealand Fashion Week, which opened her eyes to a career path that she then knew she was bound for.

Six months later Stejko took a trip to Switzerland, with the opportunity to photograph Russian actor and clown Slava Polunin’s world-famous production, Slava’s Snowshow. The resultant images were published in the show’s promotional material and book.

IMG_3862 Sacha Stejko

Back in New Zealand she did a few assisting gigs for fashion photographers Sam Crawford, Garth Badger and the late Craig Owen, learning vital tricks of the trade. Before long opportunities to photograph for agencies and theatre companies arose, and Stejko branched out on her own, establishing her distinctive niche.

Having grown up with a mother who was an actress, director and acting tutor, Stejko is no stranger to the business. She has witnessed hundreds of casting photos pass by the casting director’s gaze, and recognizes the looks that cause the page-flicking to halt, from which leading roles are won.

joel Sacha Stejko

Her familiarity with actors and their world allows her to easily relate and offer insight. “A lot of actors are pigeonholed into one look,” she says. “I photograph the presence of the actor, take a range of shots, if the person is a bit cheeky then I want to show that and give them an edited selection.”

Stejko takes shoots in a naturally-lit space in her home, creating a relaxed environment for clients to unwind and trust her. Because she wants to capture authentic imagery, she must be genuine and able to connect with those in the industry. She sees her work as a huge responsibility, directly related to her clients being able to generate income, but it’s also a source of pride as she watches clients gain roles time and again.

IMG_3368 Sacha Stejko

While head shots make up the bulk of her work, Stejko also shoots PR shots for theatre companies and, like many, is increasingly asked by clients to supply video. Ultimately she sees herself doing more fashion photography, and she’d also like to direct and produce films in the future, but for now she is in her element.

Fashionably early

Karen Ishiguro is a 20-year-old fashion and beauty photographer who has attracted a lot of attention in a very short space of time. She has quickly earned her stripes on the photographic assistant track, and is now blazing a trail of her own, already catching the eye of one of the country’s top fashion designers.

Karen Ishiguro Photographers Mail Karen Ishiguro

Ishiguro’s work was published in the Platform feature in Remix magazine late last year, a space where up-and-coming photographers collaborate with Kingsize Studios to produce a spread. This issue was seized upon by Trelise Cooper, and Ishiguro’s images are now front focus of the Trelise Cooper website, and her 2013–2014 collections.

Without any formal photography training, Ishiguro launched into practical assisting work right after high school. She assisted the late fashion photographer, Craig Owen, on a two-week Farmers Trading Company shoot, and was impressed with his know-how, professionalism, and the high esteem in which he was held. In awe of Owen’s work and the shoot, the experience left her hungry for more. 

She emailed other fashion photographers whose work she admired, and feels extremely lucky to have worked for the likes of Jessica Sims, Guy Coombes, Caroline Haslett, Stephen Tilley, and Monty Adams. The assisting experience taught her teamwork, punctuality, how to deal with stress and, most importantly, to have fun and be inspired by other creatives. 

Karen Ishiguro Photographers Mail 2 Karen Ishiguro

Though her career as a photographer has quickly been established, Ishiguro will still assist other photographers if available — only these days the photographers come calling on her. 

In addition to Trelise Cooper, the photographer’s clients include fashion labels Ruby and Liam, Showroom 22 PR agency, Taylor boutique, Meccano clothing, and magazines like Remix and Element. For such jobs she is happy to mix things up, and shoot in hired studios or on location.

Asked what inspires her photography, she points to biannual Dutch magazine, The Gentlewoman, saying she’s moved by articles containing strong, confident women in the workforce today. “The photographs are absolutely beautiful to look at too; the lighting is always very simple but very powerful,” she explains, “with minimal retouching and often containing many black and white images, which I love.”

Ishiguro works on shoots from beginning to end, keeping control of the whole process and, like others, sees the value in doing the hard yards between shoots — researching ideas, scouting locations, retouching images, working at her business. She balances the intense work with travel as a way of expanding her horizons, and hitting the reset button. I talked to her as she is returning from a trip to Iceland, where she was stirred by the colour and dancing movement of the Northern Lights. Now she says she’ll hit the ground back in Auckland refreshed and ready to work. 

Links of interest:

Oliver Rose

Sacha Stejko

Karen Ishiguro

Mob mentality

Rachel Callander, Tymon, Super Power Babies Project

Adrian Hatwell explores the local options for crowdfunding photographic projects, and the clever creatives putting them to work

In the last five years the idea of crowdfunding has increasingly gathered steam. For many creative endeavours across the globe, crowdfunding is now the first and only port of call necessary to get a project up and running. Uptake has not been quite as vigorous in New Zealand as other parts of the world, but a slow and steady build in popularity has local crowdfunding platforms set to hit a tipping point soon. It’s something the world’s biggest crowdsourcing website, Kickstarter, seems aware of, having opened shop in New Zealand recently.

With its launch in November 2013, Kickstarter joins such local platforms as PledgeMe and Boosted as online destinations for creative Kiwis to float their ideas and vie for the public’s dollar. Internationally, such services have been a valuable tool for photographers in producing a wide array of products — books, exhibitions, films, tours, prints, collaborations — anything that might catch donor attention.

Things like video-game, film, and design projects have traditionally been the biggest successes in the crowdfunding realm, but Kickstarter reports having raised US$9.73 million for various photography projects to date. Our local variants don’t have quite such impressive numbers, but there have been a number of small-scale successes and a few rather sizeable ones too. Anna Guenther, founder of PledgeMe, says the site hasn’t had a huge volume of photography projects come through, but of those that have, 49 per cent have been successfully funded, and she sees New Zealand as particularly ripe for crowdfunding to flourish.

“I think we build communities and connections quicker [in New Zealand], because the degrees of separation are less. If a story is sticky, it’ll spread like wildfire through a community — like the photography community.”

