Graduate Profiles

Anna Monteith

Musician with The Electric Era & Penny Dreadfuls while furthering more study
Certificate in Contemporary Music – Graduated 2010

UCOL was a great opportunity for me to pursue my real dreams. I chose UCOL’s Contemporary music course after being told about it by a friend, thought it was too good to be true. I really wanted to move on from 7th form. I met a lot of awesome people who I am still very close with today and I got a chance to prove my skills and get to know myself regarding my inner musical genius. . Drumming is definitely my true passion and I spend a lot of my time working on improving this through the PN course. I learnt skills on multiple instruments and jacked up my theory skills. The performance was definitely the best part, and the end of year show was well worth the wait. The tutors were excellent tutors and very knowledgeable and supportive and were also great friends.

Being a one year course, it opened doors and lead me into further study at SAE Institute, studying Sound Engineering, which I completed last year, with Distinction. There I also joined a band with the lecturers and ended up touring Germany with them, we are still a band today and are putting out an album later in the year (The Electric Era). My other band, Penny Dreadfuls is also due to put out an EP later in the year.

I currently put on shows and do sound work when I can while furthering my study with Business and Event Management at AUT. UCOL, started this dream pathway and am loving it all.

Brad Boniface

Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging – Graduated 2008

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt

My influence in photography came from my granddad, who was a professional photographer and my dad always had a camera around his neck so naturally I was allowed to play around with the old cameras laying around. I can still remember running around with my first camera, a silver Kodak loaded with 110 film!

I decided to study at UCOL and found the experience was great; top class facilities (which you miss once you leave!) and time to explore how photography works for yourself. The most important part of the UCOL experience is the knowledge that is passed down from the lecturers. Not only do you get to learn everything they know you also walk away as friends.

I currently own my own business specialising in people photography. I love telling a story and capturing the mood, something that I find comes naturally and I feel comfortable doing. My passion has to be people, I cannot bring myself to even take a landscape shot without someone in it My current style is ‘documentary’, telling the 'story', which I know love.

If there is one piece of advice I would give to any aspiring photographer/artist - Just do what you love. There is a difference between work that people 'have' to do and what people 'love' to do. It gives your work more of you and that is what makes it unique.

We now have a little lad called Noah who is coming up two. Seriously, these little critters change your life and give you a totally new perspective on life. I think over 50% of my personal work had him in the shot somewhere! So passion with passion, family life and photography work so well together.

NZIPP Student of the year
NZIPP Creative photographer of the year
NZIPP Fellow

Jess Compton

Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging – Graduated 2008

When I finished school in 2003 I was at a complete lost at what I wanted to do. All I knew was I enjoyed art. So I joined UCOL’s Certificate in Visual Arts in the Wairarapa. I loved the atmosphere of UCOL and the other students but because I was still living at home I felt like I was still at school. In 2005 I moved to Palmerston North to complete my Diploma in Visual Arts. With diploma in hand I still felt lost, and didn’t know what job I could get or move into. That was when the Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging (BAVI) started. In 2007 I joined the BAVI course with the set goal to get a job at the end. Being able to try my hand at a range of creative outlets lead me to discover my true passion of Graphic design. I finally felt like I found my place. In 2009 I graduated and entered the workforce in my chosen career of Graphic design.

My first job was at Click Clack Limited designing their packaging and catalogues. It was a huge stepping stone for me and I truly valued my time there. But my ultimate goal was to work in a Graphic Design firm. In 2010 my goal was achieved when Loudhailer Design came to me with a job offer. I love being apart of the small team with big personalities. At Loudhailer Design I have the opportunity to work with big clients such as Lexus and Toyota to name a few. But it’s the smaller clients who I love working with most, because I get to build their brand from scratch.

It was a long journey for me to get where I am today, but I would do it all again in a heart beat. My Diploma in Visual Arts has given me the skill to apply traditional methods, like drawing and paining, into my work and the BAVI aloud me to organize my thoughts, build my confidence and put me on the clear path to my chosen career.

Kelvin Gilbert

Diploma of Photographic Imaging – Graduated 2012

“We are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream.
- Bill Hicks”

Starting the Diploma in Photographic Imaging gave me the opprotunity to indulge my passion. Coming into this course with skills in Photography was a help, however it wasn’t essential . I have seen my fellow class mates and myself grow and discover how to show what is in our imagination. This is not necissarily easy at first, but as your techniques match your imagination, it is amazing what we can accomplish.

My aim is to become a photographic retoucher. In the digital world, this is creating fine detailed work on imagery that makes the difference between a good photo and an extrodinary one. This course has shown me how to do this and staff have also given me the guidance as to what I need to enhance, to make this a reality. I have come back for a third year, to do a couple of extra papers, to increase my skills required for this fine skill. The feedback given is amazing, before you know it, you have gone further than you thought you ever could.

We are encouraged to enter awards, it helps alot with belief in yourself and to push your skills. I have won Gold and Silver Distinction in my first year in the student category. This year I am entering as a NZ Professional Photographer - going up against the big boys - exciting and terrifying at the same time. We will know the results in a few weeks.

If you ever wanted to do a course in Photography, this is the one. They feed your passion, help you discover your abilities you never knew you had and it is a great deal of fun along the way.

Update: noted early on in this article, Kelvin was going up against the big boys – well he has shown his talent by scooping the National Illustrative Photographer of the Year (2013) – an incredible achievement for his first year out of study.

Congratulations Kelvin.


NZIPP Photography awards:
National Illustrative Photographer of the Year (2013)
As a year 1 received a Bronze (1st years usually don’t eneter this competition)
AS a second year: Received a Gold and a Silver distinction. Finalist in Student of the year.

