2016 | Year in review

What a big year it has been. I've moved country, switched camera brands, had a variety of hair styles, changed direction with my photography and learned a whole lot in the process. I'm writing this post as my last act of "work" for the year as we head up to the beach house today for a dose of vitamin D and a break from too much computer time. 

Before moving to New Zealand I was pretty unsure of what the future would hold, I just knew I had to keep challenging myself and force myself to do something different. I had a dream job in Sydney shooting full-time, working with really lovely people and I had lots of beautiful gear at my disposal. But when you achieve one of your goals in life, to keep achieving you have to set your sights higher. It was pretty scary moving to New Zealand, but we found a place to live, and I landed a nice big job straight off the bat shooting a food commercial. Before moving here I was at a bit of a loss photographically. There are so many wonderful photographers out there and to set yourself apart you need to find a voice and a style. You need to be known for something (this is what mentors are telling me at least). I found it really hard to move in one direction because so much of photography interests me, portraits, architecture, product etc. But shooting this job really solidified my love for food and I quickly picked up more work shooting food and landed a regular gig at My Food Bag shooting their recipe cards and social media photography. I split my time between working there, on other freelance projects, personal projects and luckily I have enough time to relax and workout. 

It's been strange moving to a new place and not having any long-term friends. My best friend from Sydney has been travelling the world for most of this year so we could only speak intermittently. It's been a little isolating but with the quiet comes introspection and with introspection comes revelation. I've learnt lots about myself and the world and am really happy I made the move. 

That's probably enough writing for now so I will let the work speak for itself. What will follow is a series of images that I have shot this year, commissioned and personal projects. After this posts I'm off to the beach for the next 2 weeks to recharge and think about the year ahead and what my next goals will be.

Merry Christmas to you and your family and thankyou for supporting and viewing my work this year.

Cheers!

V

 

Karekare | Dog of Wisdom

I went for a walk with my friend Michelle the other day. We stopped off for coffee and got sandwiches to go and started the drive to Karekare just 45mins out of Auckland. I had been on a walk here before and really enjoyed it and wanted to share it with Michelle. We hopped out of the car and got our things together and started to head towards the waterfall. Along the way we were greeted by the cutest black labrador who was very wet and very excited. 

I love dogs and frequently loose my train of thought when I see one on the street. It's my greatest sadness that we can't own a dog at the moment, they make you so happy! Anyway, dog rant over. This particular dog was really excited and started to walk with us. I was completely okay with this because as I have mentioned, I LOVE DOGS. Time went by and this dog led us to the waterfall, running ahead a little, then looking back eagerly like "you guys I am taking you to the best place ever, hurry up." We eagerly followed our newfound tour guide who led us to the waterfall. The dog excitedly walked around the whole perimeter of the clearing and went in the water as if it was showing off all the space and activities you can participate in whilst in this beautiful location. We took it all in and thought ourselves to be blessed by this majestic tour guide pupper.

It's a bit of an Instagram location for all those #wanderlust photographers and each time I have been there someone has been attempting to get an epic Instagram. These two german boys were there taking photos and seemed a little annoyed at our presence and the dog. I couldn't really comprehend this because IT'S A DOG!!! We soon realised the cause of their gripes when the dog ran away and came back with a huge stick, actually it was more of a small log. Our guide dropped the small log at our feet and began barking VERY LOUDLY. The sounds of his mighty bark reverberated in the little valley we were in and it was actually a little frightening. I had met dogs like this before, you start playing and game and then suddenly you're in for a two hour long battle of tug of war. A bit like when you start playing hide and seek with your small cousin at a family bbq and you're now responsible for them for the whole evening. 

I tried to restrain myself from throwing the stick (which was very difficult because I do enjoy a good game of fetch myself). Michelle however was unable to resist and threw the stick a little way, igniting a wave of barks even louder and more excited than the last. We quickly realised where this was heading. I tried to look at the dog's collar but it only had a council identification label and we had no reception to call the council. We decided to take some photos and continue on our way and see what our tour guide would do. We got the german boys to take a photo of us all and we continued on our way, the dog disappearing quickly, presumably to go find some other unsuspecting walkers and fill their day with glee/terror.

We walked along the sand of the beach a little way and found a place to eat our lunch and left soon after as it was pretty windy and the black sand at Karekare is a little brutal. We stopped off on the way home for a coffee and to peek at a beautiful gallery and then went back home to revisit the majestic dog in our dreams. 

