UCOL photography student Tara Kairau fired 600 shots of a different sort when she took part in an Army exercise in the Central North Island in May.
Tara was one of three Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging (BAVI) third year students who were invited by Linton Army Camp to join selected units for six days of the military exercise.
The three were assigned to separate units and given the opportunity to produce a portfolio of images.
Genevieve Senekal was with the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) unit and Tony Kim joined an Engineers unit.
"I was with the Gunners," says Tara. "I was surrounded by a lot of giant guns and heavy artillery. The nature of the exercise meant there was a lot of down time but because we were living in the field, I had lots of chances to depict the theme of my portfolio which was 'Camaraderie'."
The Gunners unit consisted of six males. "They soon got used to me being around with my camera so I was able to capture the sense of brotherhood within the unit," says Tara.
Tara comes from an Army 'family'. Her father, two brothers, an uncle and a cousin have all served, or are serving, in the Army. "I knew what was involved in military service. I think that helped me build a rapport with the gunners."
Asked if she had ever considered joining the Army, Tara says she was tempted but her artistic ambitions were stronger.
"I had composed certain images in my head before I went, but some of the best photos were ones that I hadn't planned on," she says. "The ever changing conditions were challenging but the results were really rewarding. It was the experience of a life time."
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