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Citizen journalism wins 2019 Nikon Auckland Photo Day

20 Jun 2019
Citizen journalism wins 2019 Nikon Auckland Photo Day

The winners of 2019’s Nikon Auckland Photo Day have been decided:

First Prize: Sleeping With My Mate by Neil Ihaia

Second prize:  Youth, yet to be entertained by Steve Pettigrew

Third prize:  Inside Out by Manon Fleurentin

Moving image winner: First Impressions by Michelle Vergel de Dios

AFP’s 24-hour day in the life of Auckland competition took place on Saturday 8 June and attracted hundreds of photographers – despite tumultuous weather. Since the annual competition began 15 years ago it has created an archive of more than 12,000 unique images of Auckland. This year’s competition judges were photographer Qiane Matata-Sipu, video artist Alex Plumb and photographer James K Lowe.

First prize; Sleeping With My Mate by Neil Ihaia, Beach Haven wins Nikon D5600 – offers plenty of room to grow with tools for pushing the boundaries of your creativity as far as they will bend.

Judges’ comment: “The entries to this year’s competition were of very high standard and made judging tough. We chose 'Sleeping With My Mate' as the winning photograph as the person’s situation is raw and compelling. The photographer documents a powerful, moving moment of love and care, with a sense of citizen journalism. The merit of this image lies in the subject matter that you can’t ignore, it is a portrait of Auckland’s most vulnerable part of society. ”

Neil Ihaia is a motorcyclist who does charity runs, is 60 years old and photography has been a hobby for about five years. “I do a lot of sports, not a lot of portraits. I was in Auckland and it was quite a tricky day to take pictures because of the weather. I was at Aotea Square and saw her there. Because of the way she is laying with her dog, and not many homeless people have dogs, I thought it would make a good photograph.”

Announcing the Nikon Auckland Photo Day winners follows this year’s successful festival with more than 100 events and exhibitions across the region and a Talking Culture public programme featuring international guests.

AFP director Julia Durkin says Nikon Auckland Photo Day remains the nation’s biggest community shoot on any given day.

Each year, Nikon Auckland Photo Day invites the community to share their day in our city. We’re thrilled with the quality of this year's images, especially given the gale force winds on June 8. We applaud the hundreds of participants for their dedication to sharing their visual conversations of Auckland and are delighted to give our judges’ prize winners the top cameras from our partners at Nikon. We invite everyone to be the judge in our People's Choice voting."

Second prize - Youth, yet to be entertained, Steve Pettigrew, Mairangi Bay wins Nikon D3500  – designed for sharing any moment.

Judges’ comment: “This photograph is mysterious and cinematic. The subject’s arresting gaze draws us in, it’s heavy and haunting. The framing makes you feel uncomfortable because the subject is cut off from the world. It creates a sense of isolation and loneliness. There is a mystery and story to them we want to know more of.”          

The judges’ winners from this year’s competition and their shortlist of 30 entries encompass many of the tales of our city – from eerie bus stops and storm flotsam to kids at Warriors games – and can be seen online from Thursday 20 June.

That’s also when online voting for the People’s Choice category of 2019 Nikon Auckland Photo Day opens at: 

The winner of the People’s Choice category receives the Nikon Coolpix A1000 – with a high-power zoom, high definition images and astounding operability.

"We are so proud of our ongoing relationship with the Auckland Festival of Photography and the Nikon Auckland Photo Day” says Steven Woodman, Marketing Manager, Nikon New Zealand. “Nikon is particularly passionate about enabling photographers to contribute to the New Zealand narrative, and again this year we’ve been inspired by the unique vision and exploration of possibilities from our Auckland community of creatives”

Third prize; Inside Out by Manon Fleurentin, Henderson wins Nikon J5 Bundle  – with a 10-30mm and 30-110mm lens combo, the chic and compact interchangeable lens.

Judges’ comment: “This image encapsulates a great moment in time. We like the way the photographer has composed the image, encompassing the wider landscape. They have successfully captured the elements and their consideration of tone and colour elevates the photograph beyond the mundane. The mood it sets really draws the viewer in.”

Manon was born in France and settled in Auckland in 2006. She started doing photography when she had her daughter.

“When I had my first baby in 2010 I started taking photographs of her and things around me. I got my first Nikon D5100 in 2011. I was quite excited to take part this year because in last year’s competition I was in the top 30. We decided to take a family walk on Te Atatu Peninsula. Thankfully we had an umbrella. My daughter is always walking in front of us and it was very funny because she was trying to hold onto the umbrella as the wind behind us blew a gale.”

Moving Image prize - First Impressions by Michelle Vergel de Dios, Glenfield wins a Nikon J5 – blending speed, versatility and image quality, a sleek mirrorless digital camera designed for the multimedia photographer on-the-go.

Judges’ comment: “The winning video is an honest reflection about an immigrant’s experience in a new environment. It plays with the notions of time and place, and how we arrive at calling somewhere home. A nice reminder of the cultural diversity and all the stories that make up Auckland.”

This is the second time that Michelle Vergel de Dios has won this category, having won the 2017 Moving Image prize.

“The truth is I wasn’t sure what I was going to do this year. The morning of June 8 was probably the windiest day for some months so we drove around, went back home. I thought I wouldn’t have a chance. My partner suggested we take a drive that evening. I didn’t have any predetermined idea but was just filming the journey. This sparked some reflections of my first night in New Zealand. It made me think about when I arrived here, about the same time of year. It brought back those memories and made me realise how much my life had changed in the twelve years. Before, when I arrived, it kind of felt like a foreign land, I felt anxious, fearful of the future. Now it’s familiar and I can take it for granted but now I feel much more at home.”


First Impressions - Moving Image Prize by Michelle Vergel de Dios