WELLINGTON | Eating my way around the windy city

Mum was in Wellington for a girls trip so I decided to tag along and see a new city and get a glimpse at what life would be like with four mums. We wandered around the city, ate at Crabshack, browsed the shops and then got the cable car up the mountain and walked back through the botanic gardens. We ate some more food, watched Bridesmaids after dinner and slept soundly.

The next day it was just mum and I so we had breakfast at Sweet Mothers Kitchen, visited Te Papa museum and saw the most beautiful Gallipoli exhibition. We had dinner at the Matterhorn to celebrate my birthday early. We then had the most delicious cocktail at this cute bar called the Library. Our last day together was spent being sad that we would have to be separated again, eating more food and having a beer. 

A short, but very sweet escape to a new city with my mum as an early birthday present. It hit the spot <3.

Family Portrait

We had a housewarming not too long ago to christen our new Ponsonby home. As a joke I thought it would be quite funny to have a classic styled family portrait of Fergus, Cam and myself. We set up a studio, put on our best clothes and huddled close for the photo. I printed it at Endemic world in Ponsonby. They sell all these amazing prints and artworks by NZ artists, I love their stuff! It now hangs proudly above our mantlepiece in the living room. 

In Tags

Winter Ingredients

I've been shooting lots of food lately which has been both delicious and creatively satisfying. It's a big change from portraits because I can control the lighting and composition and food doesn't get self-conscious. I shot these images one afternoon when we had some wintery vegetables at home.

QUEENSTOWN 2016

Each year Ferg's family goes on a holiday together to Queenstown to Ski. Last year was my first time joining them and I tagged along again this year. 

When checking in for my flight I realised that I had been placed in the emergency row, which means extra leg room. When I asked to change seats, the desk clerk was pretty puzzled as to why I would give up a seat that some people pay extra money for. I explained that I wanted to see the view but she still didn't seem to get it, completing my request regardless. Flying into Queenstown is a somewhat terrifying experience if you are a semi-nervous flyer. As the captain announces that it's time to prepare for the descent, you put up your tray table and fasten your seatbelt, putting up the window shade only to reveal a giant mountain right there in the window. The captain skillfully navigates the plane right through mountain ranges, so close you can see the details in the snow covered rocks and lands in a tiny town. Last time I flew in, I had booked the 7am flight so I could see the mountains in a beautiful sunrise, the cloud lit up in pink, but the weather wasn't as clear this time. The skies were moody, dark and brooding, but quickly cleared later that day. 

We hastily made our way up the mountain and I managed to squeeze in 4 days of skiing in my short break between shoots back in Auckland. We stayed at Millbrook in Arrowtown which is such a pretty place to be! Little ducks greeted us each morning and evening and we could see the mountains from our window. They also have an amazing spa open to guests which is heaven after a long day of skiing. 

We took one day off to rest our legs and explore the area a little more. Ferg and I hired a car and had my favourite breakfast at Joes garage; the Joker roll. We then drove out to Paradise, which is a little further than Glenorchy. It was pretty beautiful in the plains between the ice capped mountains, but my favourite part was the beautiful forest. We wanted to take photos during a pretty sunset but weren't as lucky as the previous year. We were hoping for something each day we were there but mother nature didn't treat us until the final evening before we were meant to get our flight. We quickly made a dash up the Remarkables before boarding our plane back to Auckland. 

KENNY

Kenny is a unique person. She's fiercely intelligent, a solid feminist and a brilliant performer. She's studying gender studies and performance studies and is a big advocator for sexual health and abuse victims. She's been in the news a bit lately and I was reading these articles from New Zealand, thinking about how awesome she is for speaking so openly about her experience of abuse. It takes guts and a big support network to speak so candidly and I'm really happy she is helping shake things up in Sydney's college culture. When I was in Sydney our schedules aligned and we made this portrait series together. I have been thinking a lot about what art I make and what I want to say as an artist. I really care about the Feminist movement and love to showcase brilliant women being themselves, and am still experimenting with showcasing characters and stories that are an extension of this. Kenny and I hung out one Sunday night, I had just been at a big all day shoot and she was preparing to go travelling overseas the next day. We were both a bit scattered and had racing minds and were probably a little sleep deprived, but maybe this is when the magic happens. We played around with the concepts of femininity, woman-hood, Kenny's wardrobe and with the random bits of fruit and flowers I brought with me. The resulting images are so varied and I love them. 

