Grad·u·a·tion (grajo͞oˈāSHən) - The receiving or conferring of an academic degree or diploma.
I just like the way they spell it out so that people who aren't highly skilled in linguistics can say it... grajoo-aSHan. A huge day for everyone involved!! Including me. Otago University grads mean my email inbox is full and my phone doesn't stop ringing in the months leading up to the ceremonies.
Most years I blog one (or maybe a few more!) photo from every graduate I photograph... which often leads to a VERY long blog because there are so many awesome people and awesome shots! I have decided this year to showcase one shoot - because it suddenly dawned on me that you have never really seen photos from a single session.
So let me introduce you to Miss Isla Karetai...
... she may look scary in that photo, but I promise you she isn't!! Isla and her parents, Mike and Margaret, and boyfriend Steve, came down from Waiheke Island for her graduation from Medical School.
The incredibly gorgeous cloak Isla is wearing is named "kahu pukeko mo matariki", which means 'Cloak of the Pukeko for Matariki'- one of the star constellations Maori used for navigation. It represents a journey and things that guide you on your way. The amazing woman who wove it, Ngaire Mcarthy, took 5 years to weave it completely out of Pukeko feathers and flax. 5 years!!! That is some patience!! It is very rare to find a korowai like this made in the traditional way, so it is truly a priceless treasure. Ngaire's three Iwi are "Ngati Tamatera," "Ngati Hako" & Ngapuhi".
And yes, her red shoes are the Pukeko's feet! Love, love, love!
Mike and Margaret are both doctors as well! So if you live on Waiheke Island, you know whose door to go knocking on when you are sick!! Naturally, they just oozed with pride for their beautiful, talented daughter...
Isla's graduation was a huge celebration for the whole family... I loved just watching the emotion and beautiful interactions between all of them.
This silver flower was made as a koha (Maori payment) for the cloak. Two identical flowers were made - one for Isla, and one for Ngaire. They are life-size replicas of the native clematis flower, as a Maori legend has it that Rangi (God of the Sky) gave a star to God of the Forest, which became the clematis flower.
I felt hugely privileged to be able to photograph these extremely special heirlooms for this family. This mere belonged to Isla's ancestor, Karetai, who was a chief in Dunedin 7 generations ago. It would have taken someone a life-time to carve, so it normally rests in the Otago museum to look after it for their family. It is absolutely beautiful, and so so smooth.
Big thanks to Isla for giving me permission to blog your beautiful graduation shoot, and for explaining all the traditional elements of your day in so much depth for me! I had so much fun with you all, and it was very special to be part of your weekend. I wish you all the very best for your future as a doctor! xoxo
December 2011 brought with it another great round of graduations for me. It was full of graduates stoked to have no more exams, parents bubbling over with pride, grandparents full of stories from their days at university, and siblings who were really just looking forward to a good feed at night (I know... been there, done that).
I photographed 36 graduates in 45 minute sessions, over 5 days. Doing the math... *opens up a calculator*... that's 1620 minutes of doing the laps around campus! And it was awesome - I met so many hilarious, fun, smart, short, tall, talented, lovely, sweet, jumpy, pretty people... who all hugely deserved to be wearing that silly black hat and a colourful hood.
Here is a snippet of the thousands of photos I took... I do of course do all the traditional photos and standard family photos too... but let's be honest, it would be boring if we didn't have a bit of fun as well...and I LOVE laughter!! Hope you enjoy! xx
Cute little birdie joined us for this one too...
Mr. Duck and I hung out for about 15mins while I waited for some graduates to arrive! I'm very tired.. so I apologise that my silly sense of humour got the better of me here... haha...
Dani even got her 84yr old Grannie JUMPING!! Go Grannie!!!
These guys became famous in an instant... all of a sudden they had a bus load of Asians taking photos of them across the river!!!
