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Brimful of accolades

Wairarapa creatives made a big impression at the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography [NZIPP] Iris Awards in Christchurch this year, with 12 photographers returning home with more than 70 accolades between them.

The Iris Awards, which take place during the two-day NZ Photography Show, have been running for more than 35 years and celebrate the innovation and excellence of professional photography.

Among the entrants was Greytown local Kylie Alexander.

Iris 2023 was Alexander’s third year of entering and she was “absolutely rapt” to come away with four bronze awards and one professional standard award.

“To win an award gives me the confidence I’m on the right track with my photography,” Alexander said.

“It pushes me to do better and keep doing something that I love.”

For first-time entrant, Robyne Kippen, who runs Chester Road Photography, Iris was also an extremely positive experience.

“I absolutely loved it,” said Kippen, who was awarded bronze in the landscape and documentary categories.

“The atmosphere at the awards and conference was one of motivation, perseverance, positivity and encouragement.”

Like Alexander, for Kippen the NZ Photography Show was as much about making connections and professional development as it was about the Iris competition.

“I attended as many of the workshops and one-on-one sessions as I could and came away with my cup brimming full of inspiration and motivation to learn more and to value my work and efforts.”

Kippen appreciated the support offered by seasoned local Iris entrants such as Esther Bunning, Terry Wreford-Hann and Rebecca Kempton.

The peer support is very helpful, given that photographers “are our own worst critics” and “choosing images to enter is the hardest part”, third-time entrant Sarah Watkins said.

Courtney Ewington won three silver awards, one gold and was named NZIPP Student Photographer of the Year.

“There were tears when our lovely local photographers won their categories and I think that emotion was a surprise but is a testament to the passion and how proud we are of the whole group,” she said.

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