Success again for Auckland s month-long photo celebration

AS WE WAVED goodbye to June the programme closes on a fantastic month crammed full of exhibitions, talks, workshops and events care of the Auckland Festival of Photography. While getting to as many of these wonderful free events as possible can be a hectic undertaking for the average photography enthusiast, the Festival itself has been a rollercoaster for those putting it together, says director Julia Durkin. "It started for us in mid April with an outdoor screening of Magnum s Alex Webb at Silo Cinema, it was a lovely warm autumn evening with hundreds of people milling around, whilst the team was busy handing out 2012 programmes ... this was the start of a massive workload." This year the exhibitions and talks have been extremely well attended she says, making the programme a public success right from day one. "One of my opening weekend highlights was Sam Harris  presentation in the Talking Culture Sunday Series. He was inspirational and had a great story to tell of his life-changing journey since he was a high-flying music industry photographer in London." "A major lowlight is the unsupportive public funding environment despite us having a stellar nine-year track record, and we know loads of eligible voters go to the Festival each year, hopefully that must have some sway for the future,”says the director. Always a festival favourite, the 24-hour public photo competition, Nikon Auckland Photo Day, resulted in some breathtaking images from throughout the city. "Our biggest surprise was the response to our first-ever People s Choice online voting with a massive 10,000 visitors to the website to view or vote on Nikon Auckland Photo Day s judges  shortlist in one week," reports a delighted Durkin. "Other best picks for 2012 were the exhibitions by Mary Macpherson at Lopdell House, John Miller s at Nathan Homestead, Daniel Crooks and Bruce Connew at Two Rooms, Andrea Gardner at Bath Street Gallery and then James Lowe s commissioned exhibition at the Aotea Centre, which was a great testament to his talent," says Durkin. After such a manic month it s going to take us a while to catch our breath again but, exhaustion be damned, June 2013 can t get here soon enough.

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