What's your background in photography?

I picked up the camera aged 45 when I moved from Surfers Paradise to the West Coast of the South Island. It’s one of the most underrated areas for photography, but I fell in love with its moods, mist, mountains, and its slow pace... I was living on a farm with 1000yr old kahikatea trees, Hereford cattle, horses, mountains, and rivers all in the back yard... how could you not pick up a camera?!

I went full time at 50 am now 58, and have no intention of giving up! Turning to photography full-time was a gradual process over 5 years then I took a leap of faith, helped by spending $20,000.00 (everything I had) in setting up my kit so it then had to pay for itself.... scary but great motivation!

Before photography, all of my jobs were in predominantly male areas. I was a bricklayer for 15years so being around men didn't bother me at all and nor does it bother me being surrounded by men in the photography industry - I have tunnel vision when it comes to my work and don’t worry about what others are doing or what they think of me and my work.

I am inspired by everything around me. I was once berated by a couple of people who could not believe that I didn't frequent or visit galleries… They asked me how and who inspired me if I don't visit. My reply was that I am inspired by the things I connect with, the places I live and travel to, and the people I meet…. Inspiration is literally everywhere around me and I love that! I don't want to copy or be influenced by others so I purposefully have tunnel vision about my work - I don't worry about what anyone else is doing, I travel in my own lane, run my own race.

Being asked to describe my work is something I find very difficult. I can tell you that my style is simple so the bones of the image have to already be there in the scene I want to capture. Some people “make” photos, I “take” them. I don't have Photoshop so all my editing is done in LightRoom. When I asked people on my FB page to help me describe my images,  the three most common replies were

  1. Epic,
  2. Real,
  3. SoulfulI was really chuffed by those responses as I’d like to think the same but couldn’t have found the words myself!

Photography is what is in my head when I wake every morning. It's a hobby, an obsession, stress relief, a non-verbal expression, mental health survival strategy, and of course, it's my job but I also do photography as a hobby during my downtime, I simply cannot switch off from it!

What’s the best thing about being a woman in the photography industry?
I think we tend to “see” differently and we “feel” our images more than deal with the technical aspect only… of course, we need to do both but women seem to be far less concerned about the techie part of this hobby/career.

What are the biggest challenges you face in getting the photos you want?

Time, opportunity, sometimes money, and almost always the weather as almost all my work is done outdoors. I have a million ideas in my head but I have learned to park them up and remain very patient so that when the elements align I can pull the idea out and go about the business of capturing that image!

Read the full story in our journal.

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