I began my career in photography as a fresh faced, enthusiastic junior member of the team at Photography by Woolf in Wellington in the early 90’s (ahem). Woolf has a proud history in photography going back many decades, and at the time were the studio commissioned to capture all the official portraits of visiting dignitaries and heads of state.
As such, when the Queen came to NZ for her royal visit in 1995 I assisted my boss, Simon Woolf in capturing the historic signing of the Waikato–Tainui treaty settlement (see the clip HERE). The Queen was a very poised lady (as one would expect) but let slip the very slightest hint of a smile for me during the official photos.
This here is my official Media Pass… (I know, hilarious!! No wonder the queen smiled 😀 I look like I’m about twelve years old!).
It was a busy visit for the her Royal Highness, who also attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Auckland that year. This meeting brought other leaders to NZ, one of whom was Nelson Mandela who passed away last week. I had the pleasure of ‘second shooting’ this lovely man with Simon for his official portrait at Government House.
We weren’t allowed to use flash due to him having very sensitive eyes following years of working in the lime quarries when he was a political prisoner. I remember him exuding gentility and a very graceful, understated charm.
He happy posed for a candid photo with Simon and myself (actually Simon kind of threw me in there and said ‘Emma, stand here!’ – I never would have had the guts to have a photo with him if not… thanks Simon x).
Simon spent a bit of time with Mandela during his New Zealand visit and had a few observations that he shared in an interview with Stuff… you can read it HERE.
PS And in case you are wondering I do not have a photo of myself with the Queen, alas… that really would have been pushing it!