Juliet's a happy camper

17:00, Sep 13 2012
Juliet Hopkins
SNAP HAPPY: It’s the quirky view of a day in the life that has gained 69-year-old Juliet Hopkins a spot in the Pingyao International Photography Festival this month.

Juliet Hopkins' snap of a freedom camper's washing has earned her a spot in an international photography festival.

The 69-year-old Henderson resident is one of 42 Auckland-based photographers whose work will be shown in China as part of the AsiaPacific Photoforum.

"It's so strange. I remember getting the email to say I'd made the cut and then I had to get on the phone to make sure this wasn't a mistake," she says.

But it was all true.

Mrs Hopkins' humorous Hung Out to Dry photo which made the 2012 Nikon Auckland Photo Day Festival in June this year will now feature at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China.

"I guess it was the quirky nature of the photo that caught their eye," she says.


"It truly is humbling and I do feel very honoured. Shocked and honoured."

Mrs Hopkins started photography as a hobby about five years ago while she was in charge of co-ordinating night courses at Waitakere College.

She was forced into retirement three years ago when funding for the programmes was cut but her passion for photography lived on.

She's gone from using a small digital camera to now sporting a Canon EOS 600D.

While Mrs Hopkins has hundreds of still life and nature shots that make up her impressive repertoire of pictures, it's her quirky take on freedom camping that has caught the eye of festival organisers.

"I actually went down to West Haven to take a beautiful picture of the harbour bridge and the boats and I end up spotting this camper van and all of this washing hanging on the fence," Mrs Hopkins says.

"I then saw this view and thought it could be worth photographing. It's something I've seen in my day and it's real."

She admits she didn't spend too much time capturing the image to avoid being caught by the clothesline camper but now wishes she'd got his details.

"I do wish I could call him now and thank him."

Mrs Hopkins is always on the lookout for photos and is now putting together material for a book filled with 365 images from each day in 2012.

"It isn't as easy as you'd think. You've got to be inspired by something everyday which can be a challenge but I like that it keeps my brain ticking over," she says.

"It's not so great when you're in bed and suddenly realise at 10.45pm that you haven't taken your picture for the day and need to get up."

Mrs Hopkins has always been proud of her work but she never thought her shots would get the sort of exposure they will in China with an average audience of 200,000 set to view the exhibition this month.

Festival spokeswoman Elaine Smith says events like Auckland Photo Day make it accessible. "The festival is a wonderful way to open up the art of photography to the public and also celebrate the diverse cultural identities of Auckland," she says. "We are delighted to present a broad range of opportunities to view photography this year.

"There is so much to see across Auckland - from Matakana to Pukekohe, Waiheke to Piha."

See photographyfestival. org.nz.

Western Leader