Enrol in Photography Summer School today

kss_nz14_summer_school_web1_square_1024x1024This summer, creative teenagers have the perfect oppertunity to come to grips with the practical side of professional photography, as one of Auckland's leading photo studios opens its doors for an inaugural Photography Summer School intake. Auckland's Kingsize Studios is now accepting applicants for its new educational programme targeted to current high school students studying visual arts or with an interest in breaking into photography, as well as school leavers looking to enhance their portfolios.

The course is an intensive one-week programme running January 12-16, which will see students immersed in the art and craft of photography. As well as learning theory, participants will be putting technical learning into practise, shooting every day both within the professional studio set-up and on location.

The programme will serve as an ideal introduction to using professional camera and lighting equipment as well as natural light. At the end of the course, in addition to much experience with industry-standard gear, attendees will leave with a portfolio of imagery to serve them in advancing career prospects.

The hands-on experience costs $475 and has been designed not only for those looking to become pro photographers, but to equip those looking to get into any creative industry – designing, writing, advertising, media, sales – in which multi-disciplinary talent is an asset.

For more information on the Photography Summer School visit the Kingsize Studios website.

Photography fundamentals underpin digital art

Mermaid The idea of covering your dining room table with fish to capture a shot is a level of dedication that a special type of photographer will go to. But it’s exactly what Richard Wood did to capture the above shot from his 2014 New Zealand Professional Photographer of the Year portfolio.

In the latest issue of D-Photo, we talk to Wood about his ability to produce images that come out as works of illustrational art. But his process is not without its critics due to the way Wood embraces digital post-production techniques.  He says it saddens him when people don't appreciate the fundamental photographic skills underpinning his work, but he knows the level of detail and technique that have gone into the shot.

“I’ve provided before and after images of some of my shots, and you can see the image looks as if it’s painted on the back of the camera,” Wood says. “It’s purely how you light it that well, and light it spectacularly.”

Wood will be sharing his knowledge and techniques about studio and on-the-run lighting in his full-day workshop coming up on November 30 at Kingsize Studios in Auckland.

In the ‘lighting on the run’ section you’ll explore Wood’s methods of quickly and effectively lighting subjects without having to worry about heavy or expensive equipment. While in the ‘Rembrandt painterly light’ section Wood will give you an insight into his methods of creating a beautiful fall of light across the face. Finally, Wood will host a lecture about his methods and philosophy on releasing the creative power of your mind to come up with outside-the-box ideas.

If you’re interested in signing up for this workshop, which runs from 10am–5pm and has an early-bird special of $495, visit richardwood.co.nz to register.

Black, White and Colour exhibition opens next week

Power Photographer Ilan Wittenberg is almost ready to lift the curtain on his ambition new photography exhibition at the Auckland waterfront’s industrial Silo Six venue.

Black, White and Colour is an exhibition comprising over 50 large-scale prints from the award-winning photographer’s extensive collection, covering portrait, landscape and fine art genres.

The free exhibition opens will be opened at 7pm on Wednesday, November 19 by keynote speaker Sir Bob Harvey. It will then run until Saturday, November 30, open from 10am to 8pm.

The artist will also be delivering a series of free public talks, designed to help make photographic art more accessible to the general public, details of which can be found here.

Wittenberg’s work has amassed an impressive series of awards, both local and international, and the chance to view his prints in large format – especially in the unique environment of the Silo Six space – is an opportunity not to be missed.

Unleash your creativity at MTG RM

MTGHiring out a film or photography studio can seem daunting if you've never done it before, but one Auckland facility is looking to make the process as accessible as possible with affordable studios that are suitable for many different types of projects. MTG RM is located in Kingsland and promotes the philosophy of a creative space, providing photographers and film-makers, be they experienced or just starting out, with an opportunity to explore and enhance their skills in an environment that allows creativity to bloom.

There are two studios to choose from — studio AZ or studio 70. The former offers a dark room enviroment while the later features manageable natural light, allowed into the room thanks to elevated north-facing windows.

Audio equipment is also available to enhance your project; a fully equipped audio suite is available on-site as is an experienced audio technician to help with the ins and outs for those not familiar with audio recording.

