Liam Butler interviews Craig Potton
About Craig Potton
Craig is a photographer and conservationist who set up a Craig Potton Publishing in 1989 inspired by the success over the previous two years of Images From a Limestone Landscape, his and Andy Dennis's self-published tribute to the remarkable sea coast and forested hinterland around Punakaiki on the South Island's West Coast. Images from a Limestone Landscape was shortlisted in the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards, and proved how rewarding it could be to combine strong photos, text and design with superb production.
Your aerial shots of the Fiordland Region allow people to see a part of New Zealand few get the chance to experience first-hand. What are the features that make them so popular?
Fiordland National Park is the largest national park in New Zealand and one of the largest on the world. With an average of seven metres of rain fall per year thanks to it raining 200 days each year it has spectacular waterfalls and water flows. It has big steep glaciers that make it very in accessible for most people. Arial photography allows you to capture ridge over ridge over ridge in a way that you can just not capture any other way; equally you cannot have all close forest interiors. When developing a book you need variety to keep it interesting. You cannot solely rely on engaging the reader by showcasing big views alone.
It is the shear width and bulk of the tree that amazes you. It makes you in awe of the fact that you are next to such an enormous living being compared to your small skeleton. I know this feeling is what others have also experienced when they have spent time next to Tāne Mahuta. It has a very solid impact on what I think about. There is such a degree of imbalance with what we take from the environment compared to how we are protecting it. Global warming is indicative of this.
Our history of destroying trees means undoubtedly that we have destroyed trees larger than Tāne Mahuta in the past. I am a conservationist. I want to honour the environment in my work and every other aspect of my life. We need to acknowledge the link between our bodies and the environment. I believe there is a connection between your health and your relationship with the environment. Trees give us a connection to the environment. We do not exist as isolated beings. We absolutely need the environment, by caring for it and not polluting it we acknowledge the harm global warming. By caring for the environment we learn respect for our own bodies too and not want to pollute them with too much food and too little exercise.
Be in Win a copy of New Zealand's Wild Places.
By Craig Potton $39.99
Book Review by Liam Butler
Craig is a living legend amongst New Zealand's landscape photographers. Mr Potton's photos are popular due to his ability to capture scenes in a way that allows the natural beauty of the spot to speak for itself.
New Zealand's Wild Places large format edition is a 220 x 258 mm kilogram of photographs of the landscapes that attract visitors from around the world to explore and be awestruck by our countries beauty from top to bottom. This book showcases the skills that have enabled Craig to develop a successful publishing company in the incredibly competitive book market.
New Zealand's Wild Places is segmented into four parts. Wild Rivers and Lakes, Wild Forests, Wild Coasts and Wild Mountains. Each series of landscape photographs are introduced with a brief commentary that provides meaningful context. The photographs ensure that the book can be thoroughly enjoyed without a word being read.
Craig captures the sense of wonder and delight that can be had from encountering New Zealand's natural world. For stunning photographic evidence of this visit
A bit more about Craig Potton...
Craig Potton is New Zealand's best known landscape photographer and an ardent conservationist. In pursuit of his photography he has tramped and climbed extensively in New Zealand, its sub-Antarctic Islands, the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, the Nepal Himalaya, and more recently Poland, India and Iceland. For more than four decades he has documented the New Zealand wilderness, exploring relationships between the concept of artistic beauty and wilderness in the natural world. Born in
Nelson, New Zealand, he gained degrees in Eastern Religion and English, then, after a brief teaching career, began working full-time for the conservation movement. He remains actively involved in conservation work more than forty years later.
Craig's own books are widely regarded. New Zealand Aotearoa is one of New Zealand's best-selling pictorial titles, and Classic Walks of New Zealand, The Nature of Things, Moment and Memory,
Offerings from Nepal and Here on Earth were all Montana New Zealand Book Award finalists in their publication year. More recently he has produced a major work New Zealand's Wilderness Heritage and a large scale art book of his landscape photography, New Zealand.
He has worked as a location/stills photographer on The Lord of the Rings, Peter Pan and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe motion pictures and directed the special effects scenic units for the
Lord of the Rings trilogy and Peter Pan. He also worked on the Narnia and King Kong movies. His photographic reputation continues to grow, with exhibitions at Christchurch Art Gallery, National
Gallery of Australia in Canberra, and a major retrospective at the Rowe Gallery, North Carolina, USA and Luksfera Gallery in Poland and Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.
Craig makes his home in Nelson, New Zealand and is an Executive member of the New Zealand Royal
Forest & Bird Protection Society and is actively involved in the New Zealand Green Party.
Craig has recently completed the New Zealand documentary series Rivers (2010) and Wild Coasts (2011) which he conceived, screen-wrote and presented. At the 2011 New Zealand Scriptwriters
Awards he won Best Documentary Script for his episode 'Rangitata'.
"A good photo can sometimes be an arrow to the heart of things, alluding to or eliciting an immediate encounter. It is the nature of art and the way of nature to push us beyond the narrow realities we often become trapped in, to new or forgotten realms of pleasure." Craig Potton, Moment and Memory.
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Draw Closes March 21st 2014