Christchurch photographer Ann Bastion has become only the second New Zealander ever to achieve Master status with a global organization representing national photography associations around the world
A passion for the botanical has inspired Ann Bastion throughout her life, from picking flowers on the way to school as a child through to floral subjects comprising the portfolio that recently netted her the rank of Master with the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP).
The application alone for this title is a large task: a collection of 20 photos must be submitted — at the applicant’s own cost. These are judged both as individual images and as a set in terms of inspiration, concept flow, and presentation. The Master award is a rare honour, and the organization has bestowed it upon only one other Kiwi photographer, Gary Speer in 2004. Looking at Ann’s beautiful botanical images, it is not hard to see why she made the cut.
“The inspiration for this came from a book of botanical drawings my grandmother had,” the photographer explains. “I wanted to create, with my camera, what the artist had created with his brush and paints. It took a year to plan and gather all the images I needed to present the evolving stages of life and death of plants.”
Relatively new to photography, Ann bought her first DSLR in 2010, but she has never been a stranger to creativity; she has worked in the fashion industry and is also a watercolour painter. Involved in both the Christchurch Photographic Society and the national Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ), Ann quickly racked up many awards, including the Fellowship rank from PSNZ and FIAP’s Artiste and Excellence distinctions.
However, it is not the accolades that attract Ann to participate in these organizations as much as the opportunity to meet and share ideas with people from all around the world who are interested in photography.
“Also,” the generous photographer says, “to help other photographers grow their skills and sense of achievement, to help them get in touch with the creative feeling side of their minds, and to help give them a sense of fulfilment like I got from my journey in photography and the wonderful people who have helped me along the way.”
While botanical imagery earned Ann the Master title, she is interested in all styles of photography — but it is macro shooting that truly has her heart.
“Macro takes me into another world where I can lose myself in observing the intricacies and symmetries of the flower that the eye so often just glances over. It evokes in me a sense of peace and wonderment. I want to capture some of what I am seeing and feeling and present it in such a way that others can share in the moment as well,” she says.
Unpretentious in the face of her achievements, the photographer advises those starting out in the art not to feel discouraged if they do not have access to flash gear.
“I can remember my first field trip when I turned up with my little point-and-shoot while everybody had SLR cameras with huge lenses,” she shares. “I felt completely inadequate but learnt a lot regardless.
“Shoot what you see, what compels you to photograph it, what stirs you. Join a club and don’t be afraid to ask for help — most members are only too pleased to help fellow members and there are guidance and tutorials available at all levels.”
Having scooped such a high distinction, the photographer says that she is content for now to work within the photographic community, helping others to advance their own craft. But keep a watch on the results of forthcoming international salons, as it would be no surprise to see her name amid the accolades again in the near future.