Success stories

One recent local campaign certainly backs this up. As reported in Issue No. 197 of The Photographer’s Mail, Timaru-based photographer Rachel Callander launched a campaign on the PledgeMe website with the aim of raising $70,000 to create a photo book featuring New Zealand children with chromosomal and genetic conditions. It was one of the website’s most ambitious funding goals to date, but Callander’s worthy goal of “changing the way we in New Zealand see and talk about people with disabilities” ended up netting over $85,000 during its four-week campaign.

Rachel Callander, Romy, Super Power Babies Project

“We were very optimistic, we did a lot of planning before the campaign; a whole month of market research and figuring out how many people we could get involved,” Callander explains. “But it was a huge punt — PledgeMe said the average successful campaign was only around $3000.”

Callander was originally inspired to crowd-fund the project after hearing about the success of her cousin Chris Thomson and his business partner, Ben Ryan, at their Queenstown company, Syrp. Last year they managed to raise over US$636,700 for the ‘Genie’, a motion-control and image-capture device for film and time-lapse photography.

“When we began developing the Genie we always had Kickstarter in mind for launching our product,” Ryan says. “At the time Kickstarter was becoming very popular, and it seemed like every week there was a new highest-funded project. We thought it was a great fit for our project, since there are a lot of creatives on there and people getting excited for new products.”

Spreading the word

The beginnings of these two successful campaigns were very different — Callander was looking to pre-sell her book before going out to create it, while Syrp had already sunk a year and lots of money into developing the Genie before launching its Kickstarter initiative. Despite the differences, both took similar steps for publicizing their campaigns from the outset, with a hard emphasis on web-based promotion.

“The plan was to just hit every related blog and website that we could; social media also played a huge part in spreading the word,” Ryan says. “We also spent a lot of time just creating new footage with the Genie, and making films that would not only get shared among the tech sites but also more creative websites.”

Callander says Facebook was initially her main driver for publicity, but soon discovered the demands of constantly keeping the campaign in front of suitable potential backers meant a more diverse strategy was needed.

“We have this graph, and it plays out like a one-day cricket match. You go in hard at the start. We Facebooked all our friends and family and got heaps of pledges on the first day. Then it kind of waned a little bit. Then it waned a lot.”

With the initial momentum dropping off she turned to the more conventional media release, sending the story off to newspapers and TV stations, which proved very effective. When it came to marketing reach, the Genie campaign found most of its backers in the US, whereas the Super Power Baby Project had an extremely loyal local following, with people all around Timaru throwing fundraising events to pitch in.

Regardless of whether you want to take a very community-focused approach or are hoping for more geographically broad appeal, the advice echoed by the experts is to speak to your backers as a community, and engage them in on a more personal, conversational level.

“Crowdfunding backers are not your regular customers; they want to be a part of your project and come along for the journey,” Ryan advises. Similarly, Guenther says the biggest mistake she sees at PledgeMe is people not tapping into their own networks successfully. “Crowdfunding is really about engaging your crowd, and if they like what they see it’ll spread further afield.”

Which platform to choose

That is precisely why Mark Michel, Boosted’s manager, thinks the platform is ideal for photographic artists to launch projects from, despite its slow start in the medium.

“Boosted is about helping a project to raise money, but it is also about helping to nurture the artists, no matter what stage of their career they are in. We endeavour to sit down or at least talk to every single project that comes through.”

super power baby project

As part of The Arts Foundation, the website is a way for artists to benefit from the organization’s 13 years of experience of managing private funds, building partnerships in the industry, and leveraging sponsorship, which Michel would like to see more photographers take advantage of.

Callander, however, says she was very happy with PledgeMe’s community-focused vibe and website design, though when it came to advice she had to go outside the organization to a friend for business-minded mentoring. Kickstarter’s more global saturation definitely has its advantages, says Ryan, but the company itself will not help with marketing your project, and its size can also detract from its efficacy.

“There are a lot of projects on there now from large companies basically trying to pre-sell products — these guys don’t really need to raise the funds, they are just wanting to utilize the large audience to sell things, and I’m surprised Kickstarter allows it. It has sort of moved away from just a couple of guys in a shed trying to launch something for the first time.”

Regardless of which platform you’re looking at, there’s undeniable potential for local photographers to begin using crowdfunding more frequently. The concept is definitely gaining traction in New Zealand, and savvy photographers willing to put the work in will likely discover it to be a rewarding new avenue for funding in an environment where traditional opportunities are becoming increasingly hard to come by.

What is ‘crowdfunding’?

Anyone can attempt to raise money for a project by creating an online campaign on one of the many crowdfunding websites. These platforms provide a space where creators can pitch their idea to the world, along with a simple mechanism allowing interested backers to pledge money to the campaign, often getting rewards based on the amount pledged.

If a campaign reaches its funding goal within the allocated time frame, those pledges are turned into actual funds and the project is away; if not, then there’s no money for the creator, no money lost by the backers.

Different websites have their own particulars, but this is the basic concept behind them all.

Top five tips for successful crowdfunding

PledgeMe’s Anna Guenther gives us her best pointers for raising the money you’re after on a crowdfunding website:

1. don’t just promote the campaign, promote you

2. make it a journey, not just an ask

3. individual emails are gold

4. sharing photos works really well on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

5. get help, and make the promotion part fun (e.g. a working bee with beers)

Links of interest

Kickstarter PledgeMe Boosted Super Power Baby Project Syrp

Images: Rachel Callander

Top of the Lake


Auckland-based photographer Parisa Taghizadeh tells The Photographer's Mail about shooting stills on the set of Jane Campion’s recent television miniseries, Top of the Lake

The Photographer’s Mail: Can you briefly tell us a little bit about yourself and your work?

