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How A National Geographic Award-Winning Picture Connected Us With Two Families
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Photography, Travel7 years ago

How A National Geographic Award-Winning Picture Connected Us With Two Families

Have you ever experienced a perfect moment that passed by so quickly and you wanted to go back so badly to do something about it but that wasn’t possible anymore? Everyone experiences that. My girlfriend Martina and I experienced one of those moments in Queenstown on our last day in New Zealand in 2013. And this very same moment turned our lives upside down.

I took this photo of the most amazing scene that we saw in New Zealand – a busking piano player and a little girl. The piano music was perfect, it was giving us chills. But we were in a rush and we left the scene so quickly without knowing this guy’s or girl’s name, not even buying the music. The greatest regret.

Few months later, completely unexpectedly, the photo that I took back there won one of 10 awards among 15500 photos in annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest (the one whose 2015 winners were just announced 2 days ago). What an unbelievable feeling! And what a craziness started right after that. The winners with their photos became huge news all over the world.

But that was not the top of the magic, not even close. Everything that happened right after that became the most amazing series of events, better than the award itself.

More info: nikolasmernic.com

This was the photo taken in Queenstown, which won 10 awards in National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2013

Back then those two were unknown people to me.

Few days after the announcement, I received a message that got me into tears

It was from the piano player who’s in the photo. Mathias Piano Man. Our perfect New Zealand moment that was gone, was suddenly BACK! Right in front of us. We were endlessly happy. We even got the link to all of his music. No words can ever describe that feeling.

Few days after that, we received an email from the girl’s mother

The photo above was attached into this email. It was a mother writing in the name of her daughter – the little girl from my photo! That’s how we met Jemma.

At that point we couldn’t believe all of that, we were bursting with happiness. Two of them were not related in any way and back then it was Jemma’s last day in Queenstown as well. All three families got so connected and started to exchange messages all the time.

I sent a big framed and signed photo to Mathias all the way to New Zealand

He took the photo with the frame at that very same spot.

I sent another one to Jemma who lives in Nelson, New Zealand

Then Mathias sent us his four original albums with his amazing piano instrumentals

We decided to buy the rights to use his music for our wedding photography business! We are now making beautiful wedding photography slideshows with his music and we deliver them to our couples! They are so thrilled with them and Mathias received some money to help him release his fifth album!

Not long after, my girlfriend and I decided to get married

We started daydreaming about having Mathias playing his music on our wedding in Croatia. It seemed impossible cause New Zealand is so far away, so there wasn’t too much of hope. But Mathias gave us the greatest news: he was coming to Europe right around that time to visit his family!!! Is there an end to all of those coincidences?!

So we brought him to Croatia to play at our wedding!

It was the craziest feeling possible. There he was – this guy from the photo I took just a year before on completely different part of the world. Back then I didn’t know who he was, what’s his story, who’s his family… and now he was here, with his girlfriend and their daughter, playing this same perfect music at our wedding.

The only thing left to do is: go back to New Zealand and meet Jemma and her family

It all started with a single moment, a single regret and a single photo taken at the right moment. And now, thanks to it and that National Geographic award, we have two fantastic families from a different part of the planet in our life, we have the perfect business collaboration and the most fantastic travel photography experience one could ever imagine.

You can never know what’s waiting for you on your travels or what’s happening behind the photos you took. Jemma, we hope to meet you in person one day and go back to listen to Mathias at our magical spot!

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KarinMilotich
Community Member
7 years ago

It's a great story, full of meaningful connections...that gives me hope I can also make my traveling dreams come true :) beautiful photo!

VanjaListes
Community Member
7 years ago

Wonderful story! Wonderful people! So glad to have met Mathias at the wedding and listened to his music :) Looking forward to Martina and Nikola's future stories and photographs!

MarioBajan
Community Member
7 years ago

This is amazing, best story ever!!!

Michel Guntern
Community Member
6 years ago

Such a great story and proof of how our pictures can get viewed by the people that matter.