The MTG RM studios are run by Deafradio, a deaf-run organization that provides opportunities for New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) accessibility. They also make use of the creative spaces to create high-quality resources that will ensure NZSL is preserved for the deaf community.

If you've never extended yourself to working in a studio environment before or are still learning the ropes, a versatile set-up like MTG RM can be a great way to push your creative boundaries on a project.


Lara Wyatt

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Come meet Canon New Zealand

Canon Workshop The Canon New Zealand crew are touring the country this week, making stops in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland, bringing with them the latest and greatest Canon gear to test out.

The team are making time for enthusiasts and professionals alike on the trip, offering Canon Professional Services (CPS) members free camera sensor cleaning (5D and 1D series) along with a chance to get hands-on with the latest Canon professional gear releases. Enthusiasts are invited to meet the Canon reps and take the Canon experience kit for a spin, comprising a large range of cameras and lenses.

The events will be held at fully-equipped photography studios and Canon is bringing a model along for the events, so you'll be able to test the gear (and bring your own along if you like) in real world studio conditions.

Everyone attending the events also goes in to the draw to win a new Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II, the company's top-shelf compact camera.

Photographers in Auckland are in for a special opportunity, with Canon not just brining the full kit for trial but also conducting a free photography night walk in partnership with photo educator Three Little Wishes. There are only 20 spaces for this event, so be sure to get in quick (RSVP details below).


Canon road trip dates:


CPS Health Check – Wellington

October 9, 11am-4pm

FlashDog Studios, 10 Oxford Terrace, Mount Cook

RSVP: roadshow@canon.co.nz with your location in subject line


Meet the Canon Crew – Wellington

October 9, 5-7pm

FlashDog Studios, 10 Oxford Terrace, Mount Cook

RSVP: collective@canon.co.nz with your location in subject line


Meet the Canon Crew – Christchurch

October 16, 5-7pm

Lightworkx Photography, Unit 14/75, Peterborough Street

RSVP: collective@canon.co.nz with your location in subject line


CPS Health Check – Christchurch

October 17, 11am-4pm

Lightworkx Photography, Unit 14/75, Peterborough Street

RSVP: roadshow@canon.co.nz with your location in subject line


CPS Health Check – Auckland

October 22, 11am-4pm

Kingsize Studios, 27 Sackville Street, Grey Lynn

RSVP: roadshow@canon.co.nz with your location in subject line


Canon Photography Night Walk – Auckland

October 22, 5-8pm

Beginning at Kingsize Studios, 27 Sackville Street, Grey Lynn

RSVP: roadshow@canon.co.nz with your name

Limited to 20 spots, get in quick

Nat Geo daredevil visits NZ

20110712Human-Flight0102The man behind some of National Geographic's most jaw-dropping imagery is dropping in to New Zealand next week.

Bryan Smith, award-winning film-maker at National Geographic Channel, has travelled to some of the most remote and dangerous locations on earth to shoot the amazing footage for the publications popular films, and in early October he comes to Auckland and Wellington to discuss his exciting work.

Smith will present his National Geographic Live talk, Extreme Adventure on the Edge: Vertical Feats and the Man Who Can Fly, at Auckland's Aotea Centre on October 1 and Wellington's Te Papa Museum on October 2.

The event will see the adventurer and passionate conservationist recounting stories from his career as a film-maker renowned for taking his camera to dizzying heights and  pioneering innovative techniques to illustrate some the globe's most extreme environments. Smith says going to such lengths takes a toll, but it's a price he's willing to pay.

"No expedition, adventure, or film comes about without a little bit of suffering. But the suffering coefficient is my key to success."

Head along to the National Geographic website for more info on the event, and see below for a video taste of what audiences will be in for on the night.

Open weekend for would-be commercial photographers

StudentIf you're considering pursuing a career in photography, this month brings the opportunity to check out a new programme in commercial photography in Auckland with one of the most respected educators in the country. This year the Universal College of Learning (UCOL) opened a new campus in Auckland, purpose built to train students for a career in portraiture, landscapes, and product photography; come September 26 perspective students are invited to attend an open weekend to check out the course's inner workings.

UCOL Institute of Commercial Photography in Auckland's two-year Diploma programme is taught by some of the region's top photographers and has extensive backing from key industry players, including Canon.