Parisa Taghizadeh: I am a freelance photographer and film-maker with my own art practice. I was born in Iran, raised in London, and lived in LA for six years before moving to New Zealand. I make work based around issues of cultural and personal identity, and I work commercially to make ends meet. I keep my own art practice alive with a bit of self-motivation, and support from organizations like Tangent, a lens-based collective here in Auckland of which I was a co-founder. 

How did you come to be the stills photographer on Top of the Lake?

I had worked on a few films back in London, and when I moved to New Zealand, I knew that was the area I wanted to pursue, not just because of my love of films, but also because it took a specialized skill that I knew I had. I heard Jane Campion was shooting her next work here, and found out who the producer was. She and Jane saw my website, liked my work, and off I went to the South Island.


What was a typical day on set like for you?

I would be on set throughout an 11-hour shooting day. I would often look at the angle used by the director of photography [DoP], as he would select the best shot, and light it accordingly. I would then get as close to his camera as possible, and I’d shoot from his angle. Sometimes, I would find an angle that worked better for me and would take my place on set. This doesn’t always work, as there are often people or gear in the background. You can’t ask for changes to be made for your needs while filming is taking place. Sometimes you can if there is extra time, but that is rare on a film shoot. Sometimes I would need to take the actors off-set for more ‘posed’ shots.

What do you shoot with? Is there specialist equipment required?

I shoot on a Nikon D7000. I use a ‘sound blimp’, which is a case that houses your camera and silences the sound of the shutter so that it’s not picked up by the sound recordist. It’s a big black case that has to be custom-made for your camera and lens. 

Do you have much freedom when it comes to what and how you shoot?

Nobody monitors what I shoot, but I do have a lot to consider. Your selected edited shots have to go through an approval process. Publicists often have very specific requirements, like capturing certain scenes. Your creative thinking can go a long way if you trust your own eye and instinct. It helps to sometimes work outside those parameters, and shoot what may be a bit abstract, just to deliver a different perspective without going too far off the mark. You always have to remember that it’s someone else’s vision. You’re brought in to interpret that, not create your own take on things, as tempting as it can be sometimes.


What were you trying to achieve in the stills produced for Top of the Lake?

I was trying to produce the best shots for a director as well-accomplished and talented as Jane Campion! It helped working with people who were all at the top of their game, because it sets the stakes high. I was trying to capture the mood of the film. When I read the script, the image of a young, pregnant girl walking into a lake seemed visually powerful, and I knew that had to be the iconic shot. I wasn’t able to capture it well during that particular scene, so I asked if we could stage it again. Jane was very supportive, and it’s evident in the result that we can achieve much more when given the time, backing, and assistance. 

What would you say are the biggest challenges in shooting production stills?

Making sure everyone’s happy. You have many people to please for different reasons, so you have to make sure everyone’s needs are met. One challenge during Top of the Lake was that the DoP, Adam Arkapaw, had a dark and natural approach to his lighting. This made interior set-ups hard to shoot. They would look stunning through his monitor, but were too dark for the settings in my camera. Often I shoot to the same settings as the main camera, so my stills look as close to the look of the film as possible, but the high-end cameras used are capable of much more than our DSLRs. 


What do you enjoy most about working on a production as stills photographer?

I love working with teams of people. You feel like a family when you’re together for so long. As a stills photographer, you’re in your own unit, so other departments take you under their wing. You learn so much about other people’s skills. The best part is when you’ve done something that you’re proud of, and can’t wait to show it to people.

Any advice for someone looking to get into the field?

You need a tough skin because you’re exposed to criticism. The trick is to not take things personally. If your favourite shot doesn’t make it through the approval process, it could mean anything, not that your shot was crap. 

The first thing to do is to find out which films are being made, and then get in touch with the producers. It’s always worth keeping your ear to the ground. I got my first job in London because they were shooting part of their film in Iran, and needed someone who understood both cultures and languages. I didn’t want to go as a fixer or translator, so I suggested I take photos for them. That was my first big break. 

To see more of Parisa’s photography, including personal work and commissions, visit


Super colliding

ariana-perez-illustrationIllustrator: Gina Kiel, model: Bay Berger at Nova

Fashion photographer Garth Badger takes on a global collaboration in his latest personal project

While an element of collaboration is always necessary in successful fashion and beauty photography, Garth Badger has taken the idea to another level with his new project, Collision. The plan, hatched by the photographer and make-up artist Verity Griffiths, was to produce a series of portraits that would then be sent to illustrators around the world to modify in unique ways.

Badger approached artists from as far afield as the Ukraine, Spain, and the Philippines — most contacted through the Behance creative social network — and found them all to be very receptive to the idea of artistic cooperation.

BAY_GINA_HRHIGH-HERO Illustrator: Ariana Perez, model: Holly Rose at Red 11

“It’s an opportunity to work on something outside of yourself, and I think that’s why a lot of them jumped at it,” he explains. “There’s a lot of sitting there in the dark, working on things alone. I know that’s why I jumped at it — when you come at something collaboratively, you get something better than anything anyone is individually capable of.”

It was important for the project that each of the illustrators, though distinct in approach, specialized in beauty, and once an appropriate entourage had been signed up, Badger began the process of finding the right model for each style.

“We looked at the type of people these artists would draw and, it’s amazing, when you really start looking at their stuff you can kind of see, ‘Oh that’s this person’. Then we went to all the agencies and booked the best international models available at the time, and couple of the best locals, and started matching them to artists.”

CARNE HERO HIGHOutside In Illustrator: Carne Griffiths, model: Breonne Rittinger at Nova

Tying the images together from a photographic standpoint was difficult, as Badger had no idea what the artists would do to his images. For his part he kept the lighting consistent throughout, and worked to give the artists something to build upon, even if it meant producing an unfinished-looking edit. He resisted the urge constrain the illustrators with colours or styling.

“I didn’t want to dictate that; I’ve got no interest in telling an illustrator how to illustrate,” he says. “The brief was literally to take the image and make it theirs, while retaining some level of the original photographic quality.”

