New Zealand D-Photo

Folio | Vanessa Green

Auckland photograph­er Vanessa Green discusses social documentar­y shooting, the loud and quiet of everyday life, and the beauty of people in their spaces

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Words: Adrian Hatwell Photos: Vanessa Green

We have a rich tradition of social documentar­y photograph­y in this land, and the subgenre has been instrument­al in recording pivotal moments of Aotearoa’s modern history. As well as capturing events of historic importance, our social documentar­y photograph­ers have kept their eyes on daily life and seemingly mundane subjects.

As a result, we are now fortunate to have a legacy of imagery that captures New Zealand’s biggest moments as well as a record of diverse everyday existence throughout the decades.

At the present day end of this legacy is where we find Auckland photograph­er Vanessa Green. A relative latecomer to photograph­y, in just seven years Vanessa has establishe­d a practice that encompasse­s both big and small of social documentar­y shooting, while eking out her own unique groove in that still-unfolding narrative.

“My biggest goal is for my personalit­y to come through in my images,” Vanessa tells me as we meet to chat at a local Grey Lynn cafe. “My images are what give me a voice, because otherwise I’m quite a nervous speaker. I use photograph­y as a way to build a kind of view of myself.”

Vanessa’s images are a flood of faces and spaces — many that will be familiar to those who dwell in Ta¯maki Makaurau’s central fringes. Artists and entreprene­urs, architectu­re and decor, natural spaces and urban constructs, friends and strangers — Vanessa’s subjects are the very elements comprising the photograph­er’s own life, and she strives to capture them with as much authentici­ty as possible.

“What my eye is drawn to is the here and now, and the simplicity of life,” she explains. “What I’m most drawn to is people and their spaces. My aim is to create a really accurate descriptio­n of people in their own environmen­ts.”

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DOMINIQUE AT TOKAANU, 2020

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