Photos inspired by Amnesty

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 14/11/2012

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A Palmerston North photographer has won accolades for his pictures depicting fear, pain and human angst.

Second-year UCOL student Grant Matthew won the Canon EYEcon photographic competition this week, with his portfolio of four gripping images.

His entry showed people dealing with difficult situations and included an image of a blindfolded woman with a noose being placed around her neck, another with a man pushed up against a wall with a gun pressed into the back of his head, another with a stick centimetres away from a man's face, and the fourth showing a man in a headlock with a blade resting on his wrists.

Mr Matthew said he wanted to showcase people's feelings and in particular fear.

"The best images come out of human emotion - I wanted to work on that concept. I wanted to show what humans would do to other humans to create that emotion, and the power we have over one another to do so."

Mr Matthew drew inspiration from images used by Amnesty International and shown in the World Press Awards. He wanted viewers to ponder the possibilities of what was happening in his photos and the wider implications they represented.

"They're not graphic [photos], but hopefully they'll make people stop and think.

"With images these days, we see graphic stuff all the time and nothing is shocking any more.

"Perhaps making the viewer do the work may be more thought-provoking."

The photos were based on real situations, but were staged with Mr Matthew's friends taking parts for the purpose of the competition.

Mr Matthew, who has spent more than 20 years behind the lens, was astounded he won the award. He said the attention had been great and he's hopeful it will help him be noted as an emerging photographer.

"For me, it's huge to be recognised as the winner, it's amazing. It definitely gets your name out there as a photographer."

Entrants are judged on their photographic abilities, as well as the originality and creativity of their images.

Mr Matthew won more than $5500 worth of Canon equipment, $1000 and mentoring from professional photographers, and New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers and the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association membership.

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- Manawatu Standard

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