UCOL photography student Amanda Hodge says she has loved photography for as long as she can remember, and the forty-two-year-old has not let being a busy mother of four hold her back from realising her creative ambitions.
Amanda took photography as a subject in sixth form at high school, back in the days of film. "For many years I had wanted to pursue my passion, to learn more about my camera and the skills involved in photography," she says.
"At the beginning of 2020 I discovered a passion for live music photography and was lucky enough to photograph the Amplify Rock Festival held in Palmerston North. This project inspired me to enrol in UCOL's Certificate in Introductory Photography programme last year."
After graduating from the Introductory programme, Amanda took the next logical step and signed up for a Certificate in Intermediate Photography. The Introductory and Intermediate Photography programmes are both ten week part-time training schemes, designed to help learners with an interest in photography further develop their technical skillset, They can also be a stepping stone into UCOL's popular New Zealand Diploma in Photography.
"I chose UCOL because I had heard a lot of amazing things about their photography courses and being local made it easy for me to participate."
Image taken at the beach in the style of Nikki Boon.
"UCOL is amazingly supportive in all aspects of my studies, the lecturers in the creative arts department are always on hand when needed and willing to go the extra mile for us all. Gerry Le Roux is such a knowledgeable lecturer and I value his opinions and expertise. He is an amazing photographer and as we share similar passions, his knowledge has really helped push me."
Amanda says every single class had its highlights. "I soaked everything up like a sponge and never missed a class. I loved making new like-minded friends and we all thrived, helping each other along the way. Many of us have carried on together into the Intermediate course. I especially enjoyed learning how to use Photoshop to create magazine covers and how to print and mount our own images – that was truly something special."
During her studies, Amanda has photographed many concerts including Villainy, Elemeno P, and Devilskin to name a few. Her biggest highlight was photographing Homegrown in Wellington this year, "shooting 12 bands over 10 hours of absolute fun."
Jennie of Devilskin, photographed at Palmerston North's Royal Tavern.
"My live music photography has taken off in leaps and bounds and I now photograph for an online music magazine - Muzicnet.nz, which I am thoroughly enjoying being part of. I also recently had an image in an exhibition in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch called
From the Pit, dedicated to New Zealand live music photographers and NZ Music. I am so super proud of this achievement."
Amanda is shooting gigs every month and still making images of the beauty around her. "I am not just a one trick pony; I enjoy all forms of photography and am forever learning and growing."
She says "if it wasn't for studying at UCOL I may never have realised my full potential."
"UCOL provided me with so many of the skills, knowledge and confidence I needed. I now walk into a gig knowing I possess everything necessary to back up the talent I was born with. I love what I am doing, and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for me."