Blog Archive

Check out some of my recent work, and my essays on Photographing The Arts!

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...

Read More
High Fidelity at the Hayes Theatre

Over at the Hayes Theatre in Potts Point, they do keep busy. It seems like every few weeks there's a new production opening; most recently, the musical High Fidelity, from Highway Run Productions & director Neil Gooding.

As with everything I've seen at the Hayes, the cast and production are exceptional - in a lot of cases, they've come straight from a much larger show to work in this ~100 seat venue, so there's certainly no shortage of available talent in Sydney, at every level of production.

And the reviews reflect that; so of course, the challenge for me is to make it look as good - or better - than it did on stage, so the images that go to reviewers underscore the points they're making about the production, in a positive light...

Read More
Wasted by Kate Tempest at the Factory Theatre, Sydney

When I got a call recently about a show at the Factory Theatre, and the director described it as 'written by an English slam poet', I didn't exactly know what to expect.

I mean, I've seen the occasional performance poet (Christian Bök at the NZ Festival springs to mind) - but it would be interesting to see how that translated onto the stage, and via the mouths of actors, into characters in a story.

Turns out, there's no question - Wasted is a play, that's clearly written by a poet; and that's fine, actually...

Read More
First XV: Theodora (2016)

In some ways, this final image was the hardest to choose - probably in part because the work I've done most recently is so fresh in my mind, but also because I think I've been doing a lot of good work in the last year! If I can be allowed to say so myself. (Hey, it's my blog, okay!?)

Having already posted my favourites of 2016 at the start of this year, it shouldn't be a big surprise that my favourite image is one that was on that list - from Handel's Theodora, the Pinchgut Opera production at City Recital Hall in late November...

Read More
First XV: The Dapto Chaser (2015)

The Dapto Chaser is one of those shows that will stick with me for years to come.

For me, it's great when I have the opportunity to be involved with a production at several points along the way, from the initial publicity images through rehearsals and onto the stage itself - getting to know the production, as well as the cast and crew, as we get closer to the opening...

Read More
First XV: Vivid Festival (2014)

Today's image is a funny one - and a little different to most of the others. It's one I'm fond of nonetheless, which is why it made the list of course!

What looks like a random collection of glowing orbs is the out of focus blur of a number of coloured lights, suspended under the awning of the Museum of Contemporary Art during Vivid here in Sydney, in 2014...

Read More
First XV: Angels In America Part 1: Millennium Approaches at Belvoir (2013)

This image marks a new beginning in my career to date, as it's the first production photography I did in Australia after relocating to Sydney in December 2012; fortunately for me, it was also a really great production, both in terms of how it looked in the images, and how it played out on stage...!

Belvoir's production of Angels In America is one I've written about before, and one I'm always happy to have another look at; so it's not so surprising that this image is one of my favourites from that year. Really, the hard part was choosing just one moment from the show...

Read More
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...

Read More
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!

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More