To give his collaborators even more freedom, Badger sent out four or five image options and allowed them to select the one they would work on. He then Photoshopped the chosen image and sent it off to be reimagined. This was a process that took between a little over a week and six months, depending on the individual artist’s practice and schedule.

Alexander-fedosov-queen-high Illustrator: Alexander Fedosov, model: Chloe Wheatcroft at Red 11

“What we’ve ended up with is a series of individual images that work very well,” Badger says. “I don’t think they run together amazingly (though some of them do), but individually they sit really, really nicely.”

Badger has released the images on Facebook and Instagram to an extremely positive response. “A lot of the time you’re working away on commercial projects, so it’s nice to get some feedback on something you really care about,” he says. 

The photographer has had requests for prints but, at this stage, has no big plans for the usage of the Collision images. The process was his purpose and, as an example of creative collaboration, it has been a clear success.

About Garth Badger

Garth Badger is an Auckland-based fashion, beauty, and advertising photographer working with both still images and video. He began his photography career seven years ago at the age of 25 — before then he worked as a beekeeper. Badger opted for self-directed learning and interning, rather than formal study, as his path into the industry — a decision that has paid off in a rapid rise to prominence within it.

To see more from Garth, including the rest of the Collision series, head to . 

All images: photography by Garth Badger, make-up by Verity Griffiths

The troubleshooter


Peter Bush catches up with Dean Pemberton, the man who’s one-part local sports photojournalist and one-part globetrotting IT wizard

We had enjoyed a late-afternoon coffee at Clark’s cafe in the Wellington Library building when Dean Pemberton checked his watch, and said it was time he hurried off to the Chinese Embassy to pick up his visa for a coming visit. While I congratulated him on it, he in turn reminded me that he would miss the opening games of the ITM Rugby competition and the Wellington test between the All Blacks and Australia. My offer to swap places was met with a wry smile while he reminded me he was visiting China to work.

Dean is first an IT professional who travels widely, teaching the mysteries of the internet and allied technology in many emerging countries. This year alone his visits have included a rare one to Myanmar (Burma), a country that only recently lifted the bamboo curtain after 50 years of military rule, followed by Tonga, which despite being our Pacific neighbour has yet to access the submarine fibre-optic cable connecting the region.

Most recently he visited Tanzania in East Africa, as one of a six-member team sent to tutor and work with 80 students new to the IT world. He found it quite an exciting and different experience. The teaching staff was drawn from Denmark, Chile and the US, a real miniature United Nations.

In terms of a camera, Dean went with the bare minimum, a tiny Canon S100 point-and-shoot. A good photographer doesn’t let gear limit them, and Dean set out to document the trip with optimism. “I took inspiration from all the photographers to go before me and made the best of it.”

I think he and the Canon S100 make a good team, as the pictures here demonstrate.


With all this international travel and technology wrangling you might get the impression of a lofty guru removed from the daily routine of the average photographer, but Dean is far from it.

A few days before our coffee-bar meeting we had both been at the Hutt Recreation Ground to cover a late-afternoon All Black warm-up game. Dean was harnessed up with his two Canon 1D Mark IV cameras, one carrying a 300mm f/2.8, the other a 70–200mm f/2.8, with a 16–35mm in his belt pouch. Despite being fully loaded to shoot Dean was helping sort out problems for both older and younger photographers, including myself, before the teams even took the field. This IT wizard gives freely of his technical expertise.

So how and where did this globetrotting IT pro /photographer start?

Dean was Wellington born and bred, and grew up in that singular valley suburb of Wainuiomata, where he rubbed shoulders at school with Tana Umaga, among other sports personalities. A diligent student, he was given his first small computer before he was a teenager, and had already inherited his Dad’s old box Brownie camera. In-between taking pictures with roll film and waiting forever to get the results back, he played rugby for a local high-school team and later took up skiing and snowboarding.

From school to Victoria University saw him graduate first with a science degree, later earning his Masters. His first job was with the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington, helping build its digital network, and making sure it all held together. He says it was a job he enjoyed, in a good environment, and it gave him the opportunity to travel around the country.

A move to Australia saw him working out of both Sydney and Melbourne as an IT troubleshooter for a US-based firm, and while he covered most of Australia he also spent a good deal of time outside the country working, also travelling to the United States for training schemes. Dean says he found it a very different, challenging experience. After a number of years he came home to New Zealand.

4 Pemberton  Sprinbok grazing on the open veldt.Pemberton Pic

As well as holding down a top IT job Dean slowly made his way into the world of the professional sports photographer, initially through old friend, Peter McDonald, who invited him to attend a course on digital photography he was running at Lower Hutt Technical School.

In short order he went from being a pupil to joining Peter, covering sporting events for the local Hutt News paper. His first assignment was an off-road bike race, and some of the resulting pictures were published in the paper — that was five or six years back, and they are both still covering the Wellington sporting scene for the Hutt News. Sports events range from First XV rugby games through netball to swimming.

When I quizzed Dean on his favourite sporting assignment he paused before answering. “Maybe I will upset a few fans when I say that netball comes out on top.”

He says he enjoys the game’s fast pace with few stoppages, that it involves loads of kids and, best of all, the great warm, friendly, family atmosphere at the big games. “I really enjoy it,” he states simply.

Of his rugby coverage Dean finds it a game of two halves; half the time he is a photojournalist trying for new camera positions, the other half he’s submitting and filing on the fly. He feels the latter comes as naturally as the former. “After all that’s my day job,” he says with a smile.

He loves the deadlines and the pressure that come with digital coverage of sport, especially rugby, and can comfortably have all his 20 to 30 shots fully edited and filed half an hour after the full-time whistle.

“I can then shut the lid of the Pelican case and go home to my family, always my first priority.”

