New frontier for ex-journo

By Erika Venter

Photographic artist Rhonda Bunyan's first exhibition opened at the Eltham Village Gallery last week.

Having only exhibited a few pieces with the Stratford Art Society in the past, she says the solo exhibition - entitled Shot from the Heart - was not something she planned, but she is excited about where it might lead.

Rhonda is no stranger to making changes that steer her into different waters. A journalist by trade, she and husband Bugs (Laurence) were co-owners of the Stratford Press with other investors from 1981 until the newspaper was sold to the APN Group in 2006.

In her last column in the Stratford Press, she wrote: "The only person who can make a difference is you. If you want to keep getting the same old, just keep doing the same old."

In the early stages of her career as a journalist, Rhonda began taking black-and-white photos, but took on more responsibilities when she started up a community paper in Wanganui. "You do everything at a community paper. I just always had a camera in hand."

However, she says it was after they bought the Stratford Press that she started taking photography "a bit more seriously" and when she and her husband moved to a lifestyle block on Monmouth Rd, a new world opened up.

"I started seeing the countryside and the mountain with new eyes. I suddenly thought that this is something I could be quite good at. I just never before thought of photography as an art form. Now, though, I do see myself as a photographic artist. My criteria for this exhibition was whether I would be happy to have it on my wall."

Her favourite times of day for taking photos are dawn and dusk, due to the light and length of shadows. She now uses a Canon 650 D, excited about the endless creative possibilities offered by digital software.

"Purists would say you use your camera and eye and that is where it ends. That is why I call my work photographic art," she says.

The exhibition at the gallery "just happened".

"I was offered the space because they had a spot to fill," is her modest reply when asked how the exhibition came about.

"I am a bit of a private person and to put yourself out there - I am a bit overwhelmed by the interest.

The exhibition will run until March 15.

- Stratford Press

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