Pomegranate pic earns former forensic photographer international award
The interior of a pomegranate helped a former police forensic photographer win an international photography award.
Timaru photographer Simon Schollum placed first in the inaugural still life photo project category of the International Garden Photographer Of The Year awards 2017.
In its 11th year, the competition received thousand of garden, plant and botanical photography entries from throughout the world.
The award was a "huge surprise" for Schollum who said the meticulous nature of police forensic photography was similar to that of taking still life images of fruit and plants.
"It is still using the same techniques with lighting," Schollum said.
"There is intricate detail to pick up in both, whether it's a bite mark or how a wound can be linked to a weapon."
It is the third time he has won an award in the competition, being a highly commended, and a finalist in previous years. He is also a three time winner of the Australasian Police Forensic Photography awards.
Winning works from the competition are displayed at an annual exhibition in the Nash Conservatory at Kew Gardens in the United Kingdom before being shown as part of a travelling exhibition throughout Europe in 2018. His work will also be published in a book with fellow category winners.
Schollum said he found appeal in classical Dutch images of fruit and flowers.
It was this interest that was ignited when his wife brought him a pomegranate from a fruit and vegetable shop.
"She brought it home as a curiosity for herself.
"It's an ancient fruit and I decided to make it the centrepiece of a photo."
He researched the fruit on the internet and found there were suggested methods for opening pomegranates.
"It unfolds and the petals are like a flower.
"I was so fascinated by it I built a small set at home with an ancient probably beer box."
He found other items to accompany it and the photoshoot began.
The image was also used in the Aigantighe Art Gallery's exhibition A Local Focus: Contemporary Photography earlier this year.
Schollum said he never imagined a small photoshoot at home, would result in an international award winning photograph.
"I was never taking it[the photo] for that.
"The thing with classical still lifes is they look supremely easy because they have been photographed for centuries. It's not really showing anything new. It's something old in a new way and catching the eye of the audience."
Schollum is the third generation in his family to be a photographer, with his grandfather a portrait photographer in Dunedin, opening his first portrait studio in 1896.
His father was one of the country's first police photographers in the 1940s.
Schollum joined the military police force in the mid-1970s, transferring to the police force six years later. He joined its photography services department in 1986.
He then moved on to a senior advisor role, photography projects, at police headquarters in Auckland before moving to Timaru in 2003.
- The Timaru Herald