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Posts tagged Wellington
The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King World Premiere - 15 years on

Has it really been fifteen years?

As I mentioned this time last year (and the year before!), not long after I moved to Wellington in the late nineties, Peter Jackson started filming the Lord Of The Rings right in our neighbourhood of Seatoun, where I was living at the time. By the end of principal photography, I had been an Elf, an Orc, a Gondorian and a Rohan - most of them dead, some of them killed by the person I'd been playing the day before - on sets all over the Wellington region.

By the time the films came out, I was also a photographer - and by the premiere of the third film, there were a few more of us there…

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The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers Wellington Premiere - 15 years on

Has it really been fifteen years?

As I mentioned this time last year, not long after I moved to Wellington in the late nineties, Peter Jackson started filming the Lord Of The Rings right in our neighbourhood of Seatoun, where I was living at the time. By the end of principal photography, I had been an Elf, an Orc, a Gondorian and a Rohan - most of them dead, if I'm honest - on sets all over the Wellington region. 

By the time the first film came out, I was also a photographer, with red carpet access for the Australasian premiere at the Embassy Theatre; and a year later, I was back - this time, with considerably more people lining the media pen, and Courtenay Place...

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First XV: The Rehearsal, Playing The Dane at the New Zealand International Arts Festival (2012)

Once in a while, an image comes along that doesn't fit my usual ideals, but still works, and suits the show. This one - of Irish company Pan Pan's production The Rehearsal, Playing The Dane - was a matter of being ready for the unexpected...

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First XV: Eleanor Catton (2011)

This week's image isn't just one of my favourite images, it's one - by virtue of Eleanor's own success - that has been reused & reprinted far more than anything else in my career to date.

Of course, it's impossible to know the actual number of copies of this image; but I've seen estimates that the book sold 560,000 copies (with one copy of the image in the back of each of those); plus, the image appeared in countless media around the globe when she made the long list, then the short list, and then won the Man Booker Prize in 2013 - so I can scarcely guess the number of printed copies of all of those newspapers!

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First XV: The Arrival at the New Zealand International Arts Festival (2010)

It's always tough to choose a single image from a New Zealand International Arts Festival - after all, I photographed for 24 days straight, usually working 17h days; so there are a few to choose from!

And 2010 was a particularly good year, between visiting companies and New Zealand works; but somehow I come back to Red Leap Theatre's production of The Arrival often, when I'm thinking about that festival. It caught me by surprise, I think - in the same way Giselle did two years earlier, I came into rehearsal not knowing much about the show, and came out a fan of the company...

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First XV: Wellington Jazz Festival (2009)

I started this series with a photo of a saxophone, taken at the Wellington Jazz Festival - and here we are again, seven years later!

This one's the polar opposite of that first image in a lot of ways, though; the original was blurry, slightly abstract, a little bit out of control, where this one is a clean, crisp silhouette, and, facing the opposite direction...

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First XV: Giselle at the New Zealand International Arts Festival (2008)

If you've visited my website at all in recent years, you've probably seen this one already! Taken at a rehearsal for Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre's production of Giselle at the New Zealand International Arts Festival, it's been one of my all-time favourites for almost a decade now.

As with so many of my favourite images, it doesn't explain itself - but with a graphic shape and strong colour (if not quite clean lines), it lures you into wanting to know more...

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First XV: Marc Taddei conducts the Vector Wellington Orchestra (2007)

It's strange to have a photo where I'm actually IN it, along with the subjects - that's not usually what I'm aiming for! But this time, I didn't mind - I was just part of the audience in the concert, and I'd preset the camera on stage at interval, with a wireless trigger and my sound blimp...

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First XV: Tea: A Mirror Of Soul at the New Zealand International Arts Festival (2006)

To me, there's a lot to like in this week's image, from Tan Dun's opera Tea: A Mirror of Soul at the New Zealand International Arts Festival in 2006; it's simple, clean, and graphic.

And yet, at the same time, there's something mysterious about it. Like the best production images for promoting the arts, it raises more questions than it answers...

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First XV: Dead Letters (2005)

I've written about the short film Dead Letters before (here, here, and here) - but I couldn't go past this image of Yvette Reid when I was looking through some of the work I'd done in 2005.

I hadn't worked on-set as a stills photographer before (though I'd been an extra on Lord Of The Rings and a few TV series & commercials before that, so I had at least some idea how it would work); but I really wanted to commit to this production, to see what full days on set would be like and whether I could both stay out of the way of the crew, and get what the producers needed...

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First XV: Te Matarae I Orehu at the New Zealand International Arts Festival (2004)

2004 was the year of my first New Zealand International Arts Festival as the official photographer (I'd been a box office manager, followspot operator & lighting technician in previous years); and while there were a number of images I really like from that Festival, this one still grabs me the most, I think.

This was also my first time photographing traditional Maori Kapa Haka performance...

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First XV: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King premiere (2003)

I wrote a few months ago about the first Lord Of The Rings premiere at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington, and I'm sure I'll be looking at the Two Towers one again in December; but this image, as much for what it represents to me as anything else, has made it into my First XV list - celebrating fifteen years of my career, photographing the arts.

I'd photographed the previous two premieres by the time of the third one, and seen the crowds on the street (and in the media pen) grow exponentially each time; but I think, perhaps because I was still fairly new to the industry, I was still a bit shy, a bit hesitant about being elbow-to-elbow with the world's press in a tiny fenced area.

Don't get me wrong, I planned ahead and got there early, to make sure I got a good spot! But this time was different...

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