Photographer snaps top contest shot

17:00, Jul 25 2013
Harriet McDonald
SHUTTERBUG: Harriet McDonald has been named this year’s Amateur Monochrome Photographer of the Year in the Nikon D-Photo Amateur Photographer competition.

Harriet McDonald tries to be an invisible presence in the inner-city chaos of Queen St.

With a camera in tow, she can often be found searching Auckland's streets for that perfect shot.

The Freemans Bay photographer was honoured as the country's leading amateur monochrome photographer in the annual Nikon D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition on July 16.

Harriet McDonald
INSPIRED: Ms McDonald’s black and white portrait was chosen from a record 3458 submissions from across the country. The piece was inspired by the portraiture of the great 20th century photographer Man Ray.

Ms McDonald's black and white portrait was chosen from a record 3458 submissions. The piece was inspired by the portraiture of 20th century photographer Man Ray.

Not bad for an amateur who up until two years ago was still taking snaps with a faithful point-and-shoot.

"I really enjoy candid photography, so I like being as invisible as I can.


"Knowing your camera has to be second nature. If you don't know your settings or know how intuitively your camera works you lose precious time."

Ms McDonald has completed a law degree and was admitted to the bar last year.

It wasn't until her partner pointed out that she had an eye for photography that she decided to embark on further study to explore the craft.

Taking photos of sometimes unwilling subjects is tricky territory that each new photographer has to cross.

"Digital photography has changed photography so much and I don't know whether it's for the better.

"What you can do with digital photography is phenomenal but people are very wary about getting their photo taken and where it's going to end up."

Before the internet, photographers could shoot subjects and be completely ignored as people carried on about their business.

"They got so many amazing street photographs. So I try to be a fly-on-the-wall and be a bit more covert."

New Zealand's amateur photography scene is in the finest state it's ever been in, D-Photo magazine editor Adrian Hatwell says.

Ms McDonald's work stood out in the most successful edition of the competition the publication has yet hosted. "Each year there is a marked increase in entries over the year before and the quality in that top tier seems to grow exponentially as well," he says.

Auckland City Harbour News