Images: taken by Dean Pemberton on his trip to Tanzania

Packing it in

brettstanleyphotodotcom-2012-12-10 11.54.42

Expat commercial photographer Brett Stanley continues his journeys in the US, this time looking at the dreaded art of packing for international travel

Moving to another country is never an easy task, there are so many things to take into consideration, and deciding what to bring is one of the more important.

Clothing and personal items aside, choosing which of my gear and hardware to pack when moving to the United States was hard, for a few reasons. Not having a US visa meant I didn’t really know how long I was going for, so did I want to take everything I owned for what might just turn out as a three-month trip? I could always rent equipment once I got there, but that can get costly, and I’d already paid for my kit, so why shell out again?

The obvious answer was compromise. My plane ticket allowed two 23kg bags, and one would carry clothes. The other was my snowboard, as there was no way I was going to the northern hemisphere in winter without it (though it turns out there’s not as much snow near LA as I expected). I then budgeted myself one more bag up to 32kg (the maximum the airline will take) for all my photography hardware. It wasn’t that expensive, either. Qantas let me book a third 23kg bag for $90 and then charged $60 for the upgrade to 32kg. Bringing all my lighting gear for $150 — not bad at all.

So what did I take gear-wise, and how did I pack it? I’d always wanted a case that could house all my lights, stands, modifiers and grip rather than split them across smaller cases. I’d never found anything I liked until I saw the Kata LW-99 Rolling Organizer. This thing is like a coffin on wheels. It’s 114cm long, so it can accommodate my stands along with a tripod, and the 40cm width makes it easy to pack my three flash heads, cables, battery packs, three soft boxes, grids, gels and an assortment of clips, clamps and gaff. Is it heavy? Yes, but with the built-in wheels it’s much easier to carry one load than a few, and I never forget anything any more.

Stylist: Loren Robles, Makeup: Sarah Huggins/Alfeya, Hair: Nina

Now, I have to admit I didn’t get everything in the bag I wanted to take. It was just over the 32kg limit, so I did have to spread a couple of items between my other two bags, such as my tripod and battery packs. But between those two I managed to fit my other sporting equipment (climbing, diving, cycling), and an array of hard drives for images and backups.

One thing I would recommend if you plan to travel with quite a bit of heavy gear is a travel scale. It’s a small handheld scale for weighing your bags, and it is invaluable. There’s nothing worse than getting to check-in at stupid o’clock in the morning, eyes still encrusted with sleep, and being told you need to drop some weight from your bags. Where’s it going to go? You can’t leave anything behind, and so you play a frustrating game of ‘Luggage Tetris’ on the airport floor, trying to spread the load between your bags as fast as you can so as not to have to get back in the queue. Not fun.

For me, the question of whether or not to take my gear was moot. I’m a location shooter and I love my artificial light, it’s what makes my shots and my style. We knew we would do a few long road trips, and taking hired lighting wasn’t an option, so this made perfect sense to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I can travel light if needed. One camera and a single lens will flex the creative muscle, but I was here to expand my horizons and shoot bigger, badder work than before. I wanted to start in the States with no restrictions, and being able to say yes to any job because I had the equipment was paramount.

It paid off, I shot some great images and I got to do it with my own trusty equipment. My travels in the United States have just begun, and I’m looking forward to sharing them.

This article originally appeared in The Photographer's Mail no. 196

Passion and Place: Daniel Max


Daniel Max, the commercial photographer known as Maxy, shares his experience in starting a beautiful personal project, Our Land, and his plans to continue it

Our Land is an ode to New Zealand, a celebration of our beautiful country. An ongoing photographic series documenting the connection between New Zealanders and the landscape they inhabit, it sets out to observe, without intrusion, these varied relationships within our land.


Essentially, this project is an expression of the things I love most about both New Zealand and photography. I want to explore the bond many Kiwis share with their country; that pride in our renowned landscape. Many of us are happiest when at one with the land — whether we’re farming or fishing, or just relaxing in nature. Personally I’m most at peace alone in the wild, on a beautiful vast beach, camera in hand.

I’d been motivated to work on a personal project for a long time, but never had the time to step away from my commercial work, and hadn’t found a subject I was truly passionate about. Eventually it developed organically, from simply being out in the environment, doing what I love. The first image — The Seal (below) — happened spontaneously during a break in a campaign shoot. We were waiting out some rain in the production truck when I saw this little dude hiding in the dunes. I couldn’t resist jumping out to shoot some images, and the results immediately felt right. The misty, overcast light lent itself perfectly to the washed, painterly style I’d been developing, and this ended up flowing through the rest of the series. What started with capturing my connection with the landscape developed into documenting other New Zealanders and their own interactions.


Over the next eight months I built on this, heading out West to shoot when I wasn’t working. But it really came together when I booked a month out of my schedule, packed the truck with my camping and camera gear, and missioned down to the West Coast of the South Island. You could call it drive-by shooting — letting the country take me down, I drove along the coast, stopping at pubs and finding people on the beach, setting my tripod up when the moment was right. While shooting from a distance I found people would click back into their moment quickly, resulting in a really true shot. This fed into my idea of people being part of the landscape rather than a main feature.

I exhibited and sold a number of the limited-edition prints in the first part of this project, and hope to do the same over the next three years. I plan to take a month off each year to travel a different part of the country, and document my experiences along the way. Eventually I’d love to see the work culminate in a book — a slight twist on the ongoing documentation of New Zealand’s beauty, seen from my personal viewpoint. Ultimately I’d love to get Creative New Zealand funding for the project, as it takes a lot of time and money to make something like this work.


Apart from the satisfaction of doing a personal project, I aimed to grow my portfolio, and showcase some of my personal style. I wanted something to present to advertising agencies that would inspire them and show them some of my work outside a commercial brief.

It’s great to have a wicked body of work that I’m proud of, and have a sense of passion about. At the end of the day everyone wants to see someone who’s passionate about something — it’s one of those driving forces that can make anyone succeed.


