Burn­ing steel wool shot im­presses

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SHEL­LEY GRECO

A woman who uses pho­tog­ra­phy as a means to cope with a de­bil­i­tat­ing med­i­cal con­di­tion has won the Peo­ple’s Choice prize in a one-day pho­tog­ra­phy com­pe­ti­tion.

Mir­jam van Sabben’s shot, Through Fire and Wa­ter, re­ceived hun­dreds of votes in the Nikon Auck­land Photo Day com­pe­ti­tion, part of the Auck­land Fes­ti­val of Pho­tog­ra­phy.

The Auck­land woman cap­tured the image us­ing the steel wool tech­nique, which must be shot 30-45 min­utes af­ter sun­set.

‘‘I bought an E-book on night pho­tog­ra­phy,’’ she says.

‘‘I read it again and thought, ‘I’m go­ing to try that’.

‘‘It took many dif­fer­ent shots.’’

Van Sabben’s tech­nique in­volves steel wool, an egg whisk, a dog lead and a lighter.

Her hus­band, Paul Dadd, was on-hand to as­sist in get­ting the ul­ti­mate photo.

‘‘He was re­ally com­mit­ted to that shot and he sug­gested we go into the wa­ter to get the re­flec­tion.

‘‘He stood in there un­til we got the shot so I couldn’t do this with­out his sup­port and help.’’

Van Sabben suf­fers with fi­bromyal­gia, a dis­or­der that causes mus­cle pain and fa­tigue, which means she is un­able to work.

She uses her pho­tog­ra­phy to es­cape the pain she feels daily.

‘‘It re­freshes me, but I pay for it phys­i­cally,’’ she says.

‘‘One day when I was pray­ing, I was re­minded of how steel wool is some­thing that is harsh but can also pro­duce beauty as well through this tech­nique.

‘‘I was en­cour­aged to know that although liv­ing with pain ev­ery day is hard and at times just down­right ugly, my pho­tog­ra­phy en­ables me to es­cape this in moments where I can pro­duce and cap­ture beauty.’’

The pho­tog­ra­pher of 20 years has en­tered the com­pe­ti­tion ev­ery year since 2007.

She was a fi­nal­ist in 2007 and 2012 but has never been a win­ner un­til now.

‘‘I do it be­cause I love it and it’s the high­light of my year.’’

She plans to cre­ate a se­ries of pho­tos us­ing the same steel wool tech­nique.

Unique tech­nique: Mir­jam van Sabben’s win­ning shot, Through Fire and Wa­ter.


Win­ning pho­tog­ra­pher: Mir­jam van Sabben with some of her port­fo­lio pho­tos, in­clud­ing one that sold dur­ing the Auck­land Fes­ti­val of Pho­tog­ra­phy.

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