AiliaJameel
Community Member
7 years ago

This is beautiful , of how people get connected to each other so well , though from two different places far way the connection and the love is undying .

MareeFish
Community Member
7 years ago

Love this story. Shared on our FB page Woodbury Retreat. Mathias Piano Man is a treasured entertainer in Queenstown. His music inspires.

SusannaVesna
Community Member
7 years ago

WOw! That's amazing! Should make it into a movie!

TheOutsider1p
Community Member
7 years ago

this is the best story i have ever heared

DebbyLabrie
Community Member
7 years ago

Love it!

LetíciaTeles
Community Member
7 years ago

woooow, I got chills aaaaall over me!

olemann77
Community Member
7 years ago

Great story! Great happening! Great read!

KatrinZdragka
Community Member
7 years ago

brought me tears. how amazing. incredible. thanks for sharing.

gaz
Community Member
7 years ago

Wonderful story, it's like dreams come true with a happy ending.

PirateLegal
Community Member
7 years ago

Hollywood needs to make a movie on this.

AshleyY
Community Member
7 years ago

I really enjoyed this story :)

HelenFrances
Community Member
7 years ago

Sweet story. I hope you get back to NZ to meet the little girl and her family.

harukakubota
Community Member
7 years ago

fantastic!!

SultanKocaman
Community Member
7 years ago

Great story!

RinoaHeartilly
Community Member
7 years ago

Insanely beautiful!!!

MiaBajan
Community Member
7 years ago

Amazing story!!!

IvanaBralić
Community Member
7 years ago

Wow, great story!

MarijanaMunitić
Community Member
7 years ago

This story makes me tear up every time I read it <3

AntonijaMihovilović
Community Member
7 years ago

mindblowing! You guys should make a movie about this!

AndraDragan
Community Member
7 years ago

Great story, I can't believe I had the chance to listen it live and now I read it here...awesome :)

Samantha Camelo
Community Member
2 years ago

Very nice!! I wonder if the image rights of the people in the photo are not necessary to participate in the contest?

Samantha Camelo
Community Member
2 years ago

Very nice story. I wonder if the image rights of the people in the photo are not necessary to participate in the contest?

Wynne Mainprize
Community Member
6 years ago

I guess I'm a romantic, but I think it's a great story! I hope everything works out for he and his wife, and I hope that little girl smiles more often.

Yolanda
Community Member
6 years ago

What a wonderful toughing story. Thank you for sharing it. This kind of connection of the photographer and his models is what makes photography meaningful to me.

Leiah
Community Member
6 years ago

Awesome! I live in New Zealand! Glad you found your magic here!

HildaBurke
Community Member
6 years ago

Love this story!! Great photos, thanks for making me smile this morning :)

MiyukiNohara
Community Member
6 years ago

oh my god such a nice story and jemma is so beautiful

GOLDENSTARVISALINKS
Community Member
6 years ago

Wazifa for Visa Problems If you are facing any issues/problems regarding specially visas/going abroad due to visa problems. You want your visa to be sucessful or you want to get your visa immediately for your emergency needs. Do not panic, have a lot of patience, insha ALLAH you will get your visa as soon as possible. please!! do not doubt any wazifa before or during performing it. Otherwise, you will loose actually. Here is the Surah from Quran-e-Kareem, and how to perform this wazifa for any countries visas first you will start wazifa you will taken manzoori to do this THANKS MY MUSLIMS BROTHERS ************************************************************** GOLDEN STAR VISA LINKS LEGAL APPLY REAL VISA OF COUNTRIES Successful passports visa services Successful Consultancy available for visited visa Comp

Kleiner
Community Member
6 years ago

That's really great!

KarinMilotich
Community Member
7 years ago

It's a great story, full of meaningful connections...that gives me hope I can also make my traveling dreams come true :) beautiful photo!

VanjaListes
Community Member
7 years ago

Wonderful story! Wonderful people! So glad to have met Mathias at the wedding and listened to his music :) Looking forward to Martina and Nikola's future stories and photographs!

