What was your first hobby?
I really liked craft as a kid – making small ugly things that only my parents could pretend to love.
What was your first camera?
A Nikon F90, I bought it about a year and a half into my degree majoring in photography.
Who was your first influence?
The first creative influences I remember were those from studying art in secondary school. The ones I remember best are Jasper Johns and Philip Clairmont. Photographically, the people that initially influenced me, and that I still hark back to, are Wim Wenders, Robert Mapplethorpe and Robin Morrison. There were many others that I also loved from afar, but had no desire to replicate, such as Sebastiao Salgado, Robert Capa and Don McCullin.
What was the first shot you developed yourself?
The first shot I developed myself, in the old-school, chemical, silver-halide sense of the word, would have been my first project at university. I think it was a series I shot of bare trees in winter. I’m sure the shots weren’t memorable, but the experience was.
What was your first disaster?
The first photographic disaster I remember was as an assistant when we were on a fashion shoot in the South Island of New Zealand. We’d choppered 45mins into the Southern Alps and, after landing, we realized I’d left the medium format film in the car. Luckily we had a Nikon and some emergency 35mm film with us so we were still able to shoot. I’m still surprised I wasn’t fired that day.
Ok, so you’ve just shot the best work of your life and you’re absolutely buzzing with excitement. Who’s the first person you phone to tell?
The first person I call is my wife, Victoria. If something is good, I normally know it as I shoot it. If I love it in that moment then it’s probably worthwhile. The problem is that feeling fades rapidly – I tend to fall out of love with my own work just as quickly as it is created. Sharing my work with others, in particular Vic, helps me remember that I loved it initially and keeps me moving forward rather than being paralysed by my own doubts.