Home' Greymouth Star : January 7th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 7
Corrie Van Wyk came to New
Zealand in 2005, spent a bit of
time working around Hamilton
and Huntly and has been on the
West Coast since 2006 working in
mining, and now construction with
Sicon Ferguson Brothers, based in
"As a result of mining events on the Coast, I packed
my bags and went to Australia, working for nine
months in a copper mine in New South Wales. I
thoroughly enjoyed that because of the great birdlife
"I talked to Stewart Nimmo before I left about
my photography and he advised me to take one
photograph a day of sunrises and sunsets. ey have
proved to be the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises I
have ever done."
But Van Wyk does not consider himself an "artist".
"I look at my photographs, I look at an opportunity.
Now, more and more, I see something there.
"I ve always been involved in photography but not as
seriously as in the past four years. Before that, I was a
hunter. I represented my province in shooting, but now
I ve stopped all that completely. I ve no wish to do that
"Photography has got me more involved in nature.
Now, if I see people have messed up the environment, I
take photos and report it."
Recently, out on the Coast Road, he stopped to take
a photo and found people had been dumping rubbish
over the edge, including old televisions and computers.
He sent photos of it to the paper and the West Coast
His favourite subjects have been flowers and birds as
well as the environment of landscape, rivers, rocks and
trees but that list is growing longer.
"In bird photographs, the bird needs to do something
that attracts attention, to be in flight or catching a fish,
"I love monochrome too. I just love it all. I ve got
a passion for it. e most difficult subject is my
grandsons. It would be easier to take a photo of a
sandfly. I have taken some portraits and feel I could be
good at that, but I feel I m intruding."
As Van Wyk became more enthusiastic about
photography, he joined the Greymouth Photography
Club, something he had wanted to do for years, but he
had been held back by his belief that his work was "not
"But you never get good enough if you don t join and
try," he said.
"Now there s a bit of a competitive edge about my
photography as the club has awards, rewards, merits,
and getting your photo accepted . When you get your
photo accepted it really means something. I have had
quite a few awards in the past few years.
" ere is an annual competition. I won the C grade
grade. It depends on how many honours awards you
can achieve during the year. I got a gold recently for my
"I ve learned a lot from John Reid and Elizabeth
Passuello, personally, and now I feel I m in competition
with them. We learn from one another."
He said one thing which had taught him a lot about
photography was being on a 365 Photography website.
"Every day I take a photo. I started on January 1,
this year with a photograph of a boot kicking away an
empty Jack Daniels bottle. e competition is strong
on that site. You try to get your photo in the top 20 for
the week. ere are literally thousands on the site. I ve
learned a heck of a lot. Once you put a good photo on,
you can t go back so it makes you keep up your standard
and want to keep learning and improving."
When the Australian copper mine contract work
project was cancelled putting Van Wyk out of work
again, he came close to slipping into depression but his
camera and taking photos "kept me sane and helped
"I am self-taught as far as my photo editing is
concerned. I have my own style but I try not to present
a photo which is over-edited . To me it s still about the
original photograph itself."
Van Wyk would like to go back 30 to 40 years to
using film, to experience what it was like being a
" e whole process is important to me, not just the
final image. I go driving and see something and go
back. ere is an excitement all through leading up to
the point when the final photograph is produced.
"Sometimes with a photo though, I know I have to do
something to it to lift it that little bit. Maybe I m a bit
over the top but I love it."
Van Wyk says he "absolutely" has a supportive family.
"My wife, Hilda has the photographic eye . She often
says, look at it from this angle . She is also my critic.
She has no in-depth knowledge but sees from the
viewer s perspective and gives an honest opinion.
"My daughter is also here, married to a Kiwi and she
is also a photographer. She got her first SLR camera
when she was 12 and got straight into it. She does
weddings and photography recording pregnancies."
Van Wyk s second hobby is woodcraft but it has been
suspended somewhat because of his preoccupation with
the 365 website.
"I d like to get back into woodcrafting. I like to make
something of new wood which then looks 30-40 years
old. I left a lot of my pieces in South Africa but I
brought some here.
" e first thing I did when I arrived here was to find
out the wood types.
"I learned rimu was the most sought after so I bought
some from a timber yard and got myself a rimu table."
After positive experiences in national photography
shows where he won merits and had acceptances,
Van Wyk is keen to "go international". "If you re not
accepted , you just have to get better," he said.
"I would like to spend time getting more formal
training and to specialise in landscapes. With
photography, there is an opportunity around every
corner. It takes me twice as long as most people to get
to Christchurch. I m always on the lookout.
"Stewart Nimmo is an idol to me. His work is up
there with the best in the world.
"He inspires me to want to get better in landscape, by
which I mean, sea, water, land, rivers, sunrise and so on.
"I have some good camera gear. I ve got the gear to
Van Wyk s photography name is Genesis One.
"It s about the landscape thing, of course, but it also
always reminds me that nature is not man-made and
no-one can really copy it. at s in Genesis I."
All of his learning and experience he sees as building
towards his real ambition, to go to Israel with his wife
Hilda and walk where Jesus went.
"It s going to happen. All my present photography
leads up to that, to photograph the landscape and
all sorts of things, and produce a book. I m already
planning in using the Bible and other sources.
"It will be very special."
PICTURE: Jo Keppel
Greymouth photography enthusiast
Corrie Van Wyk, whose photography name is
PICTURES: Corrie Van Wyk
Twelve Mile Beach.
"Photography takes you exploring, but it s amazing how little you actually need to know about the
camera," says South African-born Corrie Van Wyk, whose photography is a passion and an everyday
challenge. Now living and working on the West Coast, he talks to JO KEPPEL about being "seriously
involved" with photography.
Corrie Van Wyk s photograph,
Tui, won him a gold award.
A thousand yard stare
e Greymouth Transformer .
South African eyes
West Coast through
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