September 2, 2020

Interview with award winning artist Sarah Bultitude

By: Natalie Finney

Grand Winner of the Black and White Child Photo Comp First Half 2020

When the team here at Gather heard the news that the Grand Prize for the First Half of the Black and White Child Photo competition had been awarded to past student and Gather Academy Master, Sarah Bultitude, we were over the moon (*cue champagne bottle pop!*).  

The Black and White Child Photo Competition invites the best child portrait photographers internationally to enter their black and white portfolios across the various categories of ‘Portrait’, ‘Fine Art’, ‘Lifestyle’ and ‘Documentary and Street’. Each category is awarded first, second and third place plus a handful of honourable mention awards. Only one artist is named Grand Winner, awarded to the single best photo submission across all categories in the competition.


My heart started pounding and I started shaking! I re-read the winner’s email over and over!

1ST PLACE – “Lock

by Sarah Bultitude


Sarah’s work is soulful, poetic and perfectly executed. Her imagery is simply stunning so it came as no surprise to hear that she had not only taken out first place but also nabbed third place with her image ‘Beautiful Chaos‘ plus a multitude of other nominations. 


As mentioned, Sarah is an alumni student of Gather Academy, having taken the Child Portraiture Workshop taught by Helen Whittle and April Milani (running at the moment, it’s not too late to jump in if you have been thinking about it!).


We thought it only fitting that we ask Helen, who coincidentally also took out the Grand Winner prize in the same competition in 2019, to grab Sarah for a ‘virtual interview’ to delve into her practice, where she gets her inspiration from and her current influences. Read on to find out more about Sarah’s award-winning work. 

3RD PLACE – “Beautiful Chaos

by Sarah Bultitude

Interview by Helen Whittle, Gather Academy Instructor


Q ~ Congratulations Sarah on your win! Thank you for doing an interview with us. We are so happy that you have won this award, it is so well deserved! It’s been amazing to see your confidence grow. What did you do when you found out you’d won?

A ~ My heart started pounding and I started shaking! I re-read the winner’s email over and over! I went out to the kitchen and said to my husband “I think I’ve just won this big award, can you please check this email for me?”


Q ~ We’d love to know more about Sarah! How long have you been a photographer?

A ~ I live in Queenstown, New Zealand with my husband, two teenage children and two crazy Border Terriers! Photography has been a hobby since my 20’s. It wasn’t until I had kids that I started taking it more seriously. Then in my 40’s the passion for it grew to a point that now I have to create otherwise I get grumpy! (My husband is nodding!)


Q ~ What is your preferred genre to photograph?

A ~ I prefer shooting fine art portraits. Usually children, but I am slowly expanding my options of subject matter and age of model as I explore new work.


Q ~ In a short sentence can you describe your work for us.

A ~ Emotive and delicate.
HONORABLE MENTION – “Lucky“, by Sarah Bultitude
Q ~ Can you tell us more about the images you entered, why you entered them and the story behind them?
A ~ All but one of the five images I submitted were taken during Lockdown. It was a very productive time for me. The confinement and uncertainty drove a real desire to take action and produce work that expressed how I was feeling at that time. Long walks with my dogs proved a fruitful time for self-reflection and image construction.
“Lock” is a play on “Lockdown” but also, how back to front the world seemed.
“Beautiful Chaos” was my desire to create something beautiful during a time of complete chaos in the world.
“Lucky” is about personal confinement. I had stumbled upon the four-leaf clover in an old bible of my Grandfather’s. It added the perfect touch to the image. I felt confined and fearful, yet incredibly lucky to be living in New Zealand with good governance.
“Final Pose” was taken earlier in the year with my son. I really liked the form of his body and I wanted him to see that, and be proud of it. Body image is often as hard for boys as it is girls.
“Well Connected” was an image conceived many months ago, yet executed during Lockdown. The bible in her hands is my Grandfather’s. I felt a real spiritual connection in nature on my dog walks and wanted to portray that. Easter fell over that time, so it seemed fitting. It felt important to me to submit these five images as they are a visual diary of that time.
Q ~ Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A ~ The initial inspiration can come to me at any time, anywhere and from anything! But the original idea always evolves right up to the moment the shutter clicks.
Q ~ What is it about black and white images that you love?
A ~ I love the tonal texture and simplicity of black and white. The need to create strong emotion and mood is much greater without colour.
Q ~ Do you have any tips for entering competitions?
A ~ Enter them, and keep entering them! Stay true to your own voice and style and shoot for yourself first and foremost … the rest will come.
Q ~ Who are your current photographer crushes?
A ~ My current photographer crushes are Bastiaan WoudtJustine Tjallinks and Isa Bekaert.

Thank you so much for this opportunity and thank you to B&W Child Photo Competition for bestowing me with this amazing award!
Sarah. xx




By Sarah Bultitude


NOMINEE – “Well Connected” 

By Sarah Bultitude
You can check out more of Sarah’s beautiful work and purchase prints via her Instagram page or through her website Shot By Sarah. Sarah’s winning images plus all other amazing finalists can be viewed in the Winners Gallery over at Black and White Child Photo Competition.

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