Our Land prints are still for sale, and can be found on Maxy’s website: 

This article was originally published in The Photographer's Mail no. 196.


Full steam ahead for ex-photojournalism veteran

Legendary photographer Peter Bush tracks down an old friend to talk about jumping tracks from photojournalist to locomotive engineer in The Photographer's Mail I would like to introduce photojournalist Andrew Gorrie, who embodies every quality I admire about the new age of photographers.

He’s a tall, unassuming, highly talented man who enjoys talking shop about his favourite images created by photojournalists of past years, like Cartier-Bresson, as well as some of the up-and-coming younger photogs of the new age. Andrew is still very passionate about all aspects of photography and, until recently, he was a top photojournalist on Wellington’s Dom Post, the capital’s daily newspaper. Now, however, he is a locomotive engineer, driving the trains that deliver the daily paper he once worked on to readers throughout the Wellington region.


Now, before anyone starts asking if he was fired or became bored with life, this was a decision he made after careful consideration with his Brazilian-born wife, Ceci. And, yes, he still loves photography.

To leave a secure newspaper job like that is a challenge I could imagine a young teenager reaching out for, but Andrew Gorrie was already in his early 40s, and despite the pleas of fellow workers, both photographers and journalists, and a heart-to-heart with management, off he went down into the vast rail yards of Wellington Station. There he began a rigorous training programme that saw him sitting in classrooms with an ex-accountant, an engineer and other men seeking a change of career — for most a mid-life change of direction.

When Andrew came round to my home for an interview I instantly reached for the 5D Mark II with the 70–200mm f/2.8 for some casual shots during the friendly chat, but a very firm “No thanks” from Andrew saw the camera replaced by a pen and pad.

The photographer grew up and went to school in Nelson, and while at school he acquired his first camera, a 110 Kodak. When working after school at a butcher shop he progressed to a Russian Zenith 35mm film camera. “Heavy, it weighed a ton — but always reliable,” Andrew says.

From school he went to work in a one-hour Nelson lab for about a year-and-a-half. Then, in the early ’90s, he crossed the Tasman and quickly found work at Pro Labs. The big Sydney lab specialized in really huge murals, many over six metres wide, printed by an enlarger set on light rail tracks with the paper held by magnets on a metal wall. Ten-minute exposures were the norm. Best of all for a budding photographer, the mural firm allowed employees to print as much of their own work as they liked, which Andrew said allowed you to pick up on faulty focus and exposure.

“It was still some time before the world of digital took over.”


In his spare time he joined a parachute school, where he made over 800 jumps and met Ceci, his wife-to-be. After this he did a stint at suburban newspaper Wentworth Courier, a job he landed first by shooting weekend sport with a Nikon 801 and 300mm lens before later joining the regular staff.

Finally, the family returned to New Zealand, and, as Andrew put it, he walked into a job on the Whakatane Beacon. From Whakatane the next move was to the Waikato Times, where he would be sent on one of his most memorable assignments, a couple of weeks in Timor with New Zealand troops policing the province.

“I even ended up driving one of the AP carriers and went on a night patrol with a squad,” he says with some relish.

His next and final move was to Wellington’s Dom Post, where he spent 12 years covering a wide range of daily assignments, and established his reputation as a photographer who could stamp his individual identity on many routine jobs.

One feature pic he shot of a helicopter crossing a full moon was taken from Seatoun, Wellington harbour entrance, and came about after many long months of cancelled shoots because of high winds and weather. Taken on a Canon 1D Mark IV clipped on to a 600mm lens with a 2x extender, it was run on the front page and won a prestigious Australasian aviation award. It was one among a number of awards he has won.

Picture story essays became one of his strong points, and a number of them were of NZ Rail — late-night loading of freight trains at Picton onto the Cook Strait ferries, or riding in the cab of an up-country train.

Which brings this story full circle, to the point he finally made the decision at age 42 to leave the media world and re-train as a locomotive engineer.

To many of his colleagues and friends this was a brave move. Some thought he was joking, and wondered if he had thought it through but, as he says, “You only live once, so why not give it a go?”

After undergoing a rigorous physical and mental check, including a psychometric test, he joined a group of trainee drivers. Among them were a former concrete plant manager, accountant and lino carpet layer — the youngest 26 years old and the oldest being early 40s. After four weeks in the classroom followed by three- to four-hour exams with an 80-per-cent pass rate, he started on six months of guided training.

He is now one of 100 locomotive engineers based in the Wellington district, and on the afternoon of our interview he was due to start work on the late shift driving passenger units to Upper Hutt and other parts of the Wellington region.


His only camera now is a point-and-shoot Leica D-Lux 4 that Leica agent Lacklands in Auckland gave to him via a contra deal a couple of years back. He picked it up a day before he left for Brazil with his family for an extended stay, and while there shot some enduring essays of people in the workplace. From Sao Paulo he uploaded the images to a website on a daily basis, which proved a hit with the public (and Lacklands).

He feels the discreetness of the Leica D-Lux was one of the reasons he was able to shoot such stunning photo essays while in Brazil. At one sawmill the workers could not believe it was a camera until he presented them with a set of enlarged prints. Perhaps it also helped that while in Brazil he worked hard on learning Portuguese, and he is now quite fluent in the language.

In time I am sure we will see a book or three shot by this talented all-rounder.

Game-changing: HD DSLR film-making

Luke White looks at the origins of the rapidly growing HD DSLR film-making trend and explains why you should get on board in the first in his ongoing series of columns of film-making for The Photographer's Mail It all changed in September 2008. That was when photographer Vincent Laforet managed to get hold of a pre-production Canon 5D Mark II. The camera had been announced a week earlier, and Laforet was intrigued by the idea of a DSLR with video recording capabilities. It wasn’t easy to talk Canon into lending him an unreleased camera for a weekend but, fortunately for Canon, Laforet is a very persuasive man. Reverie was shot in less than 72 hours; the short film was watched more than two million times within a fortnight of its release, and the rest is history.