Sydney trip

Before moving to Auckland, I booked tickets to go back to Sydney for my sister's 30th. It was going to be a surprise but I got a booking for a wedding the weekend before in Sydney, so thought it was cruel to keep my presence in the country for a week a secret so I spilled the beans. I was kind of feeling like I didn't really live in Auckland yet because I was going back for a visit and now that i'm back here, I really live here...... weird logic but hey, thats how my head works sometimes. 

I got to see a few people, but definitely didn't get to spend enough time with everyone. On the Saturday when I arrived I went with mum to check out the wedding location and plan where I would take the couple for photos. Mum posed for some portraits below. I shot the wedding on Sunday, then in the evening did a portrait session, then a few days later flew up north to see my childhood friend Ash who just had a baby in Yamba. We took some photos, reminisced and marvelled at where life has brought us. Again, some of these images are below. 

Once I got back to Sydney there was just enough time to make a cake and prepare my sister's 30th. It was a really beautiful evening with lots of her friends from uni and work coming to have a drink and a dance. There was a lovely moment when I was the perfect level of drunk and I was dancing with my mum, dad, brother, sister and brother in law to Gemma's favourite 80's hits. The next day we all went to breakfast then everyone slowly left. Cris went off to Uni. Gems and Aaron went home. Mum left for the airport to visit family in the UK and then suddenly it was just me and dad left in the house and it was time for me to head back to Auckland. Visiting home is such a tease. I got to spend time with just a fraction of my friends and remember all the reasons why I love that city, and then it was time to head home. Alas!

Also, I almost forgot but I dyed my hair brown! I went back to my normal hair dresser because I was too scared to get someone new to do it. I have fully adjusted now to being a brunette. 

Here are some images I took along the way during my time in Sydney. 

Bushwalk in Karekare

We went for a walk on the long weekend. It was lovely and so was the sunset. #NewZealandLandscape photos in this post. Have a look see. 

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First few months in Auckland

I've just moved to Auckland, New Zealand. This is my first post after moving and has some pretty pictures taken with my new camera. 

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First Post

Here is my first post on this blog.

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ROTARUA: New Zealand Travel Photographer

In early January we visited Rotarua. The weather was overcast, but the thermal springs we lovely and relaxing. We visited the Polynesian Spa, Wai-o-tapu village, and our favourite Waikite Thermal Pools. We opted for private spas which was worth it to have no kids splashing around. At Waikite we had lunch at their cafe which was really good! The mist rolling through the trees was my favourite and I'm going to print some of these images as they're so atmospheric!

Rangitoto Island - Auckland Photographer

Over summer we had hoped to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing but the weather was going to be too bad so instead we opted for the Rangitoto Island Hike. Rangitoto Island is an extinct volcano made from volcanic rock. You hop on a ferry from Britomart and make the short journey across to the Island. The climb to the summit is easy and about an hour to the top. We had an explore around the summit looking at disused bunkers and some very interesting caves before needing to head back to the ferry before the weather turned. We did this walk on the last day of the year and it was a nice time to reflect on the year that was. Luckily we got back to the city in the nick of time as a huge storm rolled in just in time to see the New Year in with a bang, and fallen trees and lots of debris!

SUMMER BEACH HOLIDAY - New Zealand Photographer

Summer in New Zealand was largely spent by the sea. We went on long walks, swam in some beautiful beaches on enjoyed the good weather while it lasted. 

Auckland University Wander - Auckland Lifestyle and Architectural Photographer

Upon arriving in Auckland I went for a few long walks around the city. This is how I orient myself when I go somewhere new. Aside from insisting I drive when Ferg and I went out so I could learn how all the suburbs connect, walking round has been the best for me. I love seeing new cities and shooting new places with fresh eyes. You find beauty in the mundane things like bike wheels perfectly lined up, clouds reflecting on glass surfaces or interesting lines. These images were taken one day wandering round Auckland University and Auckland University of Technology. 

PLANE - Auckland Photographer

Back when I lived in Sydney, I would make frequent trips to Auckland to visit Ferg and spend time getting to know the city I would make a home in. The lights on planes and through the window always feel nostalgic and special to me.