Kiwi photographer wins gold at World Photographic Cup

All images: Amber Griffin
Photographer Amber Griffin has beat out finalists from Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Norway and the USA to win gold in the commercial category of the World Photographic Cup in France.

Wellington-based Griffin, 30, achieved the highest score for a winning print and won gold in the commercial category of the World Photographic Cup, described as ‘the Olympics of professional photography’.

The award-winning image depicts a ‘wave’ and was created through a combination of lighting, design and post-production editing, and was originally conceived to promote the 2013 end of year dance show for Whitireia performing arts in Wellington.

Though beginning her career as a graphic designer, Griffin discovered her passion lay in dance and performing arts photography.

“Dancing was a big part of my childhood,” she says. “I have a background in ballet and was exposed to a lot of amazing RNZB performances when I was young - I think this exposure ignited my passion for dance.”

“I studied photography at Massey University in Wellington, but when I moved to Auckland it was very difficult to initially make a living from photography, so I started working in graphic design. Four years ago I decided I didn’t want to be behind a desk anymore, working for someone else, so I decided to pursue my own dream.” 

Griffin now manages her own photography business in Wellington specialising in dance photography.

“Dancers are a fascinating subject – they are innately extroverts. They want to be seen and they love to be photographed.”

Griffin has won an array of New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) awards, however this is her first international award.

“This time last year I decided it was time to start entering awards,” she says. “It was a last minute decision, but I entered seven prints in the competition run by NZIPP and got seven awards. One of those images won gold and that image was entered in the World Photographic Cup.”

Griffin is currently producing new work for her first solo exhibition in August this year. The work will all be dance-themed and will be held at Exhibitions Gallery in Wellington.

The World Photographic Cup is an ‘Olympic-style’ photography competition with countries entering as a team. Griffin’s award, along with the rest of the New Zealand contingent, provided New Zealand with an overall 6th place out of 27 countries.