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My Photography Hobby That Helped Me Win The 2017 Otago Bulletin Photo Competition

Rachel Tan
Rachel Tan
Rachel is a PhD candidate at the Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago. She likes to meet people and is a big fan of nature and photography.

Last week, I was honoured to be chosen as the overall winner of the “2017 Otago Bulletin Board Staff Photo Competition”. My wonderful friends, Tracy and Naoko, made time to go along with me to the prizegiving ceremony. The ceremony was hosted by the Otago Bulletin Editor, Lisa Dick and the Communications Office staff, and held at the Staff Club – where currently, all the competition winners and notable entry photographs are displayed.

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The story behind my photo

It was lovely to receive a gift bag from Lisa Dick, and I felt excited to be congratulated by the University of Otago’s professional photographer, Sharron Bennett. I was able to share with them the story behind my photograph which was taken during my research trip to Zanzibar. I captured the photo because I was mesmerised by the fullness of life in the frame.

Zanzibar Beach

Why I love to take photos

After the win, I reflected on my hobby of photography. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” prompted me to consider learning photography. Three years ago, I picked up the hobby for two reasons. One, for the sake of connecting my experiences of living abroad with my family and friends. Two, to print out pictures and photobooks as mementos for myself and loved ones.

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The moment I got serious about photography

A month into my new found hobby, I wanted to improve my skills and joined the Beginner Photography Class at the Otago University Student Association (OUSA). I picked up some basic knowledge of using the digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera and Adobe Photoshop CC. There are many artful skills to practice in photography but I try to maintain two key things in my pictures. Framing to tell the story of the picture and lighting to keep the pictures crisp and clear.

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What I love to photograph

I like to take pictures of sceneries and events. The beautiful landscape of Dunedin drives me to take my bulky DSLR camera anywhere I go. I also like to take pictures of the events. Without my family here, I always appreciate friends having me along to festive occasions and their significant days, such as weddings and birthdays. Being given the opportunity to be a significant part of any friend’s life makes me feel truly fortunate, and I am able to capture these moments on film.

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After taking pictures for some time, I decided to sign my pictures with “Rach3lTan.PnR”. The initials of PnR stands for ‘Picture and Remember’ because I love pictures for the memories they preserved. My take on photographs is each picture makes a resolution, a meaning that reminds me of an important moment in my life. In other words, as I look at my pictures, I am drawn to colourful pixels and various emotions that I hold dear to return to me. To all family and friends, “Thanks for the memories”.

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