Blenheim teenager snaps up photography award

Ricky Wilson is the winner of the New Zealand Geographic Young Photographer of the year 2015
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Ricky Wilson is the winner of the New Zealand Geographic Young Photographer of the year 2015

A Blenheim teenager has been crowned New Zealand Geographic young photographer of the year.

Ricky Wilson, 18, was chosen for his portfolio of 10 images, described as "compelling" by competition judges.

"Seeing my name against some of the top photographers ... it was just surreal," he said.

This image, shot at the Havelock Muddy Buddy Run, is part of freelance photographer Ricky Wilson's award-winning portfolio.
RICKY WILSON

This image, shot at the Havelock Muddy Buddy Run, is part of freelance photographer Ricky Wilson's award-winning portfolio.

New Zealand Geographic's annual competition amassed more than 5800 entries this year, and nine award-winners were chosen from 28 finalists.

Jason Hosking won Photographer of the Year for a portfolio including a photo essay of the sheep meat industry, and a backstage image of a final sound check at the Golden Guitars country music awards in Gore.

Wilson's portfolio included the image which was named Photo of the Day in the lead-up to the competition. It showed a young boy in the Havelock Muddy Buddy Run being sprayed with water from a fire hose.

"We live in such a unique region where there's so much going on," Wilson said.

"When I found out the image was a finalist, at that point I started thinking, 'we've got a chance of getting somewhere'. But to actually be there to hear my name read out, it was a bit of a surprise."

The image was also judged a runner-up in the Society category which was open to all age groups.

Judges described it as "a superb start to a promising career".

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This year, a timelapse category was added.

New Zealand Geographic publisher and convenor of judges James Frankham said the commitment to it was "mind blowing".

"Photographers lay in sleeping bags beside their cameras, monitoring the output every few minutes throughout the night. Category winner Jordan Poste spent 40 hours in a glow-worm cave for a single two-minute clip," he said.

The nine winners were announced in Auckland on Thursday.

The highlight of the award ceremony was meeting other photographers, Wilson said.

"James Frankham of New Zealand Geographic was asking me questions about each image, and I found it quite hard to answer in front of so many esteemed photographers," he said.

Wilson graduated from Marlborough Boys' College last year and was half-way through a business course at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

He freelanced as a photographer for newspapers and community events, and favoured sport photography.

"I started out doing sport, and I get more of an adrenaline rush doing that."

Wilson became an avid photographer after his father bought him a camera to take on a school trip 10 years ago.

His year 13 photography teacher Miss Cave Higgins and the Marlborough Camera Club taught him the most, he said.

"I like how you can capture a story or an emotion in a single frame. It's the hardest part, something I've slowly learnt how to do over the last few years."

 - The Marlborough Express

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