Capturing our many Young Achievers
He’s the man behind the lens for the stunning series of photographs that portray Rotorua’s Young Achievers’, but he never planned on becoming a photographer.
Andrew Warner took over photography duties for the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust’s (RECT) annual recognition of Rotorua’s youngest and brightest, serialised every year in the Rotorua Review, when original photographer and Young Achievers’ founder Owen Howard died.
For Warner, it all started in the late 1990s with a job at Rotorua Museum.
‘‘My role there was exhibitions technician/photographer so I was responsible for photographing all the exhibitions and acquisitions as well as running the small darkroom. I printed from amazing old glass plate negatives and copied many old photographs of the Rotorua Region,’’ he said.
‘‘Photography was never an intended occupation but once I was given the opportunity I knew that I had found my niche.’’
Warner said he got the call from then RECT chair Grahame Hall four years ago asking to take over photography duty, and ‘‘jumped at the chance’’.
‘‘I am always conscious of doing the best possible job to honour what Owen Howard estab- lished and grew into a unique and special part of the Rotorua Community,’’ he said.
‘‘I see my role now as helping to continue its growth and relevance in the Rotorua Community.’’
Warner said another unique aspect to the Young Achievers’ photographs was the collaboration involved in their creation.
‘‘We meet with all of the students a few weeks before the main shoot and the head and shoulder portraits are taken at this time,’’ he said.
‘‘After the photos are taken we sit down with the students to dis- cuss how they would like their photo taken. This is a key part of the process because it is the student’s idea which determines the final product.
‘‘I am only a facilitator of their idea but it draws the students into the process as well because they now have a stake in the outcome. My policy is to say yes to the idea first and then worry about how we can make it happen later.’’
The Young Achievers’ portraits will be on display at Pak n’ Save from October 30 to November 18, and then at the Rotorua Lakes Council foyer from November 19 to December 8.