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Janet Barratt wins Trustpower photo competition

Janet Barratt, winner of the 2019 Trustpower Photographic Exhibition with her entry ‘Trapped’.

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Omokoroa resident Janet Barratt, winner of the 2019 Trustpower Photographic Exhibition, was stunned to find herself winning on her first time entering the competition.

“It was buzzy!” says Janet on her $5,000 win. “I never expected to be in the top twenty, so I was absolutely blown away by it.”

Janet’s photograph ‘Trapped’ was taken while she was on holiday in the United Kingdom and visiting Chester Zoo. The photograph shows a mandrill monkey’s face with hand raised.

Many of the finalists, along with Tauranga Mainstreet businesses, sponsors and stakeholders attended the 2019 Trustpower Photographic Awards on Friday night. This is the third year of the region’s largest outdoor photographic exhibition.  

Held at ‘Our Place’ in Willow Street, the top three winners were announced, with the exhibition of the twenty finalists opening directly afterwards on The Strand. The top three winners share the $10,000 cash prize pool, and will be featured in The Weekend Sun and UNO. Magazine. Winning photos will also be sent to Tauranga’s sister city Hitachi, Japan to appear there in a photographic display.

Coming in second and third place were ‘Strictly for the Birds’ by Chris Taylor and ‘Military Display on Waitangi Day’ by Joshua Hodgson.

“This year we asked photographers from amateur and professional to look beyond the lens of the camera and capture majestic evocative photos that tell stories of finding beauty,” says Millie Newitt from Downtown Tauranga.

“For the last two years, we had four categories, whereas this year we had the one over-arching theme of finding beauty.”

Chris Tayler with ‘Strictly for the Birds’.

This year’s judging panel comprised Carolyn Schofield from Trustpower, Jenny Rudd from UNO. Magazine and Millie Newitt from Downtown Tauranga.

“Last year we had 2092 entries,” says Millie. “This year when we closed on Thursday January 10, we had 3698 entries.  It’s an amazing number of entries and as judges we were completely blown away not only by the number but by the calibre of the entries.

“So many of the images told a beautiful story and captured us emotively.”

Twenty winning images were chosen from the 3,698 entries, to represent this year’s theme of ‘Finding Beauty’.

“I’m a very proud sponsor of this fantastic exhibition,” says Jenny. “Without Trustpower putting their money behind this initiative, it would not be here. It’s such a generous thing to do and it really does feed the soul of our city to allow people to take photos, enter them into a competition, and win real genuine prizes and have them exhibited so we can all enjoy what we enjoy about the local area. We can watch other people’s enjoyment through photos and go and see it with our friends. It really encourages us to enjoy art and to recognise it as an important and powerful part of our life.

“We enjoyed every minute of it, looking at the photos. The fairest way to do it was to look at it with an open heart and an open mind and a real love and excitement for our locality, our country and our world.

“As we looked at each image, we thought, what does it do? How does it make us feel when we look at it? For finding beauty it doesn’t have to be something totally and utterly perfect.  What does it mean to that person? Does it tell a bit of a story? Do we look at that image and say I can look at that again and again and find something else there? What will it do for other people?  Will it make people ask questions? That was the feeling that we had behind it.”

“It was amazing to look through the images. It was good fun.”

“Trustpower is a Tauranga company,” says Carolyn. “Tauranga is our home and it’s very important to us to be involved in the communities in which we operate. This exhibition adds something to the local community. It gives an extra element to locals and visitors walking along the Strand in the summer.

“And we love the fact that the competition is open to amateurs, professionals and anyone of any age.”

“The identity of the person is completely invisible to us when we do the judging. We have no idea who the photographer is. The fact that the competition puts a five-year-old on the same playing field as a 50-year-old professional photographer is fantastic and we love being involved because it’s so much fun and it’s becoming so quickly so much a part of the community.

“Opening it up this year has led to the most diverse collection of photos we’ve had, and that’s been wonderful. It’s added a whole other element.”

Joshua Hodgson with ‘Military Display on Waitangi Day’.

The winning photograph, captured by Janet Barratt, was a stand out for the judges. Her subject, a mandrill, is the largest monkey in the world, well-known for its brightly coloured face.

 

“Of all the photos I looked at, this one made me feel the most intense emotion,” says Millie. “What a beautiful, honest and authentic image where the photographer has found beauty even in captivity, it is such a raw and true moment.”