Lance van de Vyver

Safari Photographer
Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging – Graduated 2012

Am living the dream! My aim was to be a tour guide teaching Photography in the South African national Parks for tourists, while in my down time running or working in a lodge. Been there – now doing that!

When I entered this course, I came with Photographic skills, however through the BAVI I added more and refined what I could do already. My strength is commercial photography and love the technical side. Trying new things, our lecturers pushed you to achieve higher and higher.

I won awards, a silver and 2 bronze at the NZIPP, and this helps with confidence and also gives you excellent portfolio images.

Lynda Phillips

Advanced Diploma in Photographic Imaging – Graduated 2002
Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging - Graduated 2008

“Do what you love, Love what you do” The Photographer’s Mail July –August 2013

Graduating from UCOL with two qualifications: Advanced diploma in Photography and Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging.

My dream was to work in the Photographic industry, not necessarily be a photographer, but work with photographic technology and people. And now here I am, the owner operator of medium size enterprise, FotoFirst. Plamerston North, New Zealand.

While at UCOL I won the Agfa technical excellence award, which indicated my ability and passion in my love of photographic technology. This is one of the reasons this business appealed to me. It is a Photographic processes business, with a range of specialized photographic products, printing digital and analogue, creative print surfaces and awesome digital technologies.

UCOL encouraged us to do part time work in our area of specialization, this was how I was introduced to this area. The UCOL environment was where I could grow as a person as well as intellectually. It was the perfect place to be to immerse myself in working with like people and enjoyed what I enjoyed. Lecturers were awesome and had realness about what they taught. A unique and special place to study.

Toni Larsen

Photography Business owner
Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging – Graduated 2012

I knew from the outset of my study that I wanted to have my own Wedding and Portrait photography business. Having a vision of where I wanted to be, helped me focus my studies and aim assignments towards my goal, but I also made room for ‘other’ photographic interests to keep pushing my boundaries and keep me creative and excited. BAVI for me has been a cumulative three years of really hard work, incredibly long hours and determination to get the most out of my time here. Be prepared to throw yourself at all opportunities and you’ll get to meet professionals and be able to attend industry events.

I’m now a business owner in Palmerston North, I’m networking and marketing and taking Sundays off. I’m scared and exhilarated at the same time. It takes a lot to make it in the Photography world and to run a successful and sustainable business, but with my degree behind me, and the support of family and friends I feel really great about my future.

My advice to those coming through, immerse yourself in your study and try things you are interested in – now is the perfect time to push the boundaries and explore your style and talent.


Top student Diploma in Photographic Imaging year 1 (I started as a Diploma student and converted to a degree student at the end of yr 1)
Top overall Student BAVI year 2
2011 & 2012 NZIPP Iris Awards: 1 Silver distinction and 2 bronze awards.
Finalist in top New Zealand student/assistant category 2011

Logan Dalgleish

Designer & Illustrator
Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging – Graduated 2006

Before jumping onboard with UCOL, I knew I wanted to build upon my interests in art. So, after talking with a few of the lecturers on the course - I knew that this was going to be the right direction for me. I started the course with an open mind, because I really wasn't too sure which direction I wanted to head in,... Animation, Graphic Design. I wasn't sure? But because you have all this access and exposure to all these cool different avenues - you get the time to make your mind up and decide what really works for you. This is what I really appreciated about the course. A big 'high five' to the BAVI!

Studying at UCOL on the BAVI course was a brilliant journey. The course gives you the 'real' ability to grow. The quality of tuition is top echelon. All the lecturers know their stuff inside out - and because of this its inevitable: you can only jump from strength to strength (providing you throw it into fifth gear and put the effort in).

Since graduating, I now live in the U.S where I freelance as a Graphic Designer/Illustrator. Illustration is where my main passion truly lies though. I love to draw, paint and kick things up a notch with Adobe Illustrator.

Luke Farmer

Videographer / Motion graphic post production
Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging – Graduated 2008

The experience at UCOL was always one that I thoroughly enjoyed from day one until graduation. It helped me develop creatively, technically, socially and professionally.

The fundamentals I learned from the UCOL Animation, Design and Video papers have all contributed to my skill set and craft to be successful in today’s competitive industries.

My aspirations and ambitions have changed dramatically since I first left UCOL. I found a passion in Motion Graphic Design and have started to take the necessary pathways in order to have a successful career in 2D/3D motion graphic animation.

Since 2010 I have worked through the ranks of video editing before moving onto a motion graphic animator and junior post-production supervisor.

I work on projects with all the major networks (TV3, SKY, TVNZ), travel the country doing on site production work, news edits and have worked on many major motorsport events such as the ITM400, NZV8s, V8 SuperCars Australia, World Rally Championship as well as other events such as the Kellogs Iron Man competition and the Rugby World Cup. These projects as well as my social and professional skills I developed at UCOL has gained me international recognition, with work commissioned by various agents of ESPN.

The ultimate goal for myself now is to take my skills offshore and tackle the big bad world, creating sports motion graphics and visual effects for major networks in the United States and Europe.


UCOL Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging 2008 Student of the Year for Video and Sound

Rachel Brandon

Interior Designer
Diploma in Interior Design – Graduated 2011

Rachel has a passion for interior Design, but it wasn’t until she hit a point in her life where her life when it was time to do something for herself.

“The building and construction paper was fantastic as it gave us insight into how a house is built and a general understanding of the process involved. It involved using our hands and getting dirty”

I hadn’t studies for many years and I set myself goals at the start of my studies and achieved them with the amazing support of the lecturers and my family

Directly after finishing her course she evolved her part time interior Design business into a full time business. Truly enjoying the creation of beautiful interiors.

“The contacts I have while at UCOL have been crucial in my success and those contact have continued to support me on my journey. Every day I am amazed how my business is growing and how much my life has changed thanks to UCOL”