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Manawatū photographer picks up multiple awards in international photo competition

By UCOL on Wednesday, 28 October 2020 Lecture - Ian Rotherham (4).jpg

Earlier this year UCOL’s Senior Photography Lecturer, Ian Rotherham, decided to ‘have a go’ and enter the Rise International Photography Awards for the first time. His try has paid off, with his images winning two silver and two bronze awards.

Over the last two years, the Rise International Photography Awards has received more than 7,000 entries from photographers all over the world. For Rotherham to get such recognition in a very crowded competition, especially as a new entrant, is particularly impressive.

“Oh, I’m rapt! This competition was a bit of an unknown for me. The categories were so diverse, I just had to put forward the work I was proudest of and hope for the best.

 “I like to create work for my own reasons – I’m not keen on creating something solely for entering it in awards. Everything I entered this year was from my daily life and work, it was very me. As a lecturer, it’s a way of checking ‘Have I still got it?’ It’s about knowing that my work is up to standard!

‘Up to standard’ seems an underestimation when you look at the range shown in Rotherham’s work – from portraits to creative to landscape photography.

2B: Model Angie Lurie, based on character from Nier: Automata. Makeup by Tina Wilson aka ‘Toxic Tina’. Photographed in Palmerston North.

“One of my silver awards, 2B, was taken on a job – the model is a well-known cosplayer, Angie Lurie, who wanted some professional shots of her newest video game character 2B,” say Rotherham.

“It was actually taken by the silos of Milson Transfer station. We were out in the car park and it just had that perfect post-apocalyptic look to it.” The judges agreed, mentioning in their feedback that the piece had a ‘strong narrative’, with the styling ‘well planned, with great attention to detail’.

On the other end of the spectrum is Ball of Light, which the judges said was a ‘fantastic and clever take on this lighting technique’.


Ball of Light: Photographed in Christchurch.

“Balls of light is a technique I teach my UCOL Diploma of Photography students,” says Rotherham. “I took this one when I was holidaying in Christchurch – it was a beach in the middle of nowhere that my brother-in-law took us to, we were having some fun with the family. He’s since passed away, so I think of this shot as being in honour of him.”

While Ian is pleased with his results, there’s one group he hasn’t told. “My students don’t know yet! It’s tricky to talk about your own work. Maybe they can find out through this story!”