Photographer has winning way

Photographer Gillian Maclean showcases the medals she won as a part of the Photographic Society of New Zealand Sony Exhibition 2022. Photo: Supplied

INVERCARGILL photographer Gillian Maclean was surprised when she read the results
of the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) Sony Exhibition last month.

She could not believe that not only had she won Best Landscape Projected Image and a
PSNZ Bronze medal, but she also won the Ron Willems Digital Award for digital photographer of the year.

‘‘I was at work when I got the email from the club president telling me to check them and you could have blown me over with a feather to be fair.

‘‘It took a long time for it to sink in and a few days for me to realise what had happened.’’

Usually the exhibition had a print and digital section but, due to Covid-19, the submissions
had been restricted to digital only.

Maclean submitted four photos into the annual competition, which included a photo of the Tasman Glacier Lake, a shag, and one of her more creative pieces called Unravel, which
showcased a zebra and a tree with birds.

‘‘I love nature and I love looking at wildlife.’’

Her photo, Where words fail music speaks, won the bronze medal and featured a composite of musical instruments which belonged to her father and family members.

‘‘So dad’s quite musical so often I see music as beautiful.’’

Maclean can remember being interested in photography since her early 20s.

But she recalls her attempts to progress in the art were stubbed out early when her camera was stolen from her flat.

‘‘It’s a bit of a sad story but I was in Australia and I saved up and bought this camera and then we got burgled and they pinched all my photography gear, and at that age I had saved so long to get it and they wouldn’t insure us.’’

It was not until seven years ago that she decided to buy another camera and she never
looked back, Maclean said.

She was studying the New Zealand Diploma of Photography through distance learning with
the Southern Institute of Technology.

She was a part of the Southland Photographic Society and believed it helped in her success.

‘‘It always has in-house competitions and last week we went out to Queenstown and spent the weekend with international photographer of the year, Glen Howey.’’

Her advice to any other aspiring photographers was to join a photography group.

‘‘Some of them are awesome photographers and are happy to help you and they give you ideas and it makes you improve on your own photos.’’