From Friday, September 26 to Sunday, September 28 the Newmarket campus will be open to visitors to meet the tutors, explore the facilities and discuss the course from 9am to 4pm. There will also be two introductory workshops held during the weekend – at 10.30am and 2.30pm on the Saturday.

UCOL were kind enough to host D-Photo and our judging panel for the judging of this year's Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, and we can personally vouch for the high quality of these newly built facilities.

For more details on the course and the open weekend visit UCOL's website.

Image: Amy Fowler, UCOL student and winner of the Student award at the 2014 Iris Professional Photography Awards

Win a signed photo book from underwater pioneer

David-Doubilet-with-tiger-shark_CR-Jennifer-HayesRenowned aquatic photographer David Doubilet is visiting New Zealand next month for a series of talks and to warm you up for the events we've got a signed copy of his beautiful photo book, Water Light Time, to give away. Doubilet is widely credited as one of the world's foremost underwater photographers, and the spectacular images in Water Light Time make it clear why – the book covers 25 years of the artist's underwater adventures from the shores of the Galapagos to the Red Sea, from the Pacific Ocean to the fresh waters of North America.

He well be speaking to audiences about these expeditions and more in the upcoming National Geographic Live show, Coral, Fire, & Ice, coming to both Wellington and Auckland. The Wellington show will be held at Te Papa Museum on August 7, the Auckland show at the Aotea Centre on August 9. Ticketing information can be found here.

If you would like to be in with a chance to win a signed copy of the photographer's stunning retrospective, Water Light Time, simply fill out the following form telling us what your dream National Geographic assignment would be – where would you go, what would you need, who are your subjects, how would you present the images?

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Win tickets to World Press Photo

01_John Stanmeyer The annual exhibition of the world's most impressive photojournalism comes to Auckland this weekend, and D-Photo has 10 double passes to give away to lucky readers.

The 2014 World Press Photo exhibition opens at Smith and Caughey's Queen Street gallery this Saturday, July 5, and runs until July 27.

The travelling exhibition is the most prestigious collection of international current affairs photography, with more than 5700 photographers involved in this year’s contest, submitting almost 100,000 photographs.

This year the competition was won by John Stanmeyer with the image featured here, of African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their cellphone in the air to try to gain reception from neighbouring Somalia.

Admission to the event costs $10 for adults and $5 for students (plus group bookings are available) – but 10 lucky D-Photo readers can come along free of charge as we have 10 double passes to the exciting exhibition to give away.

For your chance to win simply head to our Facebook page and tell us what your favourite World Press Photo image is, from this or any other year, and why. Extra points for posting the image to our page, but a humble comment will still get you in the draw.

Jump to our Facebook page here, and learn more about the Auckland exhibition here.

Image: John Stanmeyer, VII for National Geographic

Light like a pro

svn-shotgun1bannerIf you've been giving serious thought to lifting your lighting game, next month brings Aucklanders the opportunity to learn the ropes direct from one of the country's best photographers. Richard Wood, Grand Master of Photography with the New Zealand Institute of Photography, is travelling north on July 12 to teach one of his popular lighting workshops at Grey Lynn's Kingsize Studios.

The one-day course will cover the principles of lighting, techniques to create ranges of softness and contrast, as well as Wood's own unique approach to achieving painterly Rembrandt light. The workshop will include studio lighting setups as well as solutions for beautiful lighting with minimal equipment wile on the go.

The hands-on event will also feature a live creative shoot for students to put into practice their new skills and techniques.

The photographer's recent workshop in Wellington sold out quickly, so head to his website to reserve your spot at the Auckland date now – it costs $350, with a $50 deposit required to save a spot.

The workshop kicks off at 1.30pm on Saturday, July 12 and runs until 5.30pm at Kingsize's Studio One.

Image: Richard Wood

Meet the Image Nation speakers, part two

With the annual weekend of non-stop photographic stimulation growing ever nearer, D-Photo would like to introduce you to the rest of the line-up at this year's Image Nation conference (part one lives here, if you missed it). For those not in the know, 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.


Richard Robinson

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Earlier this month named the 2014 Senior Press Photographer of the Year at the Canon Media Awards, Richard Robinson is one of New Zealand's foremost photojournalists. For 14 years he has worked as a press photographer for the country's biggest newspapers, capturing the nation's character in his own unique style.

