From fashion models to everyday Kiwis, landscapes to still lifes, preeminent New Zealand visual artist Derek Henderson has travelled the breadth of the country shooting his distinct, indelible signature photographs. Interview Josie Steenhart
One such series of Derek’s stunning images feature on this month’s Style cover and within its pages, taken on location at St Bathans, the Bannockburn Sluicings and Poolburn Dam in Central Otago.
Working with a crew of prestigious industry pros including Kiwi stylist and fashion editor Megha Kapoor, Derek captured key pieces from high country farmer Eden Hore’s fabulous ‘70s and ‘80s fashion collection.
In keeping with the eras of the glamorous garments, Derek shot on medium format film – with breathtaking results.
We caught up with the photographer, whose recent portrait of Jacinda Ardern graced the pages of Vogue, on his time spent travelling in the south.
I did a recce a few months before the shoot. In the end we had too many places to shoot. I wanted to be taking photos in the early morning and late afternoon light and have the midday off to relax. We would get up before dawn, have a quick coffee, shoot for two hours then go and have breakfast. Then meet up in the afternoon and start shooting at a new location at about 5pm for another two hours. We did that for two days and visited four locations in Central Otago.
I really liked staying at Pitches Store in the town of Ophir – the accommodation is fantastic and the restaurant has great food. It also has a really relaxed vibe and you can sit out the front of the hotel and watch the odd few cars drive by. Very relaxing.
I love shooting around Poolburn Dam, and the drive up there is stunning. I’ve not visited it in the winter but apparently it freezes over some years, I’d love to see that.
I like the minimalism of the central Otago plains, the Mackenzie Basin, it’s like an alien landscape, dotted with a few wilding pines and the burnt brown colour of the fields.
I’m a big fan of the Sherwood, both a great place to stay and the best food in Queenstown, with a great range of organic wines.
I do like driving to the area around the Dart River and the Routeburn track, you don’t need to go far into the Routeburn from the Dart River end of the track to see some of the most beautiful beech forest in the world.
Take a chopper into Lake Lochnagar – it’s something out of this world.