Archive for Awards

The 2014 PSNZ North Shore Salon

A few weeks ago I was part of a team of photographers who judged the Photographic Society of New Zealand‘s North Shore Salon.  The PSNZ North Shore Salon is an annual event which is now in it’s 19th year, and although it is run by an ‘amateur’ photographic society, it attracts entries from both amateur, professional and semi-professional photographers.

I was part of the ‘prints team’ who judged physical entries (as opposed to digitally submitted entries) and we had a great day looking at the images, deliberating together (i.e., arguing in the nicest possible manner) and making our selections.  This is the second time I’ve judged this particular competition, and being amongst all those very keen photographers pursuing their art for their own personal pleasure was so refreshing and enjoyable.  You can view all of this years’ winners HERE

Being in that environment made me reflect upon the first competition I entered when I worked for Photography by Woolf.  The Woolf family was always heavily involved and a firm supporter of the PSNZ and as employees we were enthusiastically encouraged to enter the various national competitions.  I still remember my boss’ stunned expression when I opened the results packet from my first ever entry and innocently asked, “What’s the Maadi Cup?”.  It turned out it was the top B&W award and it was pretty much unheard of for it to be won by a first time entrant.

I’ve kind of been hooked on competitions ever since!


I dug through my old neg files for this post and found a ‘reject’ print of my entry in the folder.  The winning image was a portrait of Rebecca, a gorgeous girl I went to school with who had agreed to model for me for my 7th form bursary portfolio.

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Iris awards results!

I have recently returned to the office following a bit of a ‘winter break’ which included attending the NZIPP Iris Awards and Conference, which was held in Auckland this year.  I guess you can tell if someone loves their job or not when their winter ‘shut-down’ basically involves them immersing themselves in their profession!

I am planning another post to have a bit of a debrief about the conference itself (which was excellent), but in the meantime I wanted to do a very brief post to show off my awards!

I received a total of four bronzes this year, two in the Wedding Creative category, one in the Wedding Classic category and one in the Portrait Classic category.  This is what they look like…





And it also came as a bit of a surprise to me to be awarded another bar to my Masters.  This signifies that you have received a total of 10 extra points to the merit system (including at least two silvers) during a four year period.  Bronzes are only worth one point each so I must have had points still stacked up from last year so that was pretty cool… observant few may note that I photographed my shiny thing on a bed of hail, the result of some intense weather that flew through Waiheke this morning… just to show visually how cool it really is. (ahem, sorry just couldn’t help myself).

NZIPP bar to masters_Emma Hughes

Thanks to my lovely (award winning) clients – Toby and Cat, Julika and Nathan, Brenda Long, and Kate and Russell.  You can see all the award winners from the 2013 NZIPP Iris Awards HERE

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Iris is coming…

This is the last week to get entries submitted for the 2013 NZIPP Annual Iris Awards… always a roller-coaster of a ride as photographers submit their favourite images from the year and wait breathlessly to see if a panel of their peers love or loathe them.

Sometimes your efforts are lauded.  Sometimes you feel like you have had the rug pulled out from under you.  Sometime the judges don’t even comment on your image. (This sucks muchly). During the course of the judging you can run the gamut of emotions, feeling at times on a total high or like you just want to crawl into a quiet dark space and wallow…. maybe even disappear for a little while.  Actually some do disappear, but you find them quite easily later in the hotel bar.

In an industry that is populated by the ‘creatively curious’ the awards are a really exciting showcase of evocative and compelling work.  It’s also quite addictive and year after year professional photographers gather to try their luck and enjoy the challenge and process.  And, of course, to hang out with photography friends from all over the country who also make the annual pilgrimage to the awards and convention.

This year, the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers convention is being held in Auckland at The Pullman Hotel from the 1-5th August.  The judging is open to the public so if you are interested you can go and watch the proceedings at the following times;

2013 Iris awards approx timetable
I submitted my entries digitally last week and Lance is now frantically matting the prints for delivery this week.   This year I had my images printed by Lee-Ann at Tawa Imaging who did a spectacular job as always.  (Lee-Ann does all my canvas printing for my portrait clients but this is the first year I have got her to do my award entries).

The 2012 NZIPP Iris Awards Touring Exhibition was part of the Auckland Festival of Photography this year and a couple of my award winning images were on display (please excuse the dodgy Instagram iphone pics!  Highly professional.).  If you are interested in seeing all the winners from last years awards you can do so HERE.

nzipp 2013 taveling exhibition

Good luck to everyone who enters this year.  xx

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Happy Valentine’s Day Waiheke!!

