German photographer Maja Moritz has lived and worked in New Zealand since 2004. After completing a recent assignment from Germany photo agency DPA Picture Alliance, she received a request from them to photograph the New Zealand authors as a preview for the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012.
“This came pretty much the same day the list of authors who would be in Germany was published,” Maja told PANZ News. “I had only four weeks until I left for my yearly visit to family and friends in Germany, so I started straight away to contact everyone I could get hold of from that list. It got frantically hectic from that day contacting people, scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements more or less nonstop. Two weeks of photo production followed in Wellington, Dunedin, Rotorua, Wellington again, Christchurch, and Auckland.”
So why did Maja feel so connected to our literature to put in this effort?
“I was blown away by the friendliness and cooperation of everyone involved, appointments fell into place and it felt truly exciting to meet all these different interesting people and to be able to contribute to spread the word about Kiwi literary spirit.
“It also was a superb opportunity for me to have a proper go at portrait photography as such and I somehow knew that this was a sort of ‘once in a lifetime chance’ which needed my fullest attention.”
“I had set the frame for my work with each author with a one hour time limit for each session, and basically aiming at three different situations to photograph (classic head portrait, a situation with books, and the author in a place he or she is somehow connected to). The most challenging thing for me was to try to develop some sort of personal connection to a total stranger within this one hour which would offer the chance to release a beautiful meaningful visual moment which talks about the special character of the particular author.”
Visit Maja’s website to see these distinctive and lively author shots: http://majamoritz.photoshelter.com/
So does Maja have a favourite shot from among the many shots taken of the 29 Kiwi authors photographed? For her it is the portrait of poet Courtney Sina Meredith – find it here.
For Maja, “the most special situation was when I had finished photographing Patricia Grace and she asked me as a favour to photograph her together with her husband. It was an honour to do so and felt like a very moving moment.”
Wed 5 Sepember 2012