Robinson is also one of those rare press photographers who manages to find time to pursue his own personal projects, and through his passion for the oceans has also become one of New Zealand's leading underwater photographers.


Joseph Michael

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Multi-media artist Joseph Michael's latest project, Dark Cloud / White Light, has become a phenomenon in its own right. The show comprises to breathtaking 24-hour time-lapse films of stunning New Zealand landscapes produced on some of the most advanced gear available – including Michael's own purpose-built 3D rig.

You can learn more about the project in the interview Joseph did with D-Photo's Point-Shoot blog earlier this year.

He has also worked on film, television, documentary and fine art projects in various production roles, including revolutionary motion control techniques on The Hobbit. Below you can see Joseph give a talk on the Dark Cloud / White Light project at TEDxAuckland last year.



Dean Zillwood

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Wellington-based commercial photographer Dean Zillwood's ability to convey strong, clear messages through his imagery has led to a career working between New Zealand, Australia and Asia. His creative conceptual advertising imagery has landed him such prestigious clients as Lego, Olympus, Bose, BNZ, Telecom, All Blacks Rugby and Air New Zealand, to name just a few.

His creative originality has also attracted the attention of the judges from competitions like New Zealand's Best Design Awards and the Cannes International Advertising Awards, as well as being published in industry magazines like the USA's Graphics Design and Communication Arts, and Australia's Plus 61.

Zillwood has also done lecturing stints at Massey University’s Design School and Whitireia Polytechnic, so you know his talk at Image Nation is going to high calibre.


Geoff Blackwell


The CEO of acclaimed New Zealand-based photo book publisher PQ Blackwell, Geoff Blackwell has an intimate knowledge of the publishing world, both local and international. He has published high quality photo books by some of the biggest names in photography, including Andrew Zuckerman, Platon, and Rachel McKenna.

In addition to his impressive stable of traditionally published illustrative books, Blackwell has also steered his company to adapt to the new challenges of digital life with the launch of the self-publishing MILK Books platform.

Most recently the company has launched a new professional membership programme for its premium Milk & Cream albums for professional photographers – you can learn more about that here, or here it straight from Blackwell below.

Now you're all up to speed, go get your tickets here.

International photo adventurers visit NZ

Penguins-on-ice-floe,-Antarctica_CR-David-DoubiletTwo world renowned photographers are heading to our shores this year to share their stories of wild adventure and photographic innovation amassed during careers of global exploration. Part of the internationally touring Nation Geographic Live series, pioneering aquatic photographer David Doubilet and extreme adventure filmmaker Bryan Smith will be making stops in Auckland and Wellington to present inspiring talks.

Doubilet is first up, arriving in August with his show Coral, Fire, & Ice, in which he tells the story of the glittering beauty of the world’s 'coral triangle' and the lure of sculptural icebergs and shipwrecks in the icy waters of Antarctica.

He is a pioneer in the field of underwater photography, creating the split-lens camera which allowed him to take above and below the water at the same time, with separate focus points for the top and bottom half of the picture recorded onto the same negative.

Smith follow in October with the show Extreme Adventure on the Edge, in which the adventure filmmaker shares gripping, behind-the-scenes moments from his assignments documenting extreme feats in the world’s most challenging environments.

Auckland shows will be held at the ASB Theatre in the Aotea Centre while the Wellington events will take place at Te Papa Museum – tickets start at $35, see below for dates.

August 7

Coral, Fire, & Ice with David Doubilet – Wellington

August 9

Coral, Fire, & Ice with David Doubilet – Auckland

October 1

Extreme Adventure on the Edge with Bryan Smith – Auckland

October 2

Extreme Adventure on the Edge with Bryan Smith – Wellington

Early bird tickets for Image Nation almost gone

IN14The ridiculously generous early bird tickets for a weekend of inspiration talks by top-level commercial photographers, both local and international, have almost sold out. You can currently grab a ticket to the Image Nation conference, hosted by the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association (AIPA), for as low as $69, but as of this morning there are only 20 such tickets left.

AIPA, NZIPP and students are eligible for the early bird price of $69, everyone else pick them up for the still very affordable price of $119 – get in quick before they're gone.

