I'm a Wellington based photographer and I recently (a couple nights ago) was named Documentary Photographer of the Year at the prestigious national awards in Queenstown on 10th August 2015.
This was my very first time entering the NZIPP IRIS awards and so many times I thought about not entering and pulling out. I was a ball of nerves knowing how high a standard this institute is known to have and thought I might not compare. I had great support from fellow photographers in the Wellington region that encouraged me and helped me organise getting my images printed and then a family friend who works at Artbeat Gallery in Paraparaumu beach matted my images for me. The day I picked my images up from being matted it all felt so real and my images looked amazing.
When it came to drop my case to the post shop for the courier to take to Dunedin I froze and talked myself out of it and continued driving, going past the post shop. The very next day I got the courage to actually drop them off and away they went. That moment I felt some relief, it was finally out of my hands and there was nothing I could do about it from here.
Finally, Thursday arrives, the first day of the three day judging. I had one image in the landscape category which was being judged Thursday and then four birth images being judged Saturday in the Documentary category. I was excited to see they were going to live stream the judging last minute.
I was at my mums place so I grabbed the laptop and sat nervously counting down till my very first image came up for its turn to be judged. I was so nervous I almost couldn't watch, and then I hear them declare, Bronze. I leapt out of my seat with joy and hugged my 2 year old son who got a fright from my sudden movement after sitting frozen still for a while. That was it, the moment I knew I had a chance when it came to my birth images as that is where my true passion lies.