Rachael Brown is one of New Zealand's most ethereal photographer's, capturing the landscape and people through a unique lens. We found out what makes her work so captivating.
Duckfeet: Hi Rachael, how are you?
Rachael Brown: I’m great thank you!
Thanks for being a part of DuckFeatures, tell us a bit about yourself and your work.
I have always loved photography, and I really enjoy being involved in different projects. I think if I was just doing one thing all the time my attention span would wander!
My passion for photography grew after I travelled for five years shooting all on film, however it truly took off when our daughter was born. Photographing the small everyday happenings of her world became so important to me. I was a teacher for 12 years, and knew I needed a change of scenery. When my daughter was three years old I decided to have a go at photographing full time. It has certainly been a very steep learning curve but it has been full of some amazing adventures and I’ve been so lucky to meet some incredible people along the way.
Your photography focuses a lot on people. Is there something you like particularly about snapping portraits?
I love emotion. I definitely shy away from what is staged and unreal - although I do recognise a time and place for that style of photography. For me personally, I prefer to be a fly on the wall and capture what happens as it unfolds. I love that when you step back a little people forget you are there and that for me is when the true magic happens.
You live in New Zealand; it’s such a beautiful place! Do your surroundings inspire your imagery?
New Zealand is a pretty incredible place that’s for sure! I am constantly in awe of where I live and how the scenery is so dramatic and always changing. But I am definitely not a landscape photographer.
I photographed a family recently at home on their farm, which is set in the middle of lush green hills and lanes and forest; it was incredible. Another one of my favourite family shoots was visiting and photographing a family who own an enormous sheep station in the middle of the Mackenzie High Country. That for me was amazing, but what I loved more was photographing the family who live in that beautiful environment. For me it’s about people.
What is it about wedding photography and the idea of love that you enjoy most?
I think of Weddings as one enormous family shoot. Generations are brought together, tears and laughter happen. Its just magic! You get to experience every emotion in one day. I always find myself in tears or fits of laughter during the speeches. I think it is such a huge privilege to be invited in to such a private and poignant moment in someone else's life.
Do you have a favourite photo/shoot?
Ooh that’s hard. I really love any shoot where I get to photograph in a place that is really special to the people I am photographing.
A real highlight was the Mackenzie High Country shoot I spoke of earlier. I had never travelled there before, and just seeing a new part of New Zealand, meeting this beautiful family and seeing the incredibly raw environment that they lived and worked in was amazing!
What is your favourite time/place to take pictures? Why?
I love photographing first thing in the morning; half an hour before sunrise or right at the end of the day just as the light is disappearing. I love the beautiful dusky warmth everywhere. These are just exquisite times of day. The air feels still and quiet. In the early morning I often have any location to myself, and there is just something otherworldly about it.
Thanks for chatting to us, all the way from NZ! We can’t wait to see what’s next for your lovely business.
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