The event takes place on Friday, June 13 and Saturday, June 14 – confirmed speakers include international advertising photographer Simon Harsent, local photographers Emma Bass; Dean Zillwood; and Joseph Michael, published Geoff Blackwell, and five more to be confirmed.

The event will this year be held at Auckland's Q Theatre, and you can purchase tickets directly from its website.

Image Nation is always one of the most exciting and creatively energising events of the year and the AIPA has done a commendable job of keeping the prices accessible – if you're a working photographer, assistant, student, or anyone who takes their creativity seriously, you really should be there.

Make light work of Lightroom

lightroom 9One of the country's most respected photography educators has just expanded its programme to include a workshop on getting the most out of Lightroom's organisational and image-enhancing features. Three Little Wishes, which already offers a variety of photography workshops and Photoshop courses, launches its one-day Lightroom workshop in May, with an introductory special for those who book a place this month.

The course, aimed at beginners and requiring no previous experience with Lightroom, will cover all aspects of Adobe's powerful imaging software – from the user interface, importing files, and organising folders to exposure adjustments, re-touching, converting colours, and exporting files.

If you make a booking for one of the May Lightroom workshops before April 30 you'll can secure a spot for a special introductory price of $250 – click here for details.

The first workshop commences on Saturday, May 3 at Photogear in Albany, Auckland. It runs from 10am to 3pm and you'll be required to bring a laptop and mouse (and basic understanding of how to use them) along with a copy of Lightroom on the computer.

To make sure all attendees get the best learning experience possible, Three Little Wishes guarantees there will be no more than six students per tutor, so you can be assured of plenty of practical assistance and learning at an enjoyable pace.

As well as this new Lightroom workshop, Three Little Wishes offers a range of exciting photography courses in both Auckland and Wellington – including beginners, intermediate and advanced photography workshops – and comprehensive training in Photoshop.

Shooters at the Writer's Fest

Benge_HarveyThe Auckland Writer's Festival might not be the most obvious place to go for photographic advice, but a couple of events in this year's programme, in May, will be of keen interest to photographers. First up, local art photographer Harvey Benge will host a workshop entitled Stories with Pictures, in which he'll be sharing his considerable wisdom on how to tell a photo from bad, in our imagery-saturated world. Here's how the Festival puts it:

With more than 380 billion photographs taken each year, each telling a story, almost everybody these day considers themselves a photographer. But while seemingly easy, taking a great photograph is anything but. Art-based photographer Harvey Benge published his first photobook in 1993; twenty years on with more than 40 publications to his credit, Benge can spot a great picture from a dog. In this workshop he explains the distinction.

The event takes place from 2pm to 3.30pm on Friday, May 16 at the Goodman Fielder Room at the Aotea Centre – you can pick up tickets here.

Secondly, New Zealand bird photographer Brent Stephenson takes part in a weekend gallery session called The Great Avian Chase, in which he will tell tales of his extensive birding experiences throughout the country:

Brent Stephenson, birder extraordinaire and photographer for the wonderful Birds of New Zealand: A Photographic Guide takes Festival goers on a journey of love, loss, close calls and rediscoveries in our avian kingdom. From the huia and the takahe, to the magenta petrel (Chatham Island taiko), Stephenson charts the highs and lows of our local skies.

His talk takes place from 10.15am to 11.15am on Sunday, May 18 at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki – you can book tickets here.

Images: Top – Harvey Benge, bottom – Brent Stephenson


Auckland Festival of Photography programme launched

The programme for New Zealand's biggest celebration of all things photography has gone live today. The Auckland Festival of Photography has officially released the programme for its 2014 edition, running from May 29 to June 20, and completely free to the public.

As in previous years, the schedule consists of a curated Signature series of exhibitions, a Fringe programme of diverse local shows, and all manner of special events such as symposiums, photographer's talks, competitions, portfolio reviews and more.

This year the programme is available as a web publication, which you can view below.

Be sure to also pick up D-Photo no. 60 come May 19, where we, as proud media partner of the event, feature  our in-depth 'Insider's Guide to the Auckland Festival of Photography'.

