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
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.”