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Photographer

Marissa Findlay

On finding her passion…

Because my mum’s a designer, I was privileged to be immersed in the fashion world at a young age.  I often attended photoshoots and was around photographers with mum and I always loved pouring over her fashion mags. My dad was very into photography and lent me his Pentax to borrow when I was 12. I used to dress up with my friends and we’d take pictures at the bottom of the Auckland Domain by the old train tracks.

I took photography and art as subjects in college and earned a scholarship in photography with the option to study fine art at Elam, but decided to take a two-year diploma in photography at Unitec.

I have never had the patience to paint – what I love about photography is the instant capture of a frame, a composition; plus the movement, the freedom and the constant change. To capture a moment that hold an essence of something real ­– it’s a wonderful medium that offers that crossover between art and real life.

On getting started as a photographer...

I started out shooting Mum’s designs on my friend for a school project and Mum loved the images so much she used them as Zambesi ads! This allowed me to build up a portfolio which I eventually plucked up the courage to show Alice Rycroft – a stylist for FQ and Cleo.

Alice took a chance on me to shoot a small fashion 101 knitwear shoot which normally runs over 2 pages and next minute my work was getting published as an 8-page editorial because they loved it so much! I was super lucky to keep getting booked and as a young female in the industry back then, getting published was a great achievement that I think I took for granted at the time! I look back and realise how lucky I was. I also had a great start with Pavement magazine – Glen Hunt was an amazing mentor who really helped me develop my style.

On style and approach to photography…

Natural light and raw beauty are part of my style, besides taking a cinematic approach to fashion imagery. I start by considering what a particular brand is trying to say through imagery and work to apply my own style to communicate their messages.

On being inspired by the world…

I find inspiration all around me, I’ll see something and it will trigger an idea. It may be out in nature, in the city, movies, dreams, team work, models – it’s all around us.

On favourite photographers…

Photographers through time I especially admire include Bruce Weber, Ellen Von Unworth, Juergen Teller, Steven Meisel and Mario Testino.

On being self-employed…

Working as a business on your own can be tough. It’s important to stay motivated; I know I am most productive when someone else is driving me, even though I am artist that is very passionate and dedicated to my work and my craft.

On what having a community looks like…

Kindness, working together, support, compassion.

On how to switch off from work…

Easy! I’m a mum of an 11-year old boy and a five year old fur baby!

On someone that has made a significant impact in life…

My son Bruno, he is my reason for everything I do and for everything I strive for.

On being grateful…

When the doctors and nurses at Starship saved my life, and Bruno’s, I was incredibly grateful. It is incredibly important to support them, Bruno wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Starship! I hope we can increase awareness of Starship and how important it is that they are supported.

On contributing to the world…

I want to give back to the community, and opportunities like photographing for Great Full make that possible. 

Marissa photographed Elisabeth Findlay's portrait for Great Full's Onesie Collection. She also made portraits for the Bum Hugger Collection. Discover more about Marissa.