The annual NZIPP Iris Professional Photography Awards have consistently been a happy hunting ground for both staff and students of UCOL’s New Zealand Diploma in Photographic Imaging and Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging programmes.
UCOL photography students from these programmes have claimed the Student of the Year title 14 times in the past 16 years and had two finalists in the category this year.
Each year, students and staff enter their best prints to vie for category medals at the prestigious national event. The Institute’s highest honours are earned through attaining Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.
This year, at the June competition, UCOL students won a total of one Gold, 11 Silver and 14 Bronze medals.
Hot on the students’ heels, their lecturers won one Gold, seven Silvers and seven Bronze medals. Lecturer Paul Gummer was named as a finalist in the Nature and Wildlife Photographer of the Year category.
For several years, participating UCOL students have had the privilege to act as assistants during the three days of NZIPP print judging.
NZ Diploma in Photography Lecturer Ian Rotherham says, “They are surrounded by the highest standards of professional level work and they get to see the latest trends and techniques. That experience helps them learn from the judges’ critique and further develop their own ideas.”
Staff and students also attend the associated conference, where they can hear professionals speak passionately about their work.
Ian says it is equally important for the teaching staff to vie for the highly sought after awards. “As educators we need to know that we are ‘cutting it’ in the industry.”
As a lecturer in Photography at UCOL for 15 years, Ian says he has seen great changes in technology and teaching practises in that time. “Now everyone has a camera in their pocket, so the expectations of a professional photographer are even higher.”
“Digital imaging means we are teaching a lot faster – almost instantaneously. It is a real challenge to keep up with the latest technology, but that is exciting for us as lecturers and practitioners as well.”
The Iris Awards are the perfect opportunity to really push the envelope. “The ones who take the big risks are often rewarded.”
Ian says the NZIPP Awards experience is like ‘Paris Fashion Week for photographers’. It is where the envelope is well and truly pushed, and photographers challenge viewers’ with cutting edge and thought-provoking imagery.
Ian Rotherham gained a silver award for his Creative Portraiture entry at the International AIPA Australian Photography Awards, where UCOL Alumni Kelvin Gilbert, Dip Photog., was named AIPA International Photographer of the Year.
Photo: Ian Rotherham’s Gold Medal winning image at NZIPP Awards, Rocking it old school.