Reverie by Vincent Laforet, shot with Canon 5D Mark II

Suddenly here was a completely new tool in the hands of photographers across the world and it was free, built right into their camera.

Film-makers quickly found lots of uses for this small and affordable camera that, by Hollywood standards, was virtually disposable. Soon 5D Mark IIs found themselves wedged into crevices in 127 Hours, rigged onto cars in Drive, strapped to Iron Man’s chest and stuffed into cockpits in Red Tails. The 2012 action film Act of Valor was shot entirely on 5D Mark IIs and Canon 7Ds; it has car chases, explosions, sky diving, scuba and was shot for US$11 million. So that hardly puts it in the budget category but, when compared to Avatar’s $425 million production budget, it looks relatively affordable. Of course, it isn’t just action — this revolutionary camera really came into its own with dramas such as Like Crazy ($250,000) and documentaries like Bully ($1.1m), which would probably not have been possible before the 5D Mark II.

Trailer for Acts of Volor, shot on Canon 5D Mark IIs and 7Ds

But people didn’t start using this camera for video just because it was cheap and small. The picture quality was really something special, especially when used with pin-sharp Canon prime glass. HD footage can have a plasticky quality to it, but there is something about the DSLR video compression that gives footage a more filmic feel. The large sensor combined with fast lenses also gave the option of the shallow depth of field that is so popular for drama.

A lot has happened in a very short time and DSLR film-making is no longer in its infancy. The 5D Mark III has superseded the Mark II. The Canon C300 digital cinema camera quickly became a favourite for broadcast, having extra features such as C-Log mode, built-in vectorscope and wave-form monitor, great high-ISO sensitivity, and the ability to eliminate problems such as rolling shutter and moiré. The Black Magic cameras are on their second generation, and GoPros are outputting useable footage. We are just beginning to see what is possible with the first 4k resolution DSLR camera, the Canon 1D C and Magic Lantern announced new hacks for the 5D Mark III that bring 24p RAW CineDNG capabilities to the camera.

Sword by Félix Alcalá and Larry Carroll, shot for Canon's C300 launch

We really need to pause for a moment to look at why the magazine is choosing to run a regular article on film-making. ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’ is an old maxim but a valid one. For all the similarities between creating still and moving images, there are many more differences. The joy of looking at a photograph is that one can appreciate it for what it is — subject matter, composition, lighting. A moment frozen in time. With film, the experience is quite different; the viewer is constantly thinking about what will happen next. Even the most beautifully photographed films such as A Serious Man (director of photography, Roger Deakins) or There Will Be Blood (director of photography, Robert Elswit) would be hardly watchable were it not for a gripping story. The career transition from photographer to feature film-maker has been made by such esteemed visionaries as Stanley Kubrick, Larry Clarke, and Anton Corbijn, and is something that we will certainly see more of with the help of modern technology.

The invention of the printing press did not create poets, historians and novelists, it simply enabled those who were to more effectively share their stories. HD DSLR video is the same. It has never been easier to make a great-looking film and equally, it has never been easier to make an awful film. The medium is changing and developing constantly, but these technological advances are useless without people who have a knowledge of the craft of storytelling, who can create mood and atmosphere from nowhere with lighting and composition. For documentary photographers, these are very exciting times and we are seeing more fantastic multimedia presentations which utilize video, stills, sound, and more on websites such as Media Storm and Magnum in Motion.

Burma – Land of Shadows by Chien-Chi Chang for Magnum in Motion

Kingsize Studios launched as a photographic rental studio and equipment hire facility but quickly evolved to also service film-makers and, most significantly, the hybrid photography-motion work that has developed as a result of the new technology. It is now common for stills and video to be shot on the same job; this is driven mainly by clients who recognise the power of the combined mediums, and those photographers who are willing to take the risk and learn the new techniques.

These articles will mainly discuss Canon cameras. I have heard great things about the Nikon D800 for video and I’m sure Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, and other manufacturers produce DSLRs that shoot quality video. Canon simply stole the march on the other companies (being the first one to offer high-definition video on a full-frame chip camera) and hence became the ubiquitous, industry-standard choice for HD DSLR film-making. Of course, all the principles we will cover are relevant whichever brand of camera you use — it is just a tool, after all.

I look forward to bringing you a variety of articles on film-making: there will be tutorials and tips as well as interviews with photographers who are incorporating video into their commercial practice.

Kingsize Studio's instructional video on DSLR settings for video

In the meantime, take a look at the Kingsize YouTube channel on which you can see the first in a series of DSLR filmmaking tutorial videos we are making for photographers shooting video for the first time. The short videos on settings (above) and DSLR rigs will be enough to get you shooting video in no time.

Pressures of the press

With the results of two important photojournalism awards soon to be announced — the Canon Media Awards, celebrating excellence in local press photography, and World Press Photo, an international search for the world's best photojournalism — D-Photo presents a feature from sister publication The Photographer's Mail, discussing the 2013 champions of both events.  

Last year’s winning photo in the world’s most prestigious photojournalism competition caused a flurry of controversy in the media, after digital imaging experts accused the image of being a heavily-manipulated fake. Around the same time that quarrel broke out New Zealand was celebrating the pinnacle of local photojournalism achievements in the Canon Media Awards. The Photographer’s Mail speaks with some of the 2013 winners to discover where digital manipulation ranks among the challenges facing Kiwi photojournalism today.

Swedish photographer Paul Hansen’s image of a burial procession in Gaza city picked up the Photo of the Year nod at the 2013 World Press Photo competition, a decision that has seen the organisers come under fire due to the image’s significant digital treatment. Many are now questioning the degree to which a news photo can legitimately be manipulated after the taking, before losing claim to authenticity.

