SHONA, WHAT’S YOUR BACKGROUND? I studied to be a dietitian but eventually started up my own food business, opening a delicatessen and catering business in Karori. After 10 years of that I set up a private practice in Sports Nutrition at Wellington Sports Med Clinic and at the same time I joined my husband in the coffee business – we imported green coffee and roasted it for the hospitality industry, and imported coffee machinery. I sold my nutrition practice in 2000 and concentrated on the coffee business until we sold that in 2003 essentially becoming “retired”. At this point we moved from Wellington to a lifestyle block in Reikorangi – a beautiful valley 10 km inland from Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast. Once we moved, I would see people – clients from my nutrition practice and from the coffee business who would greet me and say “so, now you are not working, what do you do all day?” On a 10 acre property, there is always plenty to do. We grow a lot of our own veggies, we have animals – little highland cattle – although my husband looks after them. We have regular house guests – friends to stay. I enjoy reading, good movies, and listening to classical music. I am also learning to speak Czech – it’s a challenge. I have an excellent teacher whom I meet up with once a week in Wellington. I am currently the chairperson of the Judge Accreditation Panel for the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) and along with Bruce Girdwood, run 3–4 training weekends throughout New Zealand per year. These aim to be an introduction to photographic assessment with an emphasis on respect for the photographer and the image they have made. WHEN DID PHOTOGRAPHY ENTER YOUR LIFE? When I was 10, a very enlightened schoolteacher set up a makeshift darkroom in our classroom. We were taught how to make a black and white print from a negative and from that moment I was hooked, wanting to be a photographer when I grew up. However, we lived in a very remote part of rural New Zealand – about 40km from Gisborne and there were not any opportunities in Gisborne for women in particular to make a career in photography. When I went overseas on my 2 year O.E based in London but travelling around the UK and Europe I bought my first SLR. It was a Praktica, very heavy (although probably not as heavy as some of today’s DSLR’s with a zoom lens) and it was totally manual – manual exposure, manual focus. There was a little needle you could see in the viewfinder which gave you a guide in terms of correct exposure. Friends and family commented very favourably on the images I created so I thought I must be pretty good. The reality was, the images had straight horizons, were in 16 NZPhotographer focus where they should be and were generally quite nicely composed, but that was all – I did not have the money to indulge to a degree where I could expand my skills until digital cameras came along. In 2001 my husband suggested that perhaps the coffee business needed to have a digital camera to record various events we were involved with. Of course, I agreed wholeheartedly and promptly went out and purchased a Canon Powershot G1. I read the manual from start to finish – there were 2 puzzles. First, the camera was capable of recording raw files – what the heck were they? More seriously though, there was a significant section headed “Degrees Kelvin” I spent a lot of time on that and ended up none the wiser – until I went out on a beautiful sunny day in Zurich with the camera set to tungsten. In 2004 I joined the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) and at the beginning of 2005 what was then called the Waikanae Camera Club, now called the Kapiti Coast Photographic Society (KCPS). I ended up as president of KCPS 2007–2008 and president of PSNZ 2012–2013. I think the problem is that I don’t see problems, I see solutions and then I open my mouth!! However, I have a strong belief in “giving back” and sometimes this can tend to take over your life. For me now, it is time to spend more energy on my own photography.