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The art of seeing — a photographic perspective for 2021

4 November 2020

Patea – an image by Tony Bridge.

When Covid-19 reached the shores of New Zealand, little did we know that one of the most significant events on the Photographic Society of New Zealand’s (PSNZ) calendar would be cancelled, disappointing more than 200 delegates and several overseas photographers who were scheduled to appear as presenters.

Fast forward to April 2021, and the society’s national convention, Vision-21, The Art of Seeing, will take place from 15–18 April in the Garden City of Christchurch.

Because of the border restrictions, the organizers have been forced to rejig their speaker programme, but can still guarantee a line-up of outstanding national talent, says organizing committee chairman, Ian Walls, FPSNZ.

“Vision-21 will be an exciting event for all photographers, whether they are a seasoned professional, or someone who has just ventured into photography,” said Ian.

“The PSNZ national conventions are always a sought-after event and aim to inspire, educate, and help photographers discover what truly drives them to capture the world.”

Adapting to the reality of our new world has meant that the programme will showcase an abundance of homegrown, talented photographers delivering the lead presentations and workshops. 

It is highly likely that some of the international photographers will appear ‘virtually’ or, if travel conditions allow, make a last-minute dash to join the line-up.

To support the theme of ‘The Art of Seeing’, the New Zealand talent includes outstanding creative photographer Bruce Girdwood, FPSNZ, who will share his innermost thoughts on creative photography using the ‘self’ as the reason for making photographs.

Conor Clarke is a lecturer at the Ilam School of Fine Arts, so for anyone who sees themselves, or would like to see themself, as an artist with a camera rather than as a photographer, then Conor will enlighten delegates on this approach.

The artwork of well-known New Zealand photographer Tony Bridge draws heavily on his Māori and European heritage and his on-going studies in a broad range of spiritual and mystical traditions. His work lives in a space between photography and painting, and his story about how he came to make this work will inspire you.

For any photographer who aspires to capture furry four-legged creatures, Craig Turner-Bullock will share his secrets on how to do so, while entertaining you at the same time. Craig is a crazy cat daddy, puppy parent, patisserie addict, and claims to have the best job in the world! He has been capturing the uniqueness of dogs for 20 years. His images and story will amaze you. 

When your photographic business allows you to travel the world and host passionate photographers in exotic destinations like Botswana, Alaska, Norway, or Iceland, Covid-19 definitely threw Dean Fitzpatrick and Chris McLennan under the bus.

With quick thinking and drawing on their local knowledge, Dean and Chris quickly created a series of bespoke workshops and now lead small groups in and around the beautiful spots of Fiordland, Central Otago, and soon, Stewart Island.

They both have a passion for wild places and are internationally recognized travel and wildlife photographers. However, it is their wealth of knowledge of New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna that will make for an informative and unique presentation. And in preparation for when international travel opens up, they’ll whet delegates’ appetites by showcasing the breathtaking beauty of wildlife in Africa, brown bears in Alaska, and polar bears in Norway. 

A PSNZ national convention traditionally attracts a strong delegation of photographers of varying abilities, cultures, and backgrounds.

“With 90 per cent of the organizing completed when we were forced to cancel the 2020 event, it made perfect sense to roll the event on to 2021. We’re excited to be able to host the 68th PSNZ national convention and look forward to inspiring fellow photographers,” says Ian Walls.

Registrations will open on 16 January 2021. For more information visit