Where has this year gone to?! August grads were nearly a month ago now, and December graduation spots are getting snapped up very quickly. I photographed five graduates on the only grad day in August this year, and they all proved to be different and fun!
I am not going to waffle on forever... I just want to give you a quick glimpse a wonderful day, where all the graduates were told they are smart enough, talented enough, hard-working enough and good-looking enough to hit the real world! (Their certificates tell them the first three, I tell them the last one).
First up was the lovely Rebecca, her parents, and her amazingly well-behaved dog, Sophie! They say never to photograph animals, but I was so impressed with Sophie and the way Rebecca interacted with her! This was a fun shoot...
You will have seen Tammy Luu on here before... I photographed her graduation in December, and she loved it so much that she booked me straight away for her Masters graduation in August! This time I got to meet her family, all the way from Vietnam! I have a real soft spot for Tammy... she loves getting photos, which makes it so fun for me, and she is always so cute and encouraging!
Kim Kubala graduated with a BCom in marketing and finance, and was pretty excited to be finished all her studies! We had a great shoot with her and her family!
Aleisha Lines and her huge group of family and friends made for a hilarious shoot. I love family dynamics, and you see everything when siblings get together! There was no lack of sibling rivalry, all fighting for the lime-light... and the centre of the photos! These guys were awesome!
Nawaf graduated from a BCom, so he and three of his mates had an early evening shoot before heading out for tea. His friends bought him the shoot as a graduation gift.... lovely eh?!
Thanks heaps to you all! I had a pretty sweet day with you! All the best for hitting the real world with style. Never forget your time at beautiful Otago University! xo
Well time certainly seems to fly during the months between the May, August and December graduations! I found myself looping around the university countless times again in May, but it is fun and different each time, and I get very cool clients! Thank you to all the very wise and intelligent (and occasionally silly and immature!) graduates who I photographed - you were all great! I hope you all had a fantastic day.
The weather played along nicely for all but two of the sessions, so on the whole, we were pretty lucky! Autumn is a beautiful time to graduate, as the university lights up in colour. Without further ado, let me congratulate the May graduates...
And a little something extra...
Huge congratulations to everyone I photographed - including the family, friends, partners who all had a role to play in getting through the degree! Thank you for choosing me as your photographer!!
All the best for your futures, I hope you all go far :)
The month of December was one big fat crazy month. I was getting requests left, right and centre for graduation shoots, to take place over four Otago University Graduation Days. In the end, I photographed over 30 graduands in 26 photo sessions. Then came the editing of literally thousands of photos, and the process of getting print orders sent out to everyone! Chuck in Christmas, three weddings to shoot and edit, and the planning of my own wedding... and I was not getting much sleep! So apologies for this late blog, but better later than never..
Each and every graduand had completed years of hard work, and sure do all deserve a high five and a pat on the head by the Chancellor. Or a wonderful family weekend with lots of good food, photos, and good times. Or maybe all of these! I do not want to lessen the achievements of any of my wonderful graduands, however due to the sheer number of them, I will only be able to share one or two photos from each session. A shame, I know...I have so many I want to put up.
A HUGE congratulations to everyone I photographed - and to the countless parents, siblings, grandparents and partners I also photographed, who have played a huge role in their university years.
Kiri Aikman and parents
Kah heng Lim
Rosie, Lisa, Anna
Lisa Geddes and her father
This amazing Maori cloak that Alice is wearing has been in the family for hundreds of years, and is made from pure kiwi feathers!! Incredible!
Alice Reid and Grandma
Omid Ahmadi and friends
Suli and Kimberley both studied in the botany department, so we ventured to the glass houses to get these cute photos!
Adeola Bamgbose and family
Dave Bennett and Grace Holgate
Hayden is my cousin, so we had an awesome time photographing all my family, and his friends Roydon and Jeremy too!
Hayden Marshall and family
Roydon Reardon and Hayden Marshall
Richard McKenna and family
Wendy Imlach and parents
And now a few extras just for fun!