Kingsize Scholarship applications close soon

Ralph_01Emerging photographers take note, applications are closing soon for the second intake of the Kingsize Scholarship, designed to give attendees a leg up into a career as a professional photographer. You have until the end of March to apply for a spot on this twelve-week programme to develop all the technical competency, artistic understanding and commercial common sense you need to make your start in the business of photography.

To be in with a shot at this unique opportunity you must put together a portfolio and cover letter to be sent in to Kingsize by 10am, March 31 – see the website for more details.

Beginning April 8, the class will meet every Tuesday evening at Kingsize Studios in Grey Lynn for group critique sessions and talks from guest speakers and industry experts. Photographers will have free access to studios and equipment as well as full support from the expert team at Kingsize to shoot their weekly briefs or assignments.

For an idea of what to expect from the programme, see D-Photo's coverage of the inaugural scholarship class here and here.

As well as attending this specialised course, successful applicants will also get free entry to the studio's myriad professional workshops, including Assistant Bootcamp, Film-making for Photographers, Intro to Fashion Photography and a range of studio lighting workshops.

Photographers of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to apply, including recent graduates, but must be at a point where their career is developing. Also be sure travel and other commitments will not be a barrier to attending and completing the course before applying.

Image: © Ralph Brown, 2013 student of the Kingsize Scholarship class

Know your copyrights from wrongs?


Copyright law is never easy terrain to navigate and it seems to get more difficult by the day, which is why one local photography organisation is holding a special education night on the topic next week.

The Advertising & Illustrative Photographers Association (AIPA), as part of its Propel educational programme, will host the Copyright and Licensing Knowledge Share event at Auckland's Minnie Street Studio in Eden Terrace next Tuesday.

The event will give photographers the chance to learn about the principles of intellectual property law as they apply in New Zealand and relating to professional photography.

The informal 'knowledge share' format promises to steer things away from dry lecturing by encouraging attendees to interact, ask questions and share stories with the presenters, who include AIPA Executive Director Aaron K, past AIPA President Ian Batchelor, and lawyer James Carnie, Principal of Clendons Barristers and Solicitors.

The event runs from 7pm until 9.30pm on Tuesday, February 25 and is free for all AIPA and New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography members, with a $10 door charge for non-affiliates – you can check out the Facebook event page here.

Propel: Copyright & Licensing Knowledge Share

February 25, 7pm-9.30pm

Minnie Street Studio, Eden Terrace, Auckland


Ocean beat: Chris Sisarich

Celebrated commercial photographer Chris Sisarich talks to D-Photo’s Point-Shot blog about his latest project paying tribute to the 10-year partnership between logistics company DHL and Surf Life Saving New Zealand. The resultant exhibition is on display at Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter this coming weekend.

Bethells Beach_Auckland # 1

D-Photo: Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

Chris Sisarich: I’m married with two girls and live in Auckland. I’ve been photographing now for 18 years!

My days are taken up hanging with my family, photographing, playing in the sea, or thinking about some of life’s issues.

To make a living, I shoot commercial work for advertising agencies here and in Australia, and when I’m lucky I get to shoot for agencies in the United Kingdom, Asia, or the United States. I specialize in shooting cars, landscapes, and lifestyle images. Clients can range from a brand like Lexus, to a wine brand, to a pharmaceutical brand.

I also do some directing of TV commercials. This is new for me really. It’s something I love being involved in and would love to keep developing. It’s a lot of hard work, but also really fun.

I’m a massive fan of doing personal projects and always have a few on the go all the time. I try to exhibit work once a year if I can. The work is mostly landscape-based and generally I’m commenting on a social issue, or an environmental issue, or just something I’m interested in. I’ve exhibited work in New York, San Diego, and Auckland. Personal work is extremely important as a photographer as it keeps you looking, working, and moving forward; developing your eye, your mind, and your voice. We are so lucky to be able to share with the world how we see … it’s a gift.

I’ve done a couple of trips with World Vision to capture and comment on situations. One trip was to Mali to capture images of famine there. This work was exhibited in Auckland … and was titled Face of the Land. The other was to Lebanon and Jordan to get images of the Syrian Refugee situation in those countries.

Bethells Beach_Auckland # 2

Can you give us a quick outline of the Surf Life Saving exhibition?

