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  • Francesca Pietkiewicz

Introducing Shoot Golden NZ: Making Art out of Flowers, Nail Polish, and Coconut Oil

Words by Francesca Pietkiewicz (she/they)


On the last Sunday before we started back at work, Bella and I journeyed our way through Te Aro toward the historical glory that is Inverlochy Art School to attend an art workshop. The Chemigram Workshop was hosted by Shoot Golden NZ and their founder Fatima Grant. Shoot Golden NZ is an actively inclusive and sustainable photography organisation and ecommerce retailer. I talked with Fatima about their kaupapa and vision for photography. 


“I started Shoot Golden NZ in December 2023, based in Wellington. As a female, LGBTQIA+, and Filipino-owned photographic business, I feel that as an underrepresented individual, it is my purpose to inform and inspire our creative communities. My own motto, ‘it's now or never’, is how Shoot Golden NZ was born,” Fatima said. “My vision for the business came together due to my background in a multitude of creative practices including photography, fine arts, gold and silversmithing.” 


Upon arrival, Fatima sent us foraging into Inverlochy Art School’s surrounding gardens for our artistic practice. I felt transported back to a school holiday programme from my childhood, collecting lavender, leaf skeletons, and pretty petals. It was glorious. We would be making chemigrams, which are produced from an experimental form of darkroom photography that involves painting on and placing objects onto light-sensitive photographic paper. 

“Shoot Golden NZ focuses on trading restored, refurbished, and otherwise saved analogue equipment with the aim to keep this gear out of landfill and in the hands of practising creatives,” Fatima told me. “Our kaupapa is strongly connected to reducing our carbon footprint on the planet, [and] encouraging like-minded people to support local businesses and shop sustainably.” 


“Analogue photography forces the user to slow down and appreciate the environment around them. Having a limited number of exposures, one has to be selective in how you document your surroundings. This is what drew me to photography in the first place.”


“In the Chemigram Workshop, I ask participants to take ownership of their work by looking to their surrounding environment for inspiration, collecting found objects such as foliage. [They then focus on] repurposing them throughout their work to contrast the abstract textures chemicals create, thus allowing the creative process to be natural and unique to each individual.” 


After you’ve made your masterpiece out of household objects and botanicals, you expose it to light under an enlarger. Bella and I both agreed that the process of spraying coconut oil, squirting and spreading toothpaste, and drip dropping nail polish over our flowers reminded us of the types of joyous potion making and finger painting we did as preschoolers. Finally, you discard the beautiful mess off your canvas, take it through the developing process, and hang it up to dry. 


It was an honour to attend Shoot Golden NZ’s first workshop. The whole workshop was a gorgeously freeing experience. It took the stress out of creativity that Bella and I often experience as working creatives. We were allowed to be kids again. 


“As a predominantly self-taught photographer, I noticed a lack of inclusive and supportive spaces for exploring analogue photographic practices for art students and creatives alike,” Fatima explained.  


“We run workshops for this very reason, allowing curious minds to learn these skills, including black and white film developing, cyanotype, chemigram, and photogram classes, to name a few scheduled throughout the year.” 


Find Shoot Golden NZ here: 

Instagram: @shootgoldenz 

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