Zoe and Giovani

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Outrageous Mandy

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Beautiful Brooke

Portrait Photographer Auckland

Stunning Iva

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Beautiful Naomi

Portrait Photography Auckland

Naomi

“Vulnerability is a powerful concept that encompasses the courage to open our hearts and share our deepest dreams and desires with the world. It involves taking risks and putting everything on the line to pursue our aspirations, regardless of the challenges that may come our way. As we grow older, the idea of taking risks may become more daunting, but embracing vulnerability remains essential for personal growth and fulfillment. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, maintaining a clear sense of direction can be quite challenging, especially for those who come from humble beginnings. It often feels like we are trying to move forward from a place of uncertainty, without the luxury of a helping hand. However, it is crucial to recognize that while external help may not always be readily available, our resilience and determination can guide us through life’s uncertainties and enable us to create our own path towards success.

The pursuit of a privileged life might seem elusive, particularly for those who were not born into it. Handouts and easy shortcuts are rarely available, leaving us uncertain about our ability to afford a home or explore the world. Nevertheless, maintaining a positive mindset and unwavering dedication can lead to incredible achievements. It may require daily reminders, but the willingness to embrace vulnerability and strive for our dreams can propel us forward, inching us closer to the life we envision. During the most challenging weeks, when the temptation to give up seems overwhelming, finding strength in being an inspiration to others becomes a driving force. Believing in the power of self-discipline and hard work instills faith and inspiration, motivating us to persevere. Embracing vulnerability during these tough times fosters hope for a better tomorrow, filled with new opportunities and the potential to make a significant difference in our lives and the lives of those around us.”

 

The Art Dealer

Award winning Portrait Photographer Auckland

The Art Dealer

Delighted to win a Gold award for ‘The Art Dealer’ in the Monochrome category at the North Shore National Salon of Photography🥇
It was an early morning and only a couple of hours to spare before my departure flight, but I braved all odds and seized the opportunity to explore the vibrant flea market on the outskirts of Istanbul 💯
Luck was definitely on my side when I stumbled upon this incredible man who just exuded authenticity! With such a charismatic presence and a backdrop to match, I couldn’t resist asking him to look at the camera📸 We clicked instantly and he graciously posed beside his eclectic merchandise. The connection was natural, and the moment was magical. 🔥
The genuine delight on his face when he saw the photo on the back of my camera was priceless. He requested a copy to frame and hang on his wall, proving the profound impact that a simple photograph can have in bridging cultural gaps and capturing the true essence of a moment so beautifully🖼️ I’m so grateful for this experience.

The Frustum

Fine Art Photographer Auckland

The Frustrum

Shelley

Portrait Photography Auckland

Shelley

I used to live in London and was really poor. I had 10 pounds to last me till the end of the week, luckily I’m a pretty resourceful cook and had a topped up Oyster Card.

To make more money I considered being a sugar baby. It seemed easy, and I’d get wined and dined at all the fanciest places that I couldn’t afford. But when it came to meeting someone I couldn’t go through with selling myself like that. The thought of a man in his 50’s when I was in my 20’s creeped me out.

So I decided to explore another avenue – men with a foot fetish. I found someone’s ad on Gumtree, he offered to pay 100 pounds to massage my feet. I didn’t really know what I was in for. We met up and he was visibly turned on looking at my feet. I let him massage them with lotion and up my leg. Then he asked if he could put them in his mouth, I said it would cost more and he obliged. As soon as I felt his wet tongue on my toes I couldn’t stop laughing. Partly because it tickled, and partly because I felt sorry for this sad man putting a stranger’s foot in his mouth. I can’t say I enjoyed it but it was easy money.

He wanted to come back again but I said I was busy. I preferred being poor than subjecting myself to that. At least it makes a good story a decade on.

Zebra Looking Down

Zebra Looking Down

Zebra looking Down © Ilan Wittenberg 2019 Limited Edition of 20 + 2AP Buy Now

Robyn Kamira

Portrait Photographer Auckland

Cory

Portrait Photographer Auckland

Cory

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Black, White & Colour

Photographer Auckland

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Frankie

Studio photographer North Shore

I am 22 years old and my name is Alyssa, but I go by Frankie🥰. I haven’t been able to get over my personal story.