The images are portraits of surf lifesavers and the beaches they patrol.

How did the project come about?

The work is really a collaboration between Surf Life Saving NZ and DHL, and myself, celebrating their 10-year partnership. When DHL came to me about shooting this project, I was really excited. I’m a huge fan of what the surf lifesavers do for us. They are mostly made up of volunteers giving up their time to keep the beaches safe. Making the beach and the sea a safe playground for us and our children. It’s fantastic. I also love the ocean. So this really was a dream assignment.

Fitzroy & Back Beaches_Taranaki

How widely did you travel to shoot the volunteers?

We had quite the road trip really. We shot in Gisborne, Taranaki, Coromandel, Dunedin, Waikato, and Auckland.

How were the volunteer subjects chosen?

We wanted to try and capture, and represent, as much of New Zealand as we could in the limited time we had. And we also wanted to capture personalities that were both grass roots and champions of their sport. There is a lot of very talented and successful lifesavers from New Zealand on the world stage.

Orewa Beach_Auckland

Did you spend much time with the Surf Life Saving volunteers before the shoot?

We didn’t really get to spend a huge amount of time with each of the volunteers, but generally we’d spend half a day in each town and I’d suss out where I’d want to photograph them, and then what landscape I wanted to shoot to represent the beach. I was working around shooting at specific times of the day to get the look I wanted too.

What sort of things were you looking for in choosing your coastline backdrops?

I wanted to capture the mood of the beach on the day. I’m drawn to simplicity. So I was trying to frame and compose a simple but graphically strong image that spoke what that beach was about. The amazing thing about the New Zealand coastline is that it’s so diverse.

Pauanui Beach_Coromandel

What gear did you use on the project?

I’ve been shooting on the Nikon D800E. Great full-frame, high-resolution sensor. A 50mm lens and a tripod. I love the 50mm lens.

What was the most challenging aspect of putting the series together?

Editing was the hardest part to be honest. I was able to capture so many images that I was really happy with. Culling that down to just eight landscapes was tough. The portraits were easier to edit, as generally the best images stand out.

St Clair & St Kilda Beaches Dunedin

What are you hoping viewers will take away from the exhibition?

My idea always was that the landscapes of the beaches which sit with the portraits would be a bit of a representation of the person. I think we can all relate to enjoying a West Coast beach or East Coast beach … and generally people have preferences. They prefer the raw and wild of the West Coast, or the prettiness of the East Coast.

I want them to see just a few of the people from around the country who give up their time to keep our beaches safe. And hopefully get a sense of their personality and the beaches personality from the landscapes.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently in the middle of production for a TV commercial that I’m directing, which is shooting the same week as the exhibition.

I have a project bubbling away slowly, which is based in Auckland.

I’m planning an exhibition in Sydney in October, which will hopefully coincide with the launch of a book.

Sunset Beach_Port Waikato

Have you ever had a near-drowning experience?

Not really. When I was really little I fell into a pool and sank to the bottom ... I would have been about three I think and have quite a vivid memory of the view from the bottom of the pool.

I’ve had a few hairy moments in the surf, but nothing where I’ve really felt in danger.

Wainui Beach_Gisborne

You can check out the DHL – 10 Years of Delivering Safer Beaches exhibition at Te Wero Island in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter from Friday, February 14-16. Or you can see more of Chris’s work at his official website.

Help out the Auckland photo fest

AK FestivalThe country's biggest annual celebration of photography is asking for a little help from the public to continue developing its completely free programme of exhibitions and events. For the past 10 years the Auckland Festival of Photography has filled New Zealand's biggest city with visual stimulation in an always-ambitious, month-long calendar of photographic events and now the event is looking for some fundraising assistance.

Using the local fundraising website Givealittle, users are able to donate whatever amount they choose to the registered charitable trust, with the added bonus of being eligible for a donations tax credit.

In the decade the festival has been running it has jointly presented hundreds of photography exhibitions and events across its curated Signature programme, Talking Culture symposium, open Fringe programme and other special events.

The Auckland Festival of Photography returns again this year, running from May 29 to June 20. If you're keen to take part you have until the end of the month to register your interest (see the website for details), otherwise keep your eyes peeled for announcements about the 2014 programme in coming weeks.