When we first took over CURL mag we started looking for photographers based in New Zealand and Australia and who shared the same passions we have and whose images were appealing. We looked around and quickly found Lola in Auckland, NZ!
WOW! It was love at first sight (with her images!). We made contact and here we are today with an interview of Lola in CURL mag #50.
You can read the interview below and enjoy a selection of her images. Lola is currently in Iceland and last time she emailed us she said she was emailing us from a Land Rover Defender in the middle of Iceland under the northern lights at 1:30 in the morning!
We can't wait to see the photos!
Lola, who are you and what type of photography do you do?
I'm a kiwi born and bred chick living in Auckland. I have an unwavering obsession with hot chips, blue cheese and those little sour peach lollies from the dairy. I always find it difficult to define my photography in a few words, so it comes out a bit like "adventure/travel/lifestyle/me and my mates exploring and doing stuff photography" which is usually followed by further questions so I just resort to showing people my Instagram!
Obvious question, how did you get started as a photographer. At what stage did you think you would live from it, and was it an easy/difficult start?
I started a bit of an obsession with capturing people and things around me when I was about 10. I’d get my hands on any camera I could and used to spend all my pocket money on disposable cameras. Mum took note of my obsession and bought me my first wind-up film camera. I ended up upgrading every year on my birthdays & Christmases all through my teens. I didn’t actually get my first DSLR until I was 18 years old for my university course. After I graduated, I actually didn’t pick my camera up properly for a good couple of years. I didn’t know what to do with it. I had been primarily trained in a lot of studio photography and thought either that or wedding photography were my only options. After having assisted for a few studio photographers, I really rejected myself from that whole world as I just wasn’t feeling connected or inspired by that environment. I had always thought I might live off my craft, but didn’t really know how. It’s taken me years to define my niche and realise what I shoot now it is that I love shooting the most. So I wouldn’t call my career a difficult start, just a delayed one. It was actually Instagram that reignited my passion. I could see people capturing the types of things that I was doing all the time with my friends and family and thought “man I need to take my camera out with me more again.” So just started taking it with me places again and photographing the people & things that I genuinely love and sharing them on Instagram. I was lucky enough to have some people pick up on that and hire me to continue doing exactly that.
Tell us about the challenges of the job. All type of challenges.
At times the weather can be a bit of a challenge. Trying to keep things dry & clean when weather rolls in on location or when it’s freezing cold. I can’t count how many times I’ve stayed in the water until I can barely move my joints!
I’m also always trying to hunt out unique locations that no-one has been to before, or arriving at well known spots without lots of people there too (early starts are key here!)
Lugging my gear around can be high admin. It’s heavy, large and fragile. My current set up is actually driving me crazy at the moment. I love the results it yields, but it’s so weighty and bulky so it’s a real ball ache while travelling.
So despite the challenges, what motivates you?
My mates really motivate me. I’m super lucky to have a really tight crew that just itch to get out there and do epic stuff every week. It’s seriously my favourite thing to be sitting around on a Sunday night when everyone else is winding down and someone just announces “I wanna go do something” - so we will all pile into the trucks and go on an adventure. Our mantra is “the weekend is when you make it.” I’ve always been really adamant that I wouldn’t wait for the weekend to do what I wanted to do. I certainly makes for some tired days but the memories and photos we come home with makes it all worth it.
The beauty and solitude you can find in New Zealand really motivates me too. I like to feel small in these big places and feel like I have them all to myself or with friends.
I get a buzz from the reaction that sharing my images creates. I like the idea that my content can motivate people to get out there and go on their own adventures. It is really cool when people take the time to comment a really positive reaction. Instagram has been such an awesome way to connect with and be inspired by like-minded people.
Why chose lifestyle/water photography?
I have been in and around the water my whole life. It’s hard not to growing up in NZ. I’m usually at my happiest just floating in the ocean. I have a really huge love for capturing the movement and textures of the water. It really is an incredible element. Being away from the ocean for too long really stresses me out.
Lots of people think being a photographer is dream job. What do you think?
Being a photographer is my dream job. A lot of people don’t actually realise the amount of work that goes into it though. There are definitely times where I have wanted to throw in the towel, but most of the time it just feels right. I can’t explain why.
What is the best aspect of then job?
Getting to travel to epic location with friends and family is the best aspect of my job. I’ve had moments where I’ll be standing in an absolutely magic location with friends and feel like my heart is going to explode. That feeling is hugely motivating and I’m lucky that it’s easy to come by in New Zealand.
It’s hard to choose one favourite place but if I had to photograph one place for the rest of my life it would be the west coast beaches of Auckland. It’s so rugged and wild and really easy to find solitude in the secrets so close to the city. Surf, waterfalls, sunsets - all the bits that I love the most.
You are on a big trip in Europe right now, how is that going, and mainly what's next? Have you got some big exiting project you can share?
Europe has been incredible so far. Overwhelmingly hot at times. At times I've actually struggled to see past the swarms of tourists with their selfie sticks and pushy nature. I have to remind myself to overcome the distractions and really appreciate that there is an undeniable beauty in the ancient history here. It's when I'm back in the ocean or in the mountains that I truly relax again. While I have seen amazing things and fallen in love with many places here, my appreciation and love for New Zealand has never been greater.
I'm really excited to come home and start fleshing out some ideas that have been sitting in the tank for far too long. I've been dancing around the idea of a solo exhibition for years and I feel like my work is finally in a place that I can do that, so I'm itching to get wheels on that. I'll also be working on offering lessons and developing some workshops, so keep an eye out!
Check out Lola on instagram @lola.photography