Auckland Bound (again!) - Photoshots - the web folio of Tony Stewart.

Auckland Bound (again!)

Up with the sparrows, and Auckland bound again this morning.

This time for the annual NZIPP / Epson Professional Photography Awards. Being on the Honours Council (the organising body of NZIPP that runs the Iris Awards), that means a solid week making sure the event actually happens! Today and tomorrow is pack in, in preparation for the judging. Screens, printers, computers, seating, … get brought in to transform a clean hotel space into a busy work area (we call it the ‘engine room’), controlled judging area, and exhibition gallery.

This year sees a record 1300 entries from all round NZ, and even a selection from overseas.
Excellent to see the event so well supported in the 75th Jubilee year of the Institute.

Five judges deliberate at any one time, (selected from a larger pool of available personnel). They have a restricited time to score prints one at a time, from 50-100, with discussion / debate as seen necessary. There is no limit on what photos are awarded a professional standard rating (60’s), bronze (70’s), silver (80’s) or gold (90’s). In that sense it is attainment based, a bit like wine judging. Yet golds are like hen’s teeth, with historically only about 2-3% awarded this honour. This is the holy grail of photography if you like, and remains one of the biggest hurdles in gaining the prestigious ‘Fellow’ distinction within the ranks of the Institute.

This occurs over three full days (Thurs 1st, Fri 2nd & Sat 3rd Aug) of judging , in two rooms, with multiple print categories. If anyone is in Auckland, it is a public event (free even!), at the Pullman hotel. The Awards dinner is a black tie event, on Monday 5th Aug, where category finalists, winners, and of course the prestigious Photographer of the Year all get announced.

Be it new entrants, or all hands, the scrutiny of one’s peers is quite a bit for many to bear. Anxiety levels rise about now in anticipation of the event. There are tears, there are screams, there are laughs. Yet the comaraderie, and educational value of such a busy week, is the pinnacle of many photographers calendar. That is within even mentioning the conference & master classes that backs onto the end of print judging!

Watch this space…. I’ll keep you posted on my 8 entries!

Sunrise over Marlborough Marlborough / Kapiti seen from NZ504 CHC-AKL.