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Bunning’s gold rush

Esther Bunning. PHOTO/FILE

Local photographer wins big

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Greytown’s Esther Bunning has done the region proud by bringing home the NZ Photographer of the Year title.

She said 2020 had proved a difficult year for her as a photographer because of covid-19, and winning came as a surprise.

“Our industry was slow to get started initially after lockdown, and my creative mojo was affected.

“I wasn’t engaged to the same extent as other years with the whole awards process and didn’t even watch the online judging.

“It’s funny how things work out.”

Three thousand images were entered in the Nikon Iris Professional Photography [NZIPP] Awards and included contestants from New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.

NZIPP president Catherine Cattanach said, “Esther is a truly visionary photographer who is always pushing the creative boundaries, even in hard times”.

Bunning also won the creative and portrait open categories.

“She was a hugely deserving winner,” Cattanach said.

“Her work is technically excellent, and at the same time challenges the viewer to look at photographs from more of an emotive and less of a literal perspective. Her portfolio this year was just brimming with mood – it was very powerful.”

All the entries are judged anonymously and this year, due to covid-19, the judging was held online with a preliminary round and then a live online-judging round spanning nine days.

The rotating panels of five judges included some of the most qualified and renowned local and international photographers.

NZIPP chairwoman of honours Kaye Davis said the Iris Awards gave photographers an opportunity to push the boundaries, and to see how their work stacked up against the others in the industry.

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