Janet’s winning large-scale image, sponsored by Priority One, features alongside the 19 other finalists in the Bay’s largest outdoor photo exhibition which opened on Friday night on The Strand and acts as a showcase of New Zealand’s creative talent.

“I photographed this at the Chester Zoo in England about 18 months ago,” says Janet. “He was looking at me through glass and I was thinking he’s got the look on his face that says ‘I’m the lucky one because I’m sitting inside this cage being well-fed and well-cared for and you’re out there having to look after yourself and having to fend for yourself, and it must be wild out there’.

Asked about what it feels like to win $5000, Janet smiles.

“That’s a good amount! I haven’t even thought about it yet, it’s still sinking in that I’ve won it!”

Chris Taylor was surprised to find himself once again in the top twenty. In 2018, he also reached the finals, achieving a Highly Recommended with his photograph ‘Mid-winter plunge’.  

“To find myself in the top twenty again this year was absolutely amazing,” says Chris, who works doing credit management nationally for Repco Autoparts.

Chris entered more than one photo into the 2019 competition, and was surprised to find the image that won second place was not his pick of the collection he’d entered.

“It was very hard because finding beauty leaves it open to very wide interpretation,” says Chris. “So it’s quite challenging. I really struggled actually to find something. Probably at least one of the ones I put in I thought was pretty much on the mark of what I wanted. But that one wasn’t chosen.

“It’s just amazing to be in the top twenty and to be part of the display on The Strand.”

The second and third place images, ‘Strictly for the Birds’ by Chris Taylor and ‘Military Display on Waitangi Day’ by Joshua Hodgson, received exceptional praise from the judges.

 

“I love the energy and movement in Chris’s photo,” says Carolyn. “Many of the images entered were beautiful but static. This image really stands out because of the feeling of energy that it has captured and the story that it tells. It’s about the beauty of raw nature.”

 

“The gentle humour in Joshua’s photo makes his photo stand out. There is lots of visual interest and the composition holds your attention.”

The 2019 Trustpower Photographic Exhibition on The Strand.

Rob Duncanson ended up with two images making it into the final top 20.

“It was quite humbling,” says Rob, who by day works in the air conditioning industry, at HVAC Design.

One of his images, ‘Rural Castle’, is a rural scene near Masterton, with five sheep looking out from an old shed at the camera.

“I was a long way away and I had taken the wrong road to get to where I needed to be,” says Rob. “It was a lucky find and the image just really resonated with me, being from a small town in a rural area. So I really love it.”

“I do air conditioning but I’ve been a sneaky photographer for a very long time,” he jokes. “Maybe I’ll branch more into photography as a future retirement business. Who knows?”

Now that the judges have chosen, it’s the turn of the public to make a ‘People’s Choice’. Text CHOICE and the photo code displayed on the photo info panels to 559 and be in to win ‘Dinner for Two in Downtown Tauranga’.

The 2019 Trustpower Photographic Exhibition on The Strand.

The exhibition on The Strand will run until April 14, 2019.

 

This year’s full list of winners:

First Place:

Janet Barratt - ‘Trapped’

Second Place:

Chris Taylor - ‘Strictly for the Birds’

Third Place:

Joshua Hodgson - ‘Military Display on Waitangi Day’

Highly Commended (in no particular order)

Chris Bold - ‘Unearthing a Hangi’

Elijah Tay - ‘Soar’

Robyn Hay - ‘Day’s End’

Andrew Ogilvie - ‘Koi Perspective’

Jaymie Donovan - ‘Pure Joy’

Olga Macagon - ‘Mama I Love You’

Andy Belcher - ‘Flower Power’

Ilan Wittenberg - ‘Jorja’

Werner Kaffl - ‘Whirlpool’

Fiona Violich - ‘Caught in a Kete’

Sam Murdie - ‘Life of a Dog in Summer’

Rob Duncanson - ‘Fading but Still Beautiful’

Emma Soffe - ‘Take a Moment’

Rob Duncanson - ‘Rural Castle’

Jahl Marshall - ‘Pick Me’

Kyle Barnes - ‘Innocence’

Elijah Nino Mondero - ‘Resting Pigs’

 

The 2019 Trustpower Photographic Exhibition on The Strand.

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