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Photographer, Film-maker

Jessie Casson

On falling in love …

My passion for photography started with a pinhole camera when I was nine years old. I enjoyed developing black-and-white pictures in my dad’s dark room and that was the beginning.

On finding her style…

Photographing everyone from Bear Grylls to Jacinda Arden, I bring energy and graphic style to my work regardless of whether the commission is to photograph people commercially or editorially.

On being a freelancer…

New Zealand has a small population and there can be less opportunities for freelancers. That’s why I also shoot for Getty Images, which means my work is seen and used globally.

On embracing change…

The biggest change in photography is the digital revolution. I’ve also seen the flash come full circle from the ‘90s, it’s back with a vengeance now. My best advice to anyone who wants to be photographer is get as much assisting work as you can because once you make it, it’s hard to see other photographers’ work.

On finding inspiration…

I look at the people around me, from subjects I photograph and also I’m constantly looking at other photographers’ work to be inspired. 

On community…

Community to me is people finding strength and support from each other, people sharing similar goals, people communicating well and caring about the well-being of those around them. We moved here in 2003, arriving with two backpacks, on our honeymoon. We fell in love with New Zealand, applied for residency and the rest is history.

On raising children in New Zealand…

My children are 13, nine and seven. I love raising children in New Zealand because so much of the time is spent outdoors. New Zealand is a wonderful place to enjoy nature and have access to incredible places that have not been destroyed by tourism or consumerism.

On switching off from work…

I go for a run, go to yoga, hang out with my kids, drink nice wine and go to festivals. My husband makes me laugh and keeps me light-hearted about life. He’s very good at making me see the humorous side of a difficult, serious situation. 

On being grateful…

I’ve experienced significant deaths several times in my life so I often feel grateful just to be alive, healthy and able to enjoy another day. Life is short. We should never take it for granted.

On being grateful in three words…

Family, health and friendship. 

On providing a better, brighter future for New Zealand’s children…

I’m involved with Great Full because I believe it is good to support the less fortunate in life.