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Photographers snap up awards

Four Wairarapa photographers have taken out top categories at 2023 The Iris Professional Photography Awards, run by the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography [NZIPP].

The region’s very own Amber Griffin, Esther Bunning, Helen Smith and Courtney Ewington were all awarded first place in individual categories at New Zealand’s most prestigious photography awards.

Masterton-based artist Amber Griffin was crowned New Zealand Professional Photographer of the Year [NZPOY].

NZIPP Honours Council chairperson Rochelle Dillon told the Times-Age that the NZPOY is a “prestigious and coveted award, and winning it is an achievement of a lifetime.

“The NZPOY winner is determined by a majority decision and is awarded to the folio that the judges deem to best represent consistent mastery of technical and aesthetic control; Innovation and creativity; originality; diversity; strength of communication, emotion and concept.”

Griffin also won the NZ Professional Portrait Open Photographer of the Year.

“To be considered among the same calibre as the two other finalists, both titans of our photographic industry, Tony Carter and Richard Wood, is an immense honour. My deepest appreciation goes to my gorgeous clients and the beautiful humans [and animals] who I am so blessed to work with,” Griffin said.

Greytown’s Bunning was awarded NZ Professional Creative Photographer of the Year.

Bunning said several of her winning images were printed on silk. The edges were stitched and frayed to show the fragility and strength of the women she photographed.

“It’s a powerful project that I’ve been working on, and it’s just been amazing to photograph these women.”

Accredited as a professional fine art photographer by NZIPP – Smith took out NZ Professional Nature Photographer of the Year.

“The photographic community in Wairarapa is really strong. We are lucky to have some highly experienced photographers who are genuinely happy to share their knowledge and provide a network of support. I am very privileged,” Smith said.

Masterton-based photographer Courtney Ewington won New Zealand Student Photographer of the Year. Ewington told the Times-Age the concept for her portfolio was a project that “evolved from creating art with dried flowers as a play on the French translation of still-life “dead nature – with the aim to make these stems beautiful again.

“It was particularly special to receive this award, having lost my grandfather a week after I finished this portfolio. He was one of my biggest supporters and would have loved this,” Ewington said.

    An article on NZPOY– Amber Griffin – will be featured in an upcoming Times-Age issue.

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