Photographer captures big picture

'I just wanted people to be happy at school'

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 20/06/2012
Reia Moriyama
DAVID UNWIN/Fairfax NZ
SMILE: Reia Moriyama, 17, has created giant murals of students and staff from Awatapu College and posted them around the school.

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Awatapu College student Reia Moriyama wanted to make her classmates smile, by showing them portraits of themselves.

In less than a week the 17-year-old, with the help of friends and staff members, produced more than a dozen images about 3-metres high of students and teachers.

Printed on A3 paper and tiled together to create each image, the pictures adorn a central area of the school which most students use every day.

"I just wanted people to be happy at school," Reia said.

The year 13 student met with staff at the school on Tuesday last week to talk about her idea and, with their blessing, started taking photos on Wednesday.

"It was a lot of work," she said.

Reia wanted to show the diversity of the school population in her photos and each person was asked to pose with a fun expression.

"I tried to get a range of nationalities."

After several late nights editing the photos and printing them on to sheets of A3 paper, Reia and more than a dozen helpers spent more than seven hours putting up the portraits on Sunday.

"I went to school at 8am [Monday] just to see reactions, people were just like `wow', they were kind of speechless. I thought some wouldn't like it, but we didn't get any negative comments."

Photography teacher Keith Dobson said the project was done as part of Reia's school work but the fast turnaround was so it would be in place in time for the school's arts festival this week.

"It's really created a buzz around the school, everyone's been talking about it."

Mr Dobson said the project had created a talking point and something for students and staff to share.

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- Manawatu Standard

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