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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: Ara Institute of Canterbury

Three students from Ara’s Art and Design department have dominated the student category at New Zealand’s NZIPP/NIKON Iris Professional Photography Awards, each receiving accolades for their respective entries.

Harvey Colina achieved outstanding success, winning the top honour: Momento Pro NZIPP Student of the Year Award – which comes in the form of a crystal trophy and $500 voucher from Momento Pro.  Colina’s folio of two pieces was also awarded ‘Silver with Distinction’.

“I am still lost for words as to what I should feel,” Colina said. “It’s an amazing feeling to win as it adds such a boost of confidence to think that my name is getting more known as an artist and that all the work I’ve done is being recognized.”

Colina’s first piece, entitled In The Land Of The Blind The One Eyed Man Is King, was inspired by his curiosity regarding economics.

“I wanted to create a piece of work that was influenced by the power of the private sector to make a huge impact on the world’s economy, through their ethics and the environmental issues that arise from big brands ignoring sustainability and human rights. I always love the colour red, it stands out and keeps our eyes thinking. It also represents violence, danger, anger and greediness which relates to the context of the image.”

His second piece Graves In Heaven is inspired by themes of mental illness including dementia and Alzheimer’s.

“I saw an ad on television which featured the ‘Department of lost nights’, which refers to drunken nights where memories are forgotten. It got me thinking: what if people who are affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s experience a similar feeling during their memory loss? They are alive but they aren’t in control of what is happening with their own thoughts and actions.”

“I used pink and cyan colours and clouds in this image to symbolize the subject floating in Cloud 9, unaware and happy; however not in control of his own actions and memories.”

Both runner-up places in the Student Category were also awarded to Ara students with Bridie Mckenna gaining ‘Silver with Distinction’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Bronze’ for her entries and Hamish Hobbs a ‘Gold’ and ‘Bronze’ for two pieces. Hobbs received the highest scoring entry in the Student category for the 2020 NZIPP Iris Awards with his gold entry which scored an impressive 91 out of a possible 100 points.

Mckenna’s highest scoring entry, which she created during the lockdown, is a piece called Beautiful Decay. This is the first of a collection that was inspired by the Christchurch earthquakes and her mother’s decline into schizophrenia which was triggered by the quakes.

“This piece was exhibited across New Zealand as part of a collection of New Zealand works based on isolation. It was displayed on digital media displays in public areas and is now being shown around China in the same manner.”

Hobbs said he was “pretty surprised” to have the top scoring entry. His collection of incredible night sky imagery is based on exploring the technical processes of photography and pushing photographic manipulation.

“Every time I go out to take photos there’s something to learn from and change for next time; whether it’s a compositional element, technical process or a piece of equipment that doesn’t suit the overall image. It’s been a developing process for the last four years, each Milky Way season.”

John Maillard, Programme Leader of Photography at Ara said, “For me these awards mean the students are recognised by industry as the best in NZ. We are proud of their achievements and I’m also proud of the hard work our Ara tutors put into helping and supporting the students.”

This is the second year in a row that Ara has won all three places in the Student Category of the NZIPP/NIKON Iris Professional Photography Awards.

Further information on the NZIPP/NIKON Iris Professional Photography Awards:

The New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) is an internationally recognised organisation, and the only qualifying body for professional photographers in New Zealand. NZIPP (New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography) represents the professional photographic industry in New Zealand.

The Iris Professional Photography Awards are organised by the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) and supported by major sponsor NIKON. These annual awards, open to all New Zealand and International professional photographers , have been running for more than 35 years. The Awards celebrate the innovation and excellence of professional photography today, providing a platform for recognition within the wider photographic community and with the general public.