NZPhotographer Issue 25, November 2019


Whether you’re an enthusiastic weekend snapper or a beginner who wants to learn more about photography, New Zealand Photographer is the fun e-magazine for all Kiwi camera owners.


I live in Auckland not too far from our famous

Waitemata Harbour (which is great for photographic

opportunities) and am married with 2 grown-up kids.

I have had several careers, but my latest incarnation

involved a Diploma of Journalism and writing and subediting

work on magazines and newspapers. I still work

with words, mostly freelance writing and proofreading

of English translations.

Just for fun, I also study part time at university.

Languages are my current passion; Latin, Italian and

German, inspired by my first overseas trip in 2012 to

Italy and Greece. Travel led to study and study led to

more travel when I got the opportunity to live in Italy

for ten weeks in 2016. I improved my language skills

and took hundreds of photos. I went back again last

year, and to England, Scotland and France, and took

a few hundred more images.



I was 13 when I got my first camera, a Kodak

Instamatic 255x which I had coveted from the

moment I saw it in our local pharmacy shop window,

imagining the photos I would take just like those in the

National Geographic magazines my family subscribed

to. The reality didn’t live up to my imagination, but

I did learn the art of composition and the importance

of getting close to the subject. The cost of film and

developing made one think carefully before pressing

the shutter.

I got my first SLR when I was 18. A family friend died

and left me a Canonflex R2000 along with a bag full

of lenses and filters. I learned all the photography

basics using that gear until somebody nicked the

camera. I still have all the lenses and am currently on

the lookout to replace the body.

I moved on to an Olympus OM10, and then added

an OM20, using both until I could no longer avoid

the transition to digital. By then I was a stay-at-home

mother with two kids and no spare money. All I could

afford was a ghastly little point-and-shoot. I hated it

but my composition skills compensated for the lack

of aperture or shutter control and I do have some

reasonable keepers from those wilderness years.


I use two cameras, both mirrorless: a Leica D-Lux 5 and

an Olympus OMD EM10 Mk III, which I refer to as my

OMG. I also use my Samsung phone a lot, as it is the

camera that I always have with me. I love the retro

styling and the compact size of these cameras which

is ideal for travel. I hate carrying too much stuff and

these are small enough to fit in my shoulder bag, out

of sight of thieves and pickpockets. I have a limited

lens selection: the Leica has a fixed 24–90mm zoom

lens and for the Olympus I have the kit 14–42 mm and

a 40–150 mm, so I tend to choose one lens at the

beginning of the day based on what I think I will be

photographing and work within the limitations of that.


I’ve tried all sorts of things mostly inspired by others’

works. I’ve gone to zoos and channelled my inner

wildlife photographer, tried my hand at interiors,

thought inside the square with Instagram, and

tried landscape and seascape, but I never had a

preference until I did a street photography workshop

with Lesley Whyte last year. That really fired me up

and now I think street is most definitely my thing as it

lends itself so well to capturing the essence of a place

that goes beyond the usual standard tourist shots. As

a journalist, I am drawn to the sort of people I used to

interview, ordinary people doing interesting things –

at work, at play, hanging out, playing music, enjoying

themselves. I also love the thrill of taking a quick shot,

capturing a moment and telling a story.


I especially love 'The Players' because I nearly didn’t

take it. My husband, Willie, the man in the middle, has

a habit of wandering into my carefully considered

shots, just at that moment when the light is right, the

extraneous people are out of frame and everything

is just perfect. This often creates, shall we say, marital

tension. We were in Avignon, France, and this time,

just to keep the peace, I took the photo. Later when

I was deleting my dud photos, I noticed that his

presence added more vitality to the shot than I had

expected, so I kept it and made a vow to at least try

to be more tolerant of his habit in the future.



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