This beautiful bouquet from Vicki at Wildflower is absolutely FREE to the first person who comes into the Emma Hughes Photography gallery (cnr Oceanview Rd and Tui St) and asks for it!  I used it in a workshop shoot yesterday down at Little Oneroa but it now needs a new home and Valentine’s day is the perfect day to give it away.  Be in QUICK!

Yesterday was a big day, as we also had the official opening on the Island Five Exhibition, showcasing the award winning work of five Waiheke Island Photographers.  They are Lauretta Quax, Blair Quax, Phillipa Karn, Alice Doig and Emma Hughes (that’s me!).  There’s quite a broad range of phtoography there from weddings work to person portraits and some amazing landscapes.  The exhibition is on at Cable Bay Vineyards until the 24th of February.

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The 2012 Kodak Gold Awards

Last week I found out that I had received both a Gold Award AND a Silver Award at this year’s Kodak Gold Awards.  Both were for my portrait work.  The Silver was a photograph of the gorgeous Mattson family down at Oneroa beach, an image which is typical of my style of relaxed family portraiture. (Book in quick for your Christmas portrait… everyone loves to receive photos of the people they cherish so photos make GREAT Christmas pressies!).

The Gold Award was for a studio portrait of beautiful local treasure Terri Woolmore Goodwin.  She is one of the many lovely “Senior Citizens” who will be featured in an up coming exhibition I am doing of the “Young at Heart” on Waiheke.  She was the first person I photographed for the exhibition and I am absolutely rapt that her image received an award.

More on the exhibition later… :)

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Judge Dread

No, this is not a post about a rugged vigilante crusader for the forces of justice!  Rather, it is a few of my meandering thoughts on the experience of being a judge at this years NZIPP Iris Awards.

It was my second year judging, although in 2011 I was what is known as a ‘trial judge’, which means that I only went on the panel for short periods of time so that the powers that be could assess my judging abilities and make sure I was up to the task.  Well, I guess I passed the test because this year I sat on four different categories, judging for a full two days from 9am – 6:30 each evening.  It was pretty intense… but I absolutely loved it.

An Iris Awards panel consists of five judges, and these judges are cycled around by the Panel Chairs who do an exceptional job of ensuring that no judge is sitting before their own work or the work of any other photographer they have opted not to judge.  (You are, of course, not allowed to judge your own work, your spouses work or anyone who works for you, but in addition to this you are able to nominate photographers you do not want to judge.  For me this means choosing not to judge any other professional photographers on Waiheke Island.)

During the process, the judges are being watched by a room full of hopeful photographers, the creators of these wonderful images you are assessing, all waiting with pounding hearts to hear the scores that their labours of love will receive.  The occasional time I looked behind me, I was desperately hoping I wouldn’t recognise anyone in the audience, knowing that there was a chance I may dash their dreams by not loving their image as much as they did.

As a judge, you get so involved in the task at hand that the time goes by really quickly, and the apprehension of ‘passing judgment’ is soothed by the opportunity set before you to fight for an image and potentially talk it up into a higher award.

To explain this further; a print is given an initial score and if the judges opinions differ, a discussion ensues during which you have to defend the reasons for the score you have given, and have a chance to argue for an image and attempt to change the opinions of your fellow judges.  Being able to talk an image up to a higher award, sometimes even a Gold is a wonderful feeling.  On the flipside, it can be bitterly disappointing to believe strongly in an image and find that you have failed to convince any one else!

As a matter of fact, it took a full seven days following Print Judging for me to stop waking from my nights slumber fighting for images that had come before me.  Images that I wished I had found better words for.  Trust me, I know that a lot of people are disappointed with the scores their prints may receive, but judging the Iris Awards is serious business and the judges put their heart and soul into it.  No decisions are taken lightly.

And THEN I would take my turn as a member of the audience when one of my own images would come up, and I would suffer the same fiercely pounding heart as the other watchers in the darkened room.  The pounding that seems so loud in your own ears that you are sure the person sitting next to you can hear it and will surely realise that the image is yours due to the cold sweat that has just broken out on your brow.

If one of images didn’t score as well as I had hoped, I would mutter ‘blimmin judges, what do they know anyway’ in my head.  Funny!  We’re a sensitive bunch, us photographers, but after many years I have mellowed enough to know that this ‘judging discontent’ is just one of the many charms of attending a NZIPP print judging, regardless of if you are sitting in judgement or sitting in the audience!

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