At the recent opening of the Excellence 2018 exhibition, Te Manawa chatted with two students about their work. Rebekah Tamblyn earned her mark in Photography.
Who is your subject?
It’s about my Nana. I started off with her everyday tasks, then I focused on her reflecting back on people from her past, her memories and ancestors
Was there a mood you wished to evoke with the photos?
I wanted to show that photos are a good way of remembering pieces and memories that were important to us, and people and bits of our history and heritage that make up our identity
Did the markers give clues about why you received an Excellence?
I was quite surprised, actually! I think it’s that I put a lot of thought into the last piece. I cut an A4 picture of my Nana into little pieces then embedded photos of her ancestors into it, so it resembled the idea that all these little pieces of her all tie in to who she is, and who she’s made up of
What kind of things do you study in an NCEA Photography course?
There’s a lot of work developing the concepts behind your ideas, so I did a lot of planning beforehand, and a lot of looking at narrative sequence, and using different styles of photography to portray your ideas. Then for the higher-level type of thinking, you have to expand on that and use elements other than photography. I played around with a lot of assemblages; I had lots of practice doing that!
Was it a challenge to incorporate all those techniques into a single portfolio?
Yeah, it was. I had all these assemblages but I didn’t really know what to do with them. I managed to combine them all in the end. I cut some out; I left just the pieces that I thought fit together for the whole storyline
What’s your goal now? Where would you like to take your photography?
I’m not quite sure. For me it’s a hobby at the moment, but it would be cool to do it more often. I prefer urban landscape photography. This project was quite different from my normal style of photography. It was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I’m glad that I did it.
What is it about architecture that’s more attractive?
I like the use of different sorts of buildings; they’ve always really intrigued me.
Sarah Barnes’ work is in Painting.
What was your starting point for creating your folio?
I’ve always been interested in mental illness, in how the brain works. My first panel depicts lots of different illnesses, and how people may react to them. There’s a bottle – often people drink, or smoke. There are people screaming. That’s how I got the idea.
Did you decide on a general survey or to narrow in on something in particular?
On the second and last panel I focus more on anxiety and depression. The last panel focuses on how you react in a social situation when you have anxiety and depression.
What kind of research did you do?
I interviewed people who have experienced mental illness. I’ve got past history with anxiety, so I had that perspective in how it’s shown. The internet really helped as well!
Were you influenced by any particular painting styles?
Edward Hopper. I really like his style. You can see it in my second panel, a feeling of emptiness. I like his paintings a lot.
Did you find that painting helped? Is it one of the ways you battle anxiety?
Yeah! It helps you relax. You’re just focusing on the painting and nothing else. And it’s nice to be able to paint your feelings. The blue colour represents gloominess and sadness. Some of it is bright, but a lot is focused on just a few colours.
Where will you take this now?
I’m not studying painting, but I hope to do painting. I’m studying psychology and rehabilitation studies, so it does relate to my art board. I’ve been working as an apprentice artist for [Manawatū artist] Sarah Platt recently, so I hope to be able to keep it going, but on the side of uni.