MarioBajan
Community Member
7 years ago

This is amazing, best story ever!!!

Michel Guntern
Community Member
6 years ago

Such a great story and proof of how our pictures can get viewed by the people that matter.

AiliaJameel
Community Member
7 years ago

This is beautiful , of how people get connected to each other so well , though from two different places far way the connection and the love is undying .

MareeFish
Community Member
7 years ago

Love this story. Shared on our FB page Woodbury Retreat. Mathias Piano Man is a treasured entertainer in Queenstown. His music inspires.

SusannaVesna
Community Member
7 years ago

WOw! That's amazing! Should make it into a movie!

TheOutsider1p
Community Member
7 years ago

this is the best story i have ever heared

DebbyLabrie
Community Member
7 years ago

Love it!

LetíciaTeles
Community Member
7 years ago

woooow, I got chills aaaaall over me!

olemann77
Community Member
7 years ago

Great story! Great happening! Great read!

KatrinZdragka
Community Member
7 years ago

brought me tears. how amazing. incredible. thanks for sharing.

gaz
Community Member
7 years ago

Wonderful story, it's like dreams come true with a happy ending.

PirateLegal
Community Member
7 years ago

Hollywood needs to make a movie on this.

AshleyY
Community Member
7 years ago

I really enjoyed this story :)

HelenFrances
Community Member
7 years ago

Sweet story. I hope you get back to NZ to meet the little girl and her family.

harukakubota
Community Member
7 years ago

fantastic!!

SultanKocaman
Community Member
7 years ago

Great story!

RinoaHeartilly
Community Member
7 years ago

Insanely beautiful!!!

MiaBajan
Community Member
7 years ago

Amazing story!!!

IvanaBralić
Community Member
7 years ago

Wow, great story!

MarijanaMunitić
Community Member
7 years ago

This story makes me tear up every time I read it <3

AntonijaMihovilović
Community Member
7 years ago

mindblowing! You guys should make a movie about this!

AndraDragan
Community Member
7 years ago

Great story, I can't believe I had the chance to listen it live and now I read it here...awesome :)

Samantha Camelo
Community Member
2 years ago

Very nice!! I wonder if the image rights of the people in the photo are not necessary to participate in the contest?

Samantha Camelo
Community Member
2 years ago

Very nice story. I wonder if the image rights of the people in the photo are not necessary to participate in the contest?

Wynne Mainprize
Community Member
6 years ago

I guess I'm a romantic, but I think it's a great story! I hope everything works out for he and his wife, and I hope that little girl smiles more often.

Yolanda
Community Member
6 years ago

What a wonderful toughing story. Thank you for sharing it. This kind of connection of the photographer and his models is what makes photography meaningful to me.

Leiah
Community Member
6 years ago

Awesome! I live in New Zealand! Glad you found your magic here!

HildaBurke
Community Member
6 years ago

Love this story!! Great photos, thanks for making me smile this morning :)

MiyukiNohara
Community Member
6 years ago

oh my god such a nice story and jemma is so beautiful

GOLDENSTARVISALINKS
Community Member
6 years ago

Wazifa for Visa Problems If you are facing any issues/problems regarding specially visas/going abroad due to visa problems. You want your visa to be sucessful or you want to get your visa immediately for your emergency needs. Do not panic, have a lot of patience, insha ALLAH you will get your visa as soon as possible. please!! do not doubt any wazifa before or during performing it. Otherwise, you will loose actually. Here is the Surah from Quran-e-Kareem, and how to perform this wazifa for any countries visas first you will start wazifa you will taken manzoori to do this THANKS MY MUSLIMS BROTHERS ************************************************************** GOLDEN STAR VISA LINKS LEGAL APPLY REAL VISA OF COUNTRIES Successful passports visa services Successful Consultancy available for visited visa Comp

Kleiner
Community Member
6 years ago

That's really great!

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