Long before the days of Peter Jackson, New Zealand was was well known within the world of photography as the perfect place to capture stunning landscape photography. From golden sand beaches and volcanoes in the north, to giant glaciers, snow-capped mountains and penguins in the south, New Zealand offers professional photographers some of the world’s finest scenery spread generously over a small area.
However, it’s not just in landscape photography that the country stands out. The New Zealand photography scene in 2015 is one of the most vibrant in the world with new talent pushing the boundaries in almost every genre, not just in landscape photography.
Below we have selected 10 of New Zealand’s best photographers working today to give you the perfect example of the amazing work the country is producing and to discover more about their love of photography.
1. MIKE HOLLMAN
2. ROSS BROWN
“Our geographical isolation allows us the opportunity to have a unique point of view, yet in no way do we feel limited by our location, or isolated from what is going on in the rest of the world.
“In my work as an advertising photographer, I travel to all corners of the globe, and photograph all manner of subject matter. My work is as diverse as my inspiration. I like to mix contemporary with classical, always with a focus on light, and the play of light. I focus on creating mood and atmosphere, beauty and, with luck, an emotive response to my imagery.”
3. JOSE G CANO
“My photography is deeply rooted in the flow of movement, the unrepeatable moment that happens when water or another element meets dance and the body in motion, every time different, gone; only retained by the image I created.
“New Zealand is a small market, so we are all with our eyes in the world, growing and squeezing our creativity between the constrains of our limitations.”
4. GREG WARD
“New Zealand is world famous for picture postcard scenery. But the heart of Christchurch city still has many grim reminders of a devastating earthquake that killed 185 people in 2011. Large parts of the inner city resemble abandoned car parks. Rebuilding work is painfully slow.
“During a brief visit this month, I discovered this stairway to heaven. It’s all that remains from what might have been a local hotel or office block. Someone has thoughtfully placed a chair at the top, so you can reflect on the view.”
5. JACOB HOWARD
“I find it very inspirational living down here at the bottom of the world. With its diverse landscapes New Zealand is both beautiful and dramatic, an incredible backdrop for any photographer. The weather is changeable and completely transforms everyday scenes with its moods. Like when the fog creeps in– stripping detail from the landscape, or the haziness in the sky after freshly dusting the mountains with snow. I love being right there, capturing these subtle moments as they unfold.”
“I’ve been a commercial photographer for 27 years now, and although my work sees me travel all over the world (over 50 countries to date, and still counting), I love coming home and having the opportunity to take photos in my own country.
“In today’s digital era where clients can source imagery from almost anywhere, often at little or no cost, photographers really have to stand out and be offering something unique to justify their commercial rates. If you look at New Zealand in light of the immense global economy, we’ve always had to do that in order to be noticed. So growing up in this country does teach you to work harder and think differently in order to gain attention, and therefore creatively I think we have a lot to offer.”
7. JEREMY TOTH
“I am based in Auckland, New Zealand. My work has gradually become more focused on architecture, capturing it in both stills and motion. There are some incredibly talented people wanting to make world class projects here in New Zealand.
“We are a young country keen on developing its own contemporary identity drawn from inspiration all around the world. During the last five to ten years or so Auckland has seen huge transformation and I am just fortunate enough to be here to capture it.”
8. HOLLY SPRING
“Our local photographers don’t have to look far for inspiration. New Zealand has a beautiful, mostly unspoiled and accessible landscape perfect for all kinds of photography. Having a sense of place is so important in image making. It gives us a connection to our environment and to the people in it.
“I have a great deal of respect for our professional photographers. They are lovely, salt of the earth, and wonderfully creative people who have humility and heart. This is evident in the quality and calibre of work produced.”
9. ANDRIS APSE
“I like to travel to carefully researched but hard to reach locations to get the photographs of New Zealand’s landscape that nobody else has; burdened more by the weight of my professional equipment than the necessities requisite for survival.
“Getting the perfect shot often requires a sniper’s patience – huddling for days and nights under canvas waiting for the perfect collision of light, sky, landscape and weather. Sometimes I capture a series of photographs, sometimes only one, on occasion not a single frame is exposed.”
10. KATOANGA FINAU
“As a photographer I shoot people in a studio environment, light, form, simplicity and feeling are important to me and I try to make my work personal. I prefer for my photos to be and feel metaphorical than look literal, however, the emotional quality of the work is something hard to achieve because its hard to control.
“It’s satisfying to feel connected to something you see. Maybe that’s why I shoot, to create effective images I can relate to and be able to re-experience the same feelings in the future when I see those pictures again.
“New Zealand holds a high standard of photographic work. We are such a small country with very talented people who have potential to do big things. It’s our passion and obsession that drive us to do better and be good at what we do.
“This photograph is from a series of work called ‘Body Language’ that communicates emotion and feeling with a simplified depiction.”
So there you have it, 10 examples of why New Zealand photographers are among the best in the world. With a great mix of landscapes, commercial, and fine art photography, the New Zealand photography scene in 2015 is evidently far more diverse than many people would first imagine; and with photography becoming a more popular subject among young New Zealanders, the future is in good hands.