Meet the Image Nation speakers, part one

One of the must-attend events of New Zealand photography is coming up next month, and this year's programme looks as dazzling as ever. Image Nation is a two-day conference of back-to-back presentations by some of the biggest names in commercial photography, both local and international. This year it is taking place on Friday, June 13 and Saturday June 14 at central Auckland's Q Theatre. The organiser, the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association, has done a wonderful job in keeping the price of admission down to make the event accessible: check out the tickets here.

To make sure you're all clued up for this weekend of information overload, D-Photo introduces you to the prestigious speakers taking to the stage at this year's Image Nation conference:

Simon Harsent

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Originally from England, photographer Simon Harsent emigrated to Australia and has spent over two decades developing his career to become one of the country’s most highly regarded commercial shooters. Working from bases in both Sydney and New York, he now counts BMW, Emirates, Sony, Singapore Airlines, Subaru, Canon, Mastercard, Levi’s, and Range Rover, Hyatt Hotels among his covetable list of clients.

His commercial work has brought him a slew of both national and international awards, including Cannes Lions, One Show, Clio, D&AD, London International, and Australia’s first Cannes Grand Prix. In 2011 he co-founded the New South Whales-based POOL photography collective.

As well as being one of the world's most awarded commercial photographers, he has also cultivated a respected career in the fine art world. In 2009 he published his first monograph, Melt: Portrait of an Iceberg, which was exhibited in galleries and museums around the globe. He also has work in the permanent collections of the Queensland Art Gallery and The Powerhouse Museum.

Below you can watch a video of Harsent discussing his Melt project in the Canon Seconds video series.

 

Mark Watson

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Regarded as one of Australia's leading adventure sport photographers, Mark Watson is undoubtedly a man with a few thrilling tales to tell. Motocross, heliskiing, free climbing, mountain biking, cliff diving, paragliding – if it's the sort of thing that has the potential to scare someone half to death, you can bet he's shot it.

Watson is a photographer who has turned his love of adventure into a thriving career, shooting for a wide variety of clients, from the usual suspects in the commercial, sports and auto industries to government agencies, editorial magazines and websites, and advertising campaigns.

He has also attracted sponsorship from a variety of big brands, including being a Nikon Australia Ambassador and Red Bull Australia's key photographer. In the following video Watson discusses a motion and stills shoot he devised with a hang glider sailing through amazing clouds.

 

Liz Ham

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With a distinctive style comprising equal parts humours irreverence, storytelling aptitude, and a nostalgically charged visuals, Liz Ham has become one of Australia's leading fashion photographers in a career just shy of two decades.

Ham's work has been featured in the pages of Vogue Australia, Blackbook, Dazed and Confused, Nylon, InStyle, Madison, Russh, Oyster, GQ, Vogue Nippon and Manuscript. Her distinctive style has also been brought to bear on such celebrities as Emma Booth, Miranda Otto, Xavier Samuels, Jessica Mauboy, Sia and Jennifer Hawkins.

As well cultivating an inspiring fashion career, Ham also creates editorial and advertising work for the likes of Australian Ballet, Herringbone, Ksubi, Wrangler, Peter Alexander, and Telstra, and her creative personal work has been featured in the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Monthly journal.

 

Emma Bass

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Auckland photographer Emma Bass is well positioned to discuss both commercial and fine art photographic areas, with a prominent two-decade career to draw upon.

On the commercial side she shoots for a range of the country's leading magazines, including Life & Leisure, Good, Taste, NZ House & Garden, Next, Fashion Quarterly, and many more. Specialising in both environments and portraiture, she has employed her bold and vibrant style to create images of some of New Zealand's biggest celebrities, including Denise L'estrange Corbet, Lucy Lawless, Jonah Lomu, Keisha Castle-Hughs and Peter Jackson.

Her most recent fine art achievements include a second edition of her Imperfect series, comprising elegant still life images of flower arrangements in various states of decay. Some of these works can currently be seen at Auckland's Black Asterisk gallery.

 

Christina Force
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Once the founder of both New Zealand's first photographer's agency and dedicated stills production company, Christina Force is a wealth of knowledge and experience perfectly tailored to New Zealand photography.

As well as being a key player in shaping the way local ad agencies deal with photographers, particularly in terms of production values and copyright issues, Force has also been instrumental in launching many local commercial photographers onto the international stage.

Since 2011 she has rededicated herself as a marketing and folio consultant for photographers, helping her clients craft folios to appeal to the specific markets they wish to launch into, including Asia and North America. Any photographer that has been on the receiving end of Force's tuteladge will tell you the opportunity is not one to pass up.