Mazz and her a-mazz-ing idea

Mazz Scannell is a die-hard Wellingtonian and keen amateur photographer. During the 2020 nationwide lockdown she realised that Wellington did not have a regional photography competition. She’s changed that.

How did you come up with the idea of a photography competition for Wellington?
It was an idea born out of lockdown. In an afternoon of internet procrastination (a break from working on my Masters of Journalism) I realised that Wellington didn’t have a regional photography competition. It was a shock. I was keen to explore the possibilities of instigating a regional competition and was thrilled when Capital accepted my pitch.

Why did you want to team up with Capital magazine?
The photography competition is a natural fit. Capital is a stylish regional magazine with a high photographic standard. The care the team at Capital gives to each photo is what makes the magazine a stand out in the New Zealand print media. The awards they have won are a complement to its consistently high standard of presentation.

What are you hoping to see in the entries for Capital Photographer of the Year?
Photography is the ability to capture a story in a millisecond of time. I am hoping to see creative images that capture the essence of a snap shot of life. Images that tell a story – a connection with the real world that takes the viewer into that moment.

What is home for you?
Wellington, I have lived here for my adult life and I am constantly amazed by its beauty, purple ranges and ever changing vistas. The multitude of greens that carpet our hills to the black jagged rocks along the southern coast, it’s a place that invites participation. As Patricia Grace said, “There is always an edge here that one must walk”. However, the wind is a breeze compared to where I grew up in the Wairarapa. I can remember my father loosing dogs – they would be swept off their feet and blown away over the hills, we don’t have that here.

What’s your favourite place in the wider Wellington region?
The wildness of the Wellington coast and the sharp outlines of the hills remind me of my childhood. Although it’s all wrapped up in a urban setting its similar to the rugged Castlepoint and Mataikona coast where I holidayed as a child. As for the wind, it really doesn’t really bother me.

Who is your favourite photographer?
Such a hard question. I have a few favourites: Americans Dorothea Lange who captured the rawness of the great depression and Vivian Maier who took street photography to a new level. Closer to home, Australian Max Daupain and of course our own Ans Westra and Marti Friedlander. They produce gritty photos that capture an image with little technical manipulation.

What’s on your photography bucket list?
Every day, everywhere. You don’t have to go hunting for the perfect image sometimes it is more about staying still and seeing what unfolds around you. I usually have a DSLR camera as well as my phone with me regardless of where I am. When we are able to travel again Antelope Canyon in California is on my spectacular scenery list along with the Northern lights. I have tried the lights once – a week in Lapland but it wasn’t cold enough – we only got to -8°, you need -22C for a real light show.

Can you share some of your own photos with us?

Mazz Scannell, Young Mongolian child in the mountains of Mongolia, 2015.

We had stopped on the steppes of Eastern Mongolia to take photos across a valley when we met a family on the side of the road. The child is unsure of what is happening and although she is trying to block out the new voices so she can make sense of what she is seeing she is happy to stay. You can see the reassuring arm of her mother to the left.

Mazz Scannell, Two trout in a bin, 2018.

I took this photo at Lake Taupo after a successful family fishing trip in December 2018. I like the combination of the fishing container and the fish – it’s just a pleasing symmetry of colour, shapes and sizes.

Mazz Scannell, Butterfly and bumble bee, 2021.

I took this photo outside my front door last month. It’s good example of just waiting and watching. I have a potted Sedum spectabile which flowers profusely during the dying days of summer. It is very popular with nectar seeking insects including bees and Monarch butterflies. I was lucky that these two cosied up to each other for a few moments. I love this photo and think it is one of the best I have taken. What draws me in is the colour and size combination plus, it was a real win to get two wild insects facing the same way at the same time!

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