There is no reason why the parents can't get in on the fun too!
Tahlia (my former flatmate!) is a keen scientist and always wanted grad photos in her lab. Her little brother wasn't really wanting a bar of the family photographs, so they joked about throwing him in the Leith instead!
Katie studied Theatre Studies, and spent a lot of her time in Allen Hall theatre, so we caught some snaps there!
Hayden comes from a strong line of vertically challenged individuals (I can say that because they are my awesome family!), and he hangs around with some very tall mates...so we rectified that matter...
Check out these amazing shoes!
Olivia asked for a quick dress change to get a few photos of her in her 21st dress as well...how stunning is this?!
Thank you to all who I photographed for being so fun, so willing, so clever, and for allowing me to celebrate with you during your special day! All the best with all your exciting future plans!
I am available for more graduation shoots in May, August and December this year - but I getting reasonably booked up already, so get in touch soon if you would like a spot! xoxo
Graduations seem to roll around reasonably frequently in Dunedin, and often the August graduation gets over-looked. For some people though, it is an extremely special day - marking the end of years of hard work and huge achievements. Apart from the fact that my fingers nearly froze off, the weather held up, and we all enjoyed a less crowded university setting for some momentous photos. Having never met any of my graduands before the day, they were all extremely relaxed and totally rocked it for the camera. Let me show you just a snippet of Saturday's goodness....
Hamish Hunter was feeling the effects of a big night on the Friday, but managed to get up early and keep his eyes open despite it all!
Lisa White came down from Auckland to graduate with a Bachelor of Science and is a total natural in front on the camera!
Skye Simpson graduated from a Bachelor of Arts and her whole family was down from the North Island to celebrate it. We got amongst the gorgeous spring blossom...ohhhh how I love spring!
And finally, Campbell Pritchard graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce and had his whole family down for the affair. We did his photos on the friday, in the gorgeous late afternoon sun.
Congrats everyone...all the best with your future endeavours :)
Graduation Day is a special day. Years of hard yakka, all-nighters, thousands of assignments, and countless hours spent in the library are finally rewarded by getting a wee tap on the head by the Chancellor. The formalities of the ceremony are a great part of the day, but the best part of it is having family and friends celebrate your achievement, and also being able to enjoy getting photos taken around the serenely beautiful old buildings of the University of Otago!! Although I may be biased, I think we have the most stunning University in New Zealand, and those graduating in May are especially lucky, with the colourful autumn leaves splattering the trees and covering the ground.
Gemma Tulett graduated with a BA in Film and Media, and Communication Studies! We had a great shoot around the university with her family and boyfriend, and even snuck into the library while everyone had their head in their books!
Kristy Hegan is one of my nearest and dearest friends who you have probably seen on this website before! She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work, and we had a super fun photo shoot, to put it lightly. With the people present, it was always bound to get silly...
I just want to point out that Kristy, Kenzie and I have been close friends since we were about 3. How cool is that?! They are so special...in more ways than one :P. I think we have got better dress sense now than in our earlier photos tho, girls. PS - spot Kristy's lovely mother in this photo! Cute! xx
Allanah Paul is another one of my very beautiful close friends, and being the clever cookie that she is, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Chemistry! She is now residing in a quaint old village near London, which makes me a little sad, because it means she no longer lives with me!
I had a fantastic photo shoot with Gloria Penrice the day before she graduated with a Master of Arts in Education! Gloria is a teacher in Balclutha and, also being very keen on ducks, we didn't pass up a photo opportunity with little ducks in the Leith!
The beautiful Emma Laing graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy and Structural Biology, and had a special request for a quick photo shoot to get one print to match the framed graduation photos her parents have of the rest of their family.
And it's ok for me to put photos on here of myself, isn't it?! I want to show off my beautiful family, my gorgeous fiance, and my fantastic Nana, and how well they did taking my photos at my Physical Education Graduation in May!