Emma Allen, photographer for the Marlborough Express who was named Junior Press Photographer of the Year at the 2013 Canon Media Awards, doesn’t think Hansen’s photo has been too heavily manipulated, but she admits it’s a difficult line to draw. Though it was the topic of a spirited discussion at her workplace it is not, she says, an issue that affects her own daily work.

Boomtown Brawlettes

Emma Allen, Marlborough Express

“We would never have the time to do that much editing. He obviously put a lot of work into the photo; we have maybe 10, 20 seconds to edit each photo.”

A glance at Allen’s winning portfolio — featuring such diverse subjects as car crash victims, roller derby players, community fundraisers, and flood-hit families — bears this out. The images evidence the hallmarks of classic photojournalism bereft of all but the subtlest of digital tweaks. While Marlborough Express owner Fairfax Media includes in its Code of Ethics a rule to not “tamper” with photographs beyond the cosmetic, Allen says it’s the unofficial rule to only perform digital edits that could have been performed in the darkroom which guides her and her colleagues.

“Of course we’d never move something around or cut something out or anything like that. Never, never, never.”

Money bag

Emma Allen, Marlborough Express

It’s a sentiment echoed by The Daily Post photographer Stephen Parker, who was last year named Senior Press Photographer of the Year at the media awards programme. While editors are always looking for an eye-catching photo for the front page, he has not seen anything in New Zealand photojournalism that approaches the realm of doctored images.

“It’s the same as it’s always been, just the same old burning and dodging under Photoshop.”

Rather than computer acumen, the 15-year veteran says the ability to concentrate and find form with each and every job is the bigger challenge with working in the local news industry.


Stephen Parker, The Daily Post

“Sometimes I feel like I’m owed the pictures because I’ve put in the time in the testing conditions, and nobody else is there,” Parker explains.

“Sometimes the pictures you envisage don’t come, but then there are the days when everything falls into place — the horrific attack happens in front of you while doing a street poll, or the five-year-old triplets at the breakfast club have both infectious smiles and shocking footwear.”

He says he was happy to pull in the award for the Rotorua newspaper, which doesn’t have the resources some of the larger media outlets do (“I’m usually the one on the ground and the bigger papers and TV networks are buzzing overhead in the choppers”). But a smaller paper does not mean a smaller workload, especially with the industry-wide increase in demand for online imagery and video in addition to print photos.


Stephen Parker, The Daily Post

“You’re sort of wearing two hats, if you’ve got time you try to shoot the video as well. The advantage of working on a small paper is pretty much everything gets used.”

With the future of print media still in question, the biggest trend reported within the industry was a shift towards the web, accompanied by an increased urgency in turnaround and a more diverse array of media products.

Despite this, there’s still an appreciation in the industry for crafting a classic news image, says Natasha Martin of the Timaru Herald. She took home the Best Feature Photo award, a new category at the 2013 Canon Media Awards, for a warm environmental portrait of an elderly man, just enrolled in a chef’s course for people aged over 65, serving his wife a boiled egg. Martin says the time pressure of a daily newspaper is no barrier to connecting with subjects; it is a simple matter of treating people with respect. She was with the subjects of her winning image for around 40 minutes.

“I really enjoy being able to spend time with subjects prior and just listening to the interview, as the picture idea will normally come to me during this time. So then it’s just a matter of replaying what would typically happen in that scenario and letting the picture unfold before you.”


Natasha Martin, Timaru Herald

Though she hopes respect for straight photojournalism will continue into the future, Martin says her advice to anyone starting out would be to build skills beyond still images.

“I think the biggest challenge these days is breaking away from past ideas, offering the readers something different by use of multimedia, informative photo essays, graphics, etc., all alongside a great read but most importantly delivering that package in a professional visual.”

The winning images at last year’s Canon Media Awards would seem to clear the local industry of the concerns raised by the World Press Photo debate, with technical camera talent valued well ahead of digital editing skill. The news industry’s self-regulatory body, The Press Council, confirms that alarm over image manipulating is not a concerning trend within New Zealand — there have been no complaints relating to technical manipulation of photos in recent years.

All of which is not to say digital editing of photojournalism imagery does not have a place here. The Iris Awards, the annual awards programme of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP), contains a Photojournalism category in which minor exposure, contrast and colour adjustments are allowed in pursuit of a high quality print. Kaye Davis, chair of the NZIPP honours council, believes Hansen’s controversial World Press Photo entry would also have been accepted into the local competition.

“Under the criteria, entries must reflect the authenticity of the original scene without any form of manipulation that takes this away … Even when reading through the debates over the image, there is no indication that the scene is anything but authentic in its content.”

She acknowledges that the level of editing allowed under the criteria can be “a little subjective”, but says things like removing elements, such as power lines, or adding elements, like replacing a head where a person’s eyes are closed, are clear violations of the rules.

In the Iris Awards it is important to note that the judges are looking at the photographer’s print quality as well as what the image communicates, a consideration that is not shared at the Canon Media Awards. But Davies says while digital technology is changing the photographic environment, which can lead to healthy debate, the core ethics behind photojournalism remain unchanged.

“There will always be images that push the boundaries and make us question what we do, and I see this as a good thing. Ultimately, it is up to the organisers of the competitions to determine exactly what they are looking for in entries and be specific when setting the rules.”

The erosion of photojournalistic integrity through digital manipulation may not have taken root in the New Zealand industry but the impact of technology is impossible to ignore. The Canon Media Awards show a strong appreciation of conventional photojournalistic aptitude remains. But in an industry where jobs comprising solely of conventional photojournalism are increasingly scarce, those keeping up with the technological tides are most likely to stay afloat in a swiftly evolving market.

 The judging process for 2014’s Canon Media Awards is currently underway, with  the awards night to be held on May 9 in Auckland.