Thursday, September 22 - Judges have selected 47 finalists from thousands of entries received in New Zealand’s largest and most popular photographic competition, with the exhibition coming to Karanga Plaza at Auckland's Viaduct from October 8 - November 6. It’s the largest exhibition in the competition’s history, featuring images and videos drawn from six categories: Landscape, Wildlife, Society & Culture, Photo Story, Timelapse and - new in 2016 - the Aerial category.
Entries span the length and breadth of the New Zealand Realm - from pancake ice in Antarctica’s Ross Sea to a black pearl farm in the remote Manihiki atoll of the Cook Islands, glowworms at the deepest point of a Waitomo cave, icy ridges at the crater lake of Mt Ruapehu, and the aurora australis at the geographic South Pole.
This year’s finalists represent high-level dedication to their stories and craft. One photographer broke into abandoned buildings in Christchurch’s Red Zone; another stayed up all night with a team of Central Otago rabbit hunters; a third spent a year documenting the quest to save the rowi, our rarest species of kiwi. The finalists offer insights into remarkable and rarely-seen corners of New Zealand - there’s a traditional curling competition that takes place only when the Central Otago ice is thick enough, an elusive flying fish captured in tack-sharp detail, an abandoned settlement on a sub-Antarctic island, and a multimillion-dollar mansion going up in flames.
Entries were judged by wildlife photographer Richard Robinson, press photographer Brett Phibbs, and New Zealand Geographic editor James Frankham. “Every year our server groans under the weight of more than 3000 entries, and we never know what’s going to turn up,” says Frankham. “The images and videos that made the cut are those that surprised and challenged us, or that demonstrated unique vision. The result is an exhibition that showcases the diversity of New Zealand and its inhabitants. They’re versions of a New Zealand that many of us might not know exists, or a perspective that few of us can enjoy. They show us the scrolls and curls of a river’s floodplain from above, the individual hairs on a wasp’s face, and the motion of surf from within the breaking wave.”
Now, the public is invited to put themselves in the judges’ seat and vote for their favourite image or timelapse - either onsite at the exhibition, or online atwww.nzgeo.com/photocomp. The finalist with the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award when winners are announced on October 27. Frankham expects it to be a closely-fought contest. “Although 36,000 votes were cast on the 29 finalists last year, it was a tight race, with only a few votes separating the top entries,” he says. “This year it’ll be a tough decision for the public given the the diversity and number of finalists.”
This is New Zealand’s most popular and richest photographic competition: Winners of each category receive $500 cash, publication in New Zealand Geographic and other prizes. The overall New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2016 will receive $1000 cash and a berth onboard a Heritage Expeditions voyage on assignment for New Zealand Geographic magazine. The Young Photographer of the Year 2016 receives $500 cash as well as special mentoring and a workshop with wildlife photographer Kim Westerskov. The People’s Choice winner also takes home $500 cash and other prizes. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on October 26.
- Visit the Photographer of the Year exhibition at Karanga Plaza, opposite Viaduct Events Centre from October 8 - November 6 (10am-5pm daily).
- Vote for the People’s Choice Award on-site at the exhibition or atnzgeo.com/photocomp.
- The exhibition features 47 finalists in six categories, as well as some of the best work from previous years of the contest. It will be the largest Photographer of the Year exhibition ever staged.
- Winners will be announced on October 27. ￼￼￼￼
Categories are Landscape, Wildlife, Society & Culture, Photo Story, Timelapse, and Aerial.
All finalists’ work was photographed or videoed within New Zealand or its overseas dependencies.
New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year has taken place since 2009 - this is the eighth year of the competition.