Progear: photographers to watch in 2019

It’s no secret that Auckland camera store Progear is a big supporter of emerging photographers’ work. For several years Progear has been encouraging budding photographers to tag their work on Instagram using #progearfeature. This has helped Progear find and share work from many amazing and unique artists within the online community.

This year there has been a huge amount of incredible work being shared online and Progear has hand-picked seven photographers they think you should keep an eye on in 2019. Progear asked them three questions, and the answers give us an exclusive look into the photographers’ different approaches.

Enjoy!


Ajay Murthy

Ajay works as a strategist at a creative agency in Auckland. His photography practice mainly focuses on documenting people and the spaces they live in.

What is your most memorable photo?
I shot in the old Gion District in Kyoto over three nights in 2018. Steeped in tradition, you are transported to another time as you walk the narrow cobbled alleys. An unforgettable experience, I created a series that documented the night life in the district and the most memorable photo from that is one of an Ochaya opening for the evening.

Why is photography important to you?
It helps me notice, process, and connect with the details of the spaces I live in or visit. As a visual person with a deep interest in cultural anthropology, it is the perfect medium for me to create in.

What do you hope for the future of photography?
Susan Sontag in 1977 said that "a painter constructs, while the photographer discloses". This is truer that even before. As access to the tools increases and photography becomes increasingly democratized, I hope for a future where more unseen perspectives and cultural stories find their voice.

Find Ajay’s work on Instagram @ajaymurthy


Sam Howard

I have always been interested in art, but I only picked up a camera in university when I needed to fill my final semester with a fourth paper. I talked my way into a third-year paper and started as the complete rookie in class; however, I passed with an A+ and thought that I quite like this art form, so I sold my kitesurfing  gear and bought my current Sony set-up four years ago and haven’t looked back. I love being outdoors and capturing big landscapes but also love the challenge of travel documentary and capturing images that aren’t your ‘cliché’ image that’s easily grabbed off Google, that’s my challenge to myself. You’ll often find me away on the weekends with my camera in tow trying to find that different image.

What is your most memorable photo?
My most memorable photo is from the summit of Gokyo Ri in Nepal. I am not a morning person by any stretch, but I had told myself when leaving NZ that this would be one of a few sunrises that I commit to. Gokyo Ri climbs 620m above Gokyo to 5375m and is regarded as one of the best viewpoints of Mt Everest. I pressed the snooze button one too many times after 3.30am so ended up having to run/jog up the side to make sure I was at the top for sunrise, but what I hadn’t factored in was that it would be -17 degrees outside so my camelbak hose froze and the freezing air set off my asthma: things weren’t going well. The photo here is the first time that I had looked around and taken in the view back down towards Gokyo. At that point my legs were frozen (I was wearing shorts), I could hardly breathe, I had a thumping headache from the altitude, and I had no water; but it was the most surreal moment ever. I took one single photo at that spot and this is it. After this, I started again for the last push to the summit where I took a few nice but cliché photos hence why this is my most memorable photo.

Why is photography important to you?
Photography is important to me as it challenges me to look at the world through a different perspective or to go somewhere I wouldn’t have necessarily gone had I not had a camera (walking around points or climbing to a new vantage points). I find that despite what else is happening or going on in life, heading out with a camera for a couple of hours can be incredibly grounding and change your perspective and outlook on things and change your mood completely.

What do you hope for the future of photography?
Gone are the days when photography was an exclusive and expensive past time. Now that every phone is capable of taking photos, some of which are as good as DSLR and mirrorless systems, I hope that the creative and documentary origins of photography do not get forgotten as accessibility and capability expands with phones. I would like to think that people will continue to use photography to better their lives, whether that be going out for a walk and looking for that different perspective or challenging themselves to find that new viewpoint of an iconic photography spot. Going forward, considering that high quality cameras are becoming the key feature of phones, I hope that we can continue to push the boundaries of photography and capture priceless moments in time, regardless of whether that’s on a phone or camera.

Find Sam’s work on Instagram @sammileshoward


Alberto Fossati

I was born and raised in Italy and four years ago I moved to New Zealand for love. I have been passionate about photography and art since I was young when I learned from my dad how to shoot film. I am a designer in my daily job but in my spare time, I love to explore and capture my frequented surroundings.

What is your most memorable photo?
It was a hot and sticky day in a deserted Milan and I took a  candid shot from my hip of this man completely out of place but casual with his technology on that dirty curbside.

Why is photography important to you?
My background in product design brings my focus on small interactions between people and objects in their environment. I love photography because it allows me to keep these interactions alive.

What do you hope for the future of photography?
I hope the skill of photography stays valued. Nowadays, everybody can take pictures, and with social media, the importance of what you are taking is not really thought about or needed. Photos are becoming more digital and more instant and not something that is intended to stay and to be remembered.


Peter Wujkowski

I work as an advertising creative and have a background in art direction. As a commercial creative working with clients on a daily basis, I’m grateful that no one actually pays me to take photos. It means that I can be hands on and make whatever images I like without having to squeeze them through the filter of someone else’s weird tastes.

What is your most memorable photo?
The snowy signs from Iceland. I shot this out of a fast-moving car with no time to adjust any of the camera settings (I shoot fully manual), so it’s a bit of a ropey image and the crop isn’t quite right. But I do love the vibe and the subject. It’s the moments and spaces between the main attractions that I find most interesting.  There’s something quintessentially Scandinavian about the scene and the treatment of the objects within, it almost feels designed. The tranquil minimalism and the forlorn attempt to make a human mark on the landscape via the defeated road signs, for me, captures the essence of Iceland.

