Societies and Competitions
In an isolated community, such as New Zealand, photographers quite early realised the advantages to be gained from organised societies and in 1888 the first Photographic Society of New Zealand was formed in Nelson. The Wellington Camera Club founded in 1892 came next, followed by the formation of the Dunedin Photographic Society and societies were formed in Christchurch by 1895 and in Auckland later. For many years these camera clubs were the main photographic organisations in New Zealand both for amateurs and for professionals. Other clubs followed slowly in the smaller centres and in 1957 the professional photographers formed their own association, the N.Z.P.P.A. The N.Z.P.P.A. grew from a small beginning made by B. Hobday in 1938 when he founded in Auckland the North Island Photographers Association. Shortly after the Second World War, an Institute of New Zealand Photographers was formed and incorporated, and this institute and the North Island Association in 1947 amalgamated to form the present New Zealand Professional Photographers' Association.
During his term of office as Governor-General of New Zealand, Lord Bledisloe took a keen interest in amateur photography and presented to the associated camera clubs a very fine trophy, later known as the Bledisloe Cup, to be competed for annually in monochrome photography between all clubs. This competition has now become one of the major annual photographic events and invariably displays work of an extremely high standard.
For many years photographic competitions have been a feature of all local A. and P. shows throughout New Zealand and these competitions have no doubt done a great deal towards fostering and promoting the hobby of amateur photography in this country. After the close of the Second World War, when modern developments of photography began to become available in New Zealand, it was felt by many people that some central organisation for photography was needed on a national basis. Although several of the major clubs had been affiliated with the “Royal” for many years, this did not take the place of a national body. Largely due to the personal efforts of F. L. Bowron, of Christchurch, a photographic convention was organised in Queenstown in 1951. From this the Photographic Society of New Zealand has evolved and today it is a firmly established New Zealand organisation coordinating photographic activities and fostering the development of societies in smaller towns. It holds its annual conventions alternately between the North and South Islands and promotes regional meetings at various locations throughout the country during the year. It has assumed responsibility for the running of the annual Bledisloe Cup competition and the Wiltshire Cup competition, which is similar in scope and parallel to the Bledisloe Cup. The Wiltshire Cup, which is for colour photography, in the form of transparencies, was founded in 1947 by the Christchurch Photographic Society in memory of Eric Wiltshire of Christchurch. This society successfully managed the competition until it was handed over to P.S.N.Z. The Davies Memorial Cup, for annual competition in natural history photography, was organised by the Nelson Photographic Society as a memorial to William C. Davies. It also is controlled by P.S.N.Z. and is a feature of the P.S.N.Z. annual conventions along with the P.S.N.Z. national salons of photography both in monochrome and in colour. P.S.N.Z. also runs its own monthly competitions in connection with the New Zealand Camera, the official publication of the society. Under the auspices of P.S.N.Z., photographic activity has grown at a tremendous rate in New Zealand to the extent that P.S.N.Z. has now some 72 affiliated camera clubs and societies under its wing. Unquestionably the impetus given to photography in New Zealand by P.S.N.Z. has paved the way for the recent commercial venture into photo-journalism by the production of the magazine Photographics New Zealand.
In the international field P.S.N.Z. has successfully launched several exchange portfolios both in monochrome and in colour photography between groups of photographers in New Zealand and in the U.S. and Britain. The international exhibitions of photography, which are becoming more frequent in New Zealand, have also been largely promoted through the good offices of P.S.N.Z.
Photography today is practised throughout New Zealand by thousands of enthusiastic amateurs and hundreds of professional photographers whose work, besides encompassing the spheres of portraiture, commercial, and advertising photography, takes them into the fields of science, forensic medicine, criminology, and photo-journalism. There are many individuals, too numerous to mention, producing outstanding work in the pictorial, portrait, commercial, and scientific fields, but possibly Brian Brake, A.R.P.S., is worthy of special note as being the first New Zealand-born photographer to win international fame in photo-journalism and become a member of the Magnum group of photographers. Brian Brake's work in colour has already appeared in such journals as the National Geographic Magazine, Life, Paris Match, The Queen, and Epoca.
|Bledisloe Cup Winners|
|1933||Camera Pictorialists, Auckland|
|1958||No competition due to alteration of dates and reorganisation of the competition|
|1959||North Shore P.S.|
|1961||North Shore P.S.|
|Wiltshire Cup Winners|
by John Tenison Salmon, D.SC., F.R.S.N.Z., F.R.E.S., A.R.P.S., Associate Professor of Zoology, Victoria University of Wellington.