Excellence in photography celebrated at Iris Awards
The 2016 Epson/NZIPP Iris Professional Photography Awards spanned the week of June 16–20 in Wellington, with judging taking place at Shed 6 in front of a live audience, as well as being live-streamed, over the first three days. The judging was attended by more than 800 members of the public, as well as NZIPP members, delegates, and sponsors. The awards were then presented to the winners on the last evening of the NZIPP Infocus Conference. The Iris Awards attracts hundreds of entries from around the country and overseas every year, and this year’s event was no different, with 1139 images presented to panels of judges across the three-day period.
The Iris Awards invites entrants to submit up to four prints per category, with a maximum of 10 overall. The judging process is carried out with photographers’ images remaining anonymous, and a panel of five judges — featuring some of the most qualified and renowned national and international photographers — critique the images live in front of an audience of members of the photographic community and the public. Prints are assessed in terms of their innovation, photographic quality, and technical excellence, and judges score each one between 50 and 100. The awards that can be presented include Bronze, Silver, Silver Distinction, Gold, and the very coveted Gold Distinction. This year’s standards were exceptionally high, resulting in 821 awards presented, of which 13 were Gold Distinction, 59 were Gold, 61 were Silver Distinction, 252 were Silver, and 436 were Bronze.
Something that the organizers and judges noticed in the 2016 edition of the awards was a distinct change in direction in the images submitted, with a switch from the constructed imagery seen in the competition for a number of years towards images based on in-camera creativity and skill. This was noted during the selection of a number of category winners, as well as the portfolio of this year’s NZ Photographer of the Year. The judges really enjoyed the fresh and honest photography that was presented to them.
This year’s winner of the NZ Photographer of the Year award was Katherine Williams, and, in selecting her portfolio as the winning series, judges applauded the quiet beauty and sense of timelessness that the images possessed, and they also commented on how they provided a new direction for photography.
The 2016 Epson/NZIPP Iris Professional Photography Awards major winners were:
• NZ Photographer of the Year: Katherine Williams
• International Photographer of the Year: Lisa Saad
• Highest Scoring Print: Ilan Wittenberg
The Highest Scoring Grand Master award was bestowed on Richard Wood, and the James White Memorial Award (highestscoring first-time entrant who is an NZIPP member) went to Marama Shearer.
To see all the award-winning images, visit irisawards.org.nz.
Highest Scoring Print: Ilan Wittenberg
NZ Photographer of the Year: Katherine Williams
International Photographer of the Year: Lisa Saad