No one really talks about the trauma that comes when a close friend or family member takes their life. June 15th, 2019 is the day my world fell apart. Everything was dark and my life was never going to be the same. This is when my best friend of 7 years wrote her last words and took her own life. At just 18 years she was gone.
My life has spiralled and I fell apart. The constant sadness I felt every day when thinking what would have happened if I would have done this or that! I could not understand.
I was so confused and mad at the world. I ended up isolating myself and I stopped eating. I started drinking alcohol and doing drugs. I wanted to feel anything that wasn’t normal. I wanted to pass out. I didn’t want to think, feel or remember. I wanted everything to stop. As the weeks went by, I dropped weight and started having an identity crisis. I became depressed and bedridden. I ended up with social anxiety and could no longer hold a proper conversation without having a few drinks. I became what doctors call Alcohol Dependent.
To this day when I think about my friend I still cry. I still visit her often in the cemetery. I feel that helps me in a way, and that I’m closer to her, even if it’s just her body down there. I feel like my friend’s story became my story in a way: when she took her life she took mine with her. A year or so later I tried to take my own life as I kept blaming myself.
Four years have passed and I have done some self-work counselling through I Am Hope as well as started boxing. I also dance full time now, which is something…
I still suffer from extreme anxiety, and have a drinking problem, but I am trying to get better, day by day, for her. I live moment to moment, one day at a time, recreating and finding myself, learning to live with all of this and love myself again.

Hannah Jukes;

Svenja

Nude photographer Auckland

Svenja

My name is Svenja and I’m a 29 year old artist.
I faced many difficult challenges throughout my life. From an early age of 13 I struggled with eating disorders. There was a lot of shame about being me and my body. I didn’t feel like I had a place in this world I wanted to disappear. There was something wrong with me. I had a difficult childhood, not because my parents didn’t love me, they certainly did and did everything they could to support me. But generational trauma lead to missing out how to take on life in a healthy way. After years of work on my eating habits and weight the root cause of my troubles still remained and I started drinking heavily to numb myself. I couldn’t bear to be me. I made many mistakes I’m not proud of and been through abusive relationships which left me feeling lonely and even more ashamed.
About four years ago I made a cut and left Germany to start over in New Zealand. It was a difficult time. I was alone,new language, foreign country, I went from job to job and tried to build something from nothing. I had hope but unfortunately I couldn’t outrun my past. I was still drinking a lot and some days I couldn’t manage to do anything before my morning drink to soothe the withdrawals. I tried to stop so many times I lost count. Something needed to change at my core. How I saw myself and the world around me. I was very fortunate to meet some amazing people along the way and it took me another few years and the support of my partner, family, friends and colleagues to finally make a change, to do everything I can to be a better person. Striving for the best version of me. I had my last drink over a year ago now and I’m happier than ever. I forgot there was a me that loved life and can see the beauty of it. As if there was a dark cloud hovering over my head and the more I open my heart the more it dissipates.
I’m honored to have this opportunity to share my story and it’s just the beginning of it. I still have a long way to go, every day comes with new challenges and it’s certainly not easy but my mindset and my intentions have changed over the past years. I’m claiming my life back. I learn to be responsible and to take care of myself and I’m so grateful for the people, the love and the opportunities that have come my way. Instead of being ashamed of my past I try to see it as part of me now that needs healing. I can’t change what happened but I can change who I am today and do better as well as supporting others moving forward.

 

Lucy

Nude photographer Auckland

Lucy

My story entails some darkness but is the epitome of light at the end of the tunnel, so I will ask the same of you now as I will at the end, please, keep going.

My life took a huge turn when I was run off the road & left for dead. I was returning home after being surprised with a beautiful set up of candles asking me to the ball, I was on unfamiliar windy country roads & around a blind corner an SUV was well across the centre line & did not react, therefore I was forced to overcompensate to avoid collision & could not regain control over the gravel smeared road. The last thing I remember is realising I was about to die and feeling the immense pull as my car started to flip, my head smashing against the window & road as it did. The SUV did not stop to see if I was alive & instead fled the scene & left me for dead. I suffered severe PTSD and did not receive mental health support. I tried so hard to ensure my suffering was hidden so as not to burden anyone else, I wore a mask for many years & managed to fool even my family who love & care for me unconditionally. I made myself feel so alone in my struggle & suffered far more than I should have.

