NZPhotographer Issue 25, November 2019

nzphotographer

Whether you’re an enthusiastic weekend snapper or a beginner who wants to learn more about photography, New Zealand Photographer is the fun e-magazine for all Kiwi camera owners.

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

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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.

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