Why is photography important to you?
Photography is special because it’s the process of capturing time and space. So it’s impossible for two shots to ever be the same — perhaps with the exception of studio-based still life photography. Every single photograph, on some minute level, will be unique, a one of a kind, therefore every shot has the potential to be a very personal document.

Also, I’m terrible at telling stories so I’d much rather show people pictures.


What do you hope for the future of photography?
Photography is now highly democratized; anyone can create an image at any time. Which is great, because ultimately it means that we’re all becoming a lot more image literate. Many of the themes and styles found on Instagram prove that photography has very much become a language shared by people outside of the art industry. With the volume of images created on a daily basis, our collective ability to make more meaningful visual documents will only get better and more interesting.

Find Peter’s work on Instagram @invertedchalice


Kalpesh Tailor

My name is Kalpesh. I’m a 27-year-old photographer / graphic designer based in Auckland. I was born and have lived here my entire life. I’ve been taking photographs from a really young age, but never really gave it much thought up until about three years ago where something triggered my obsession.

What is your most memorable photo?
It would be very hard to pick what my most memorable photo is. I think a lot of the photos I tend not to share, and the more personal images are the most memorable. If I had to choose a couple they would probably be photographs of my friends I take when we go on shoots. Most of the time they tag along just for me, and the photographs serve as reminders of their constant support for my work.

Why is photography important to you?
Photography is my way of expressing myself, but also a way of self discovery. Through taking photographs over the last three years I have found out a lot about who I am as a person and am constantly surprised at the things I never would have thought I’d find interesting. I first and foremost shoot for myself, but also in the process am able to hopefully inspire others by sharing my work.

What do you hope for the future of photography?
I guess photography currently has really blown up in terms of accessibility and the number of people getting into it. There is an abundance of talent being seen through readily accessible platforms. That being said, I am also seeing a resurgence of older methods of sharing and shooting, i.e., a lot more people getting into film and printing work and creating showcases. My hope for the future is that this continues and grows without having it die out.

Find Kalpesh’s work on Instagram @kalpeshstailor


Maria Ligaya

I am Maria Ligaya, from the Philippines, living in New Zealand and working as a nine-to-fiver with a passion for travel and photography.  I found my passion for photography in an eventful process, and during a time of challenging situations. My style in photography slowly developed from capturing anything that I see, to telling stories of the people I met while traveling and chasing the light. Photography is an endless discovery of oneself, as storytelling that can't be put into words.

What is your most memorable photo?
My favourite and most memorable photo is the one that I took of Selin of the Yakel Tribe. What interests me and makes a memorable image for me is sometimes not the photographs itself, but the story of the subject. The Yakel Tribe, in this case, is of two worlds embracing each other's differences and learning to co-exist and that to me is simply a story worth telling.

Why is photography important to you?
Photographs play an important role in our life. It connects us to the past, people, places, and feelings. My love for photography evolved in a painful but meaningful process and it became my means of self-expression. Photography helped me to battle depression and tell my story through my photographs. I can express anything I want, from joy and pain  to wonder and sympathy, without judgment.

What do you hope for the future of photography?
Technology is moving at an alarming rate, from film to digital, to high-quality phone cameras that can produce DSLR-quality images. Everyone nowadays can have these advance photographic equipment at their fingertips and can capture any image that they want. Although compositions, chasing lights, and technical know-how is important, I hope in the future that people who want to venture into photography will realize that the inspirational story behind the photo is just as important.

Find Maria’s work on Instagram @mycameraandbackpack


Marco de Kretser

I am an 18-year-old photographer from Auckland. I like to shoot most things but the outdoors is where my love lies, specifically, places with snow and mountains. For me, nothing beats being among moody, dramatic landscapes with a camera in hand.

What is your most memorable photo?
It’s a funny feeling being 1m away from one of Antarctica’s apex predators with your hands in the water. This scene began on Cuverville Island, home to a giant gentoo penguin colony. The entire time I was on the island I could see this leopard seal lounging about on the ice. A splotch of black among brilliant blues and whites. I jumped on a Zodiac and headed over to the iceberg, only for the seal to slide straight into the water as we got close. For the next half an hour we were all starstruck as the seal swam around our boat, sticking its head up, even trying to climb blocks of ice around the Zodiac to try get in. I set my frame rate on high, managing to capture this one. Its radiant, creepy smile was something I'll never forget.

Why is photography important to you?
I just adore the process of using a camera to showcase how beautiful this world is. To look through the viewfinder, compose, take the shot and think, wow, this looks cool, feels awesome. But my favourite part is to then get onto Lightroom and extract all that beauty, forming your own interpretation of that subject. It’s such a rewarding process and for me; it is so addictive.

What do you hope for the future of photography?
It was a photograph of a bony, malnourished polar bear by Paul Nicklen that got me to really consider the future of this planet and the effects that climate change will have on all of us. It shocked me into a change in my life to try to live more sustainably. I hope that in the future, photographers will make an effort to utilize their incredible storytelling skills to showcase not only what we have to lose but also the shocking changes that are happening now. I think that photography and film have the greatest potential to create action, action to help preserve this incredible planet for everyone and everything.


Use the hashtag #progearfeature on Instagram to let Progear know about your work.

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