Pursuit of art and truth

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

“As a photographer, I always look for a space that escapes reality. In this space, I can embrace both truth and art. To me, that's the essence of photography.”

– Jiaqi Tang, Capital Photographer of the Year 2021


Untitled, by Jiaqi Tang, Supreme winner and winner of the Triptych category. Capital Photographer of the Year 2021.

Jiaqi Tang is the Supreme winner of the inaugural Capital Photographer of the Year competition. Winners of the various categories were also announced at a ceremony at Te Auaha Gallery, Dixon St, Wellington on Thursday 1 July.


Capital Photographer of the Year celebrates the region’s beauty, creativity, and people. More than 1,200 entrants vied for the inaugural awards, and 18 entries were chosen as finalists. Jiaqi won the Triptych category and the supreme award with his work, Untitled. As the supreme winner, Jiaqi takes home the title of Capital Photographer of the Year 2021 and a $1,000 cash prize donated by keen photographer Mazz Scannell.

On accepting his award Jiaqi said. "I believe photography is a beautiful universal language that speaks to the heart. It’s a witness who can distil the chaos and beauty that surrounds us. I will continue to pursue art and truth, and I hope to share more of my works with you all in the near future."



Jiaqi’s father bought him a Ricoh XR7 when he was 10. “I took that camera with me on many adventures, and I would take photos from portraits to landscapes. From the first time I picked up the camera, I have never stopped taking photos. I guess my skills got better through practice, but the thing that kept me going was being able to capture moments happening in my own life.” Jaiqi says he was a pretty quiet child. “Although I still don’t like talking, the photos I take express for me moments I felt and witnesses in life. And it will never fade away.”

Judge Neil Pardington said Jiaqi’s images conveyed, “a strong sense of narrative with beautiful light, colour, and composition." Judge Anne Noble said Jiaqi’s work is “a marvellous example of imaginative photographic storytelling. The captured moments, angles of view, lighting, and careful arrangement demonstrate photographic skill, thoughtfulness, and strong editing skills. This is a very strong three-image narrative evoking a life lived with subtly and empathy.”

The other category winners are Yin Hsien Fung (Mobile), Rob Vanderpoel (Structure – sponsored by Warren & Mahoney), Monica Winder (Society – sponsored by Masonic Villages Trust), Paul Hamer (Whenua), and Lorenzo Buhne (Youth).




See the winner of the People’s Choice Award here.