“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.” – Oscar Wilde
In this series we shine a light on artists expressing their individuality, documenting what they love, working hard on their craft, and sharing it with the world.
We took a deep dive into Auckland-based landscape and automotive photographer, Josh Hilliam’s mind to discuss his process of chasing down the wild coastline.
How did you get started in photography?
For me, photography started with playing around with a GoPro and a building obsession for aesthetic looking photos. It became a creative outlet that I was interested in and was something that I just ran with. From there I bought another GoPro, then a basic DSLR, and finally where I am now playing around with full frames.
What are your favourite or secret spots in New Zealand?
NZ has so many banger spots to offer it is just unreal what you can find when you start looking around. At the start of the year I headed down to the South Island for just under a week, which was the first time I've been able to explore the area on my terms. As much as I love taking photos along the west coast of Auckland it just doesn't quite compare to what you see down south. The 'secret' clay cliffs that a few will know about would probably be at the top of my list.
How do you stay inspired? What do you do when in a creative rut?
When creativity just isn't flowing the way it should be, I find the best thing to do is detach for a little while and dive into other things in life I enjoy. Getting outdoors and surfing, mountain biking, snowboarding, hanging with mates, and anything else that gets me stoked, often resets things for me. Sometimes getting out of my comfort zone and shooting things completely different to the norm opens the mind and helps drive creativity. Lastly, surrounding yourself with people that are just as into it, if not more, can make a world of difference, allowing you to bounce ideas off one another.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Despite what I may portray on my Instagram, I'm a full-time mechanical engineer student so through the year most of my time is spent in the books. However, when the time permits you'll find me on the side hustle, shooting jobs, expanding my portfolio or just getting out and staying fit.
What advice would you give photographers starting out?
The key takeaway from my experience so far would be to just enjoy the process. There is so much to learn in the creative space. Getting better is an ongoing task and requires many repetitive hours taking photos or sitting behind the computer. I only permit myself so much advice to give to others in this regard, because I'm still somewhat starting out in terms of a career, but if you're passionate about it as I am, just put the work in and chase it.
What's a photo you’re most proud of? Can you tell us the story behind it?
This photo would have to be my most proud of, not because of the photo itself, but the emotion it evokes. This was the last morning on a trip that happened because of the many hours I'd put into photography. Sleep was a secondary and waking up ridiculously early was a struggle day after day. After hiking up to this spot on the last morning of the trip, our planning paid off as we were treated to stunning morning light catching the peaks.