A winning moment on a gloomy day

November 25, 2022

The winning moment for Dunedin photographer Callum Flett came on a gloomy day in the middle of the pandemic. The Dunedin Railway Station was a good place to find shelter. It was a good place to find inspiration too.

The photograph Callum took from the station platform won him first prize of $2500 in the IHC ‘Capture the Moment’ competition.

Callum’s photograph, titled Dunedin Railway Station, looks along the platform to two women in the distance. At one kilometre it is the longest railway platform in New Zealand. His photograph highlights the architectural elements of the platform roof and captures the light coming through the platform’s pillars.

Callum loves taking photographs of the architecture in that part of the city. Sometimes he goes to the Railway Station just to eat lunch. The day he took the photograph was a gloomy, cold day and there were not many undercover outdoor spaces away from home where he could go in a pandemic with his support worker. The shot was a spontaneous one.

“There’s an awful lot in that image,” says photographer Bridgit Anderson, one of the competition judges. “It’s a really sophisticated composition and there’s a lovely sense of distance. A big, impersonal space contrasting with the intimacy between two people.”

Callum, who is profoundly deaf and has cerebral palsy, needs assistance to take photographs. His camera can connect remotely to his iPad on his wheelchair tray and whoever is with him will set the camera on a tripod. Callum can zoom in or out and take photographs. His camera has a flip-out screen, and he will eye point and finger point to where he wants the camera to point and indicate when they are ready to take the shot together.

‘Capture the Moment’ grew out of the success of the IHC Art Awards, as an opportunity for disabled New Zealanders to create in a photographic medium.

Bridgit worked with co-judges photographer Mark Coote and co-founder of New Zealand fashion house WORLD and IHC Patron Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet to choose 30 finalists and winners.

Second place went to Heni Tawa for Out for a Walk in the Community and Saw a Beautiful Tree. Third place went to Emma Flintoff for Tui in the Sun. The Youth Award went to Lachlan Pearson for Farm at Te Horo.

The finalists were exhibited as part of FOTO FEST in Hastings. FOTO FEST, a city-wide visual art and cultural event, was held in the first week of October.

Manager of FOTO IWI Charitable Trust Shayne Jeffares, who initiated FOTO FEST, says the IHC finalists exhibited alongside photographers from the Hawke’s Bay Photographic Society and a group of 27 individuals – 10 of whom were exhibiting for the first time. He says FOTO FEST provided access to people unsure about showing their work and he hopes to run it again next year.

Shayne says photographs are best seen in an exhibition, not online. “What you don’t get online is that human connection – the conversation. It’s really important, and we haven’t been able to do that for the past few years. And, of course, to have IHC involved was very special.”

Caption 1: Callum and his mother Barb Gee review an image that Callum is about to photograph in Hanmer Springs.

Caption 2: Dunedin Railway Station, by Callum Flett, was the winner of the IHC ‘Capture the Moment’ photographic competition.


This story was published in Strong Voices. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members. Read the full issue of Strong Voices or view more articles.