Annette [Netty] Richards
My why is about connection. People to people, people to places.
I feel blessed to call New Zealand home. I acknowledge Māori tangata whenua our 'indigenous people of the land' of Aotearoa New Zealand, and reasonte with māturanga māori.
I was a late bloomer - the first four years were especially rough, the subsequent 10 very unpredictable.
As an observer of all things, thankfully I was drawn to nature, I could escape. I saw patterns - reflections of other worlds and cultures. I saw that everything was connected.
Im also thankful it 'takes a village' - at intermediate school, my art teacher (secretly) entered my 'Scottish Drummer' painting into the World Children's Art Exhibition, and it won. Sir John Kirwan presented my award. In a country that worshipped sport, having this legend support the arts was amazing.
At secondary school, I excelled at art, sculptural and abstract particularly. Sadly a serious accident and head injury cut my senior years short. I would have gone on to study art history instead, I left school age 16 to work on a chicken farm, collecting eggs (till the farm was eventually sold).
At 19 with no qualifications, ever the dreamer. I applied to art school and got accepted, but was soon talked out of this - told I wasn't prolific enough (talented?) encouraged instead, to 'get a real job'.
So I did get that real job, during the Shipley administration no less! I worked my way up. It definitely enabled my love of people and places to flourish. My discovery and connection to community - for me to connect the dots. Find my tribe, and eventually my voice. I also had to learn, the hard way, to take better care of myself.
Untill COVID-19 I traveled often, learning all I could about the World. Making cultural connections. Seeking I guess.
At 43 I was in Rishikesh, India. It was the eve of Dussehra - for the last ten days people from all over India had poured into the city, the atmosphere was beyond electric. It was a particularly hot day. I had finally given in to the local children's pleas to swim with them in the Ganges.
To my utter shock, when I emerged from the cool, clean, deep water and stood on Ganga Beach. It hit me, that this wild woman, barefoot and joyful was the real me. I am my past, present and future self and wild lives in her soul.
I know it sounds clichéd, I know. I like to think what you're seeking is seeking you. I never in a million years would have thought it was me.
So it's with a Shoshin (beginners) mind I'm letting my art emerge now. I'm unapologetically bringing my whole self to the table, after a lifetime of believing I wasn't enough.
I hope something here, resonates for you.
Netty's website: visualifephotojournalism.com
Netty's Insta: visualife_netty_richards
See Netty's collection of available work on Figgle here