The Queenstown & Lakes District in the South Island of New Zealand is beautiful beyond measure. I visited at the beginning of summer (it is pretty popular as a winter destination) with three of my favourite people and discovered that it is just as beautiful, especially with the stark contrast of lush gardens and parks with the geology of the area. Recommendations would be the Queenstown Botanic Gardens, fine dining at Rata, (where we celebrated my grandmother's 75th birthday) and tripping around the historic settlements in Arrowtown and Cromwell.
The Hawkes Bay is my current favourite place to holiday in New Zealand. As well as the obvious (weather, wine country, art deco) there is a concentration of creative talent in the art, design and hospitality industries there. My friend and collaborator Unna Burch and I took a trip to the Hawkes Bay last year for one of her workshops and managed to pack in the ultimate HB tour over a couple of days. Unna is originally from the Hawkes Bay and she introduced me to some of her favourite places, I was able to revisit some of mine and discover some new favourites for both of us. This included Aroha + Friends, F.G Smith, Picnic, the Donut Robot and its legendary operator Stevo, Blackbird Goods, Te Mata Peak and Redwoods, Pipi (reason enough to relocate to the HB), cocktails at Monica Loves, the greatest lunch of my life (and Unna's, massive compliment!) at Black Barn Bistro. I look forward to sharing the workshop Unna held at Opera Kitchen soon. A big thank you to Unna's parents-in-law Judy and John who hosted us at their beautiful, self sustainable home and garden in Kereru.
An unexpected engagement before a recent expected holiday to Rarotonga turned our escape into a celebration, and we spent some time at the beautiful botanic gardens making some portraits for ourselves. Being my own client meant crab legs and botanical studies made the cut...as well as many, many gratuitous photos of the black diamond Kyle surprised me with on our tenth anniversary.
Kowtow, a certified fair trade organic clothing label based here in Wellington, New Zealand forms at least 50% of my wardrobe and is especially a staple of my "on the job" wardrobe (mostly because of the pockets on pretty much everything!). It was a real pleasure to meet Gosia Piatek, founder and designer of Kowtow and to photograph the workroom and end of year celebrations with staff, stockists and friends. I was working with my usual partners in crime, Unna of The Forest Cantina who put together the brilliant grazing table, and Mindy of Twig & Arrow who created a cloud of suspended roses, the scent of which you could smell wafting down the stairwell on your way up to the workroom. Refreshments were supplied by one of my local favourites, Garage Project, as well as Antipodes, All Good Organics and Huia Vineyards, the latter of whom happen to be wonderful clients of mine.
Can't Live Without launched their debut product last year, the ever popular (and growing more so by the day) Coffee Cane Coconut body scrub. Jeremy Dean and Rebecca Barwood hand blend their 100% natural scrub in small batches and their passion for what they do shows in their dedication to the artisan process; they love producing this incredibly sensory product for their stockists and consumers. Working with their incredible ethos in mind and after getting to know the people (who really are the greatest!) and the product I was able to produce a visual identity for their brand through art direction, styling and photography. Incorporating adventure, the idea of local exploration and products with revitalisation and stillness, the experience of working with Jeremy and Rebecca was one of the best of 2014 for me. Also a big thanks to my amazing assistant Anna Briggs, hand model and photographer extraordinaire!
Hello 2016! I'm bringing in the New Year with a look back at some of my favourite people, places and things from 2015 and seeing as it's still the holiday season I'll start with beautiful Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. This was my second visit to this small (32kms around) and incredibly vibrant place. Coupled with the slow pace of island life, it is both exciting and relaxing. On this trip the highlights were the textures in the vernacular architecture, incredible fresh seafood, friendly hospitality and the lush tropical gardens, the latter of which I will share in another post soon. The Mooring Fish Cafe, Charlie's, Palace Takeaway and Vili's Takeaway were the best places for the classic Raro fish burger. The island hospitality was personified through a trip to Vili's; when we discovered that the bus had finished the continuous loop round the island for the day, the owners cooked our food and drove us home! There are two main roads in Rarotonga, the difference between the coastal and inland roads was incredible and something I overlooked on my first visit. Always a pleasure and can't wait to go back.
This November marks a year since I launched myself as a full time freelance photographer. As well as marking the past year as a success it was important to me to thank my clients, mentors, friends and family, as it is with the support of these people that I am able to do what I do. I threw a nautical/tropical themed evening event at The Neighbourhood Studio and I worked with my clever friend Greta Menzies to come up with a gift that my guests could help create at the screen printing studio then take home. Becky and Jeremy from Can't Live Without and Jacqui from Libertine Blends donated their lovely products for the gift bags and Unna from The Forest Cantina made the most beautiful birthday cakes! There are lots of people to thank, including yourself for taking the time to read this post, browse the images and being a part of my community.