Though moving forward, my life, future & dreams as I knew them were ripped away from me by chronic conditions & disease. I was an elite athlete in multiple teams & coach to 3 teams, whilst also studying full time at university towards a Bachelor of Health Sport & Human Performance. Exercise was my life. I’ve danced since I was 3 years old up to 6 classes a week among other sports & got into the gym & weightlifting as a teen. It was a significant part of my identity & was also my therapy. I relied on it & all of a sudden my health started to deteriorate drastically. Many times I was rushed to the ER with debilitating pain that nothing wouldn’t subside and I would remain in hospital for days or weeks at a time with tests, scans and surgeries. The time I spent in hospital became so significant that every other aspect of my life started slipping away… I couldn’t train or coach with any of my teams and being the main base & dancer, I was letting my teams down every time. I couldn’t keep up with university or attend a lot of the crucial classes & events. I couldn’t receive the therapy & dopamine that I always had consistently from constant exercise. I started to lose myself completely. When I was diagnosed with a chronic condition. I lost any possibility of fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming a pilot. I was then forced to abandon my degree and my beloved teams I had dedicated so much of myself into training with in and coaching. I had organs fused together, ovarian cysts that would rupture, implants including one that shut down my ovaries and put me into menopause at 19 which meant I could never carry my own child. I had 4 diagnoses, and I was told the conditions I am facing have no cure and will be with me for the remainder of my life and I also had my partner at the time abandon our relationship extremely suddenly & unexpectedly. I felt like I lost everything that gave my life & future purpose & I felt all aspects of hope & happiness fade to nothingness. I fell into a depthless dark hole; I fell so fast I couldn’t have the capacity to even consider all of the love & life I still had to live for. I reached rock bottom when I opened my drawer full of strong medications and took handful after handful until my body shut down completely. Sadly, my friend decided she would come round to collect the things she had left at my house weeks before and found me face down on the floor. It took the paramedics hours to revive me, and I agreed to be voluntarily admitted to their mental health institute & remained there for about a week. I saw first-hand the pain I had caused my family. I was forced to witness the suffering I had transferred to all that loved me in an attempt to escape it. How could I have not considered this at the time? I felt like the world and everyone in my life would be better without the burden of me & my lifelong conditions, and my suffering in that moment completely consumed me, it was so immense it seemed like the only option & escape. But it did not eliminate that pain or suffering, it simply transferred it to those I hold so dearly. I made a promise to myself & to everyone that loves me that I would never let myself get back to that place, that I would find a way to navigate my life moving forward despite the hand I had been dealt & that I would strive to find happiness.

Fast forward to today, I have spent the last 6 & a half years digging deep within & shining light on all of the darkness, healing every aspect of myself. I have built a beautiful life for myself & can often manage my conditions so well some people won’t even realise that I suffer with multiple chronic conditions & live in constant pain. I find gratitude every single day even when it gets hard, when you’ve been lost in the darkness you learn to appreciate everything that shines & I never realised that immense suffering also opens your heart space & allows for immense happiness & the capacity to love harder than you could’ve otherwise.

It’s not to say that I haven’t suffered since. I’ve had many ups & downs, to name just one of my heartbreaks, that friend that is the reason I’m still alive, I dedicated my all to afterwards. I had been forced out of everything in my life so I had all day every day to do anything & absolutely everything I could to help her & my family in any way I could. Everyone joked that I was her mum as I became her chauffeur, bank/ATM, I’d cook & clean everything & cater to her every request only to have her use & abuse the immeasurable guilt & generosity I gave and had it all thrown back in my face when I tried to step out & move on from all of this by starting a new life overseas, she had been stealing from me the entire time, broke my phone, laptop & damaged my car & made an immense effort to spread lies & attempt to make as many people hate me as she could. She is now an influencer with a substantial following and as deeply as she hurt me I continued to protect her, kept secrets that would’ve prevented her from getting to the influencer status she so desperately desired and have always only wanted the best for her which shows me how strong I really am & that I never really lost myself completely despite it feeling as such, time & time again.

If you rearrange the letters in depression you get “I pressed on” and if there is one hope I have for humanity it’s that when you find yourself struggling, that no matter what, you find it within yourself to just keep fighting. Your current situation is not your final destination and I promise the best is yet to come. How I got through my suffering has become a survival guide. It’s a journey filled with breakdowns & breakthroughs, finding it within yourself to ask & receive the support we all need & be patient, kind & loving to yourself along the way. I still suffer immensely in many ways, as we all do, but the deeper I dove within & the more I worked toward gaining control of my mind, my reality changed completely & my perspective forever more. I never thought I’d be grateful for the pain I had to endure, but I am not a victim of my trauma. I am the warrior I created from the depths of my suffering & it is my greatest honour to be her. Please, please keep fighting. I promise, one day, you’ll be so thankful that you did.  ❤

Beautiful Clair and the Janie Seddon Shipwreck