Exploring Matakana

a locations character that sparked an idea


Matakana has always been a favourite place for me. Not only is the food delicious, people friendly and Saturday market not to be missed, but it has some hidden gems like the short river side walk that not many people know about and is a real treat. 


One afternoon when I was stuck for an idea, so I thought I would take a drive up north and explore the Matakana area. Driving up side rounds out into the hills I was greeted with some spectacular views of the wider area, but nothing grabbed me enough to want to create something. So I made my way back to the small town centre and took a wonder around places I had been so many times before,  but hoping I would see something new I hadn't seen before.


Past the restaurants and art gallery, down by the river and under the bridge is this very cool and private opening by a small river cascade that in the right light looks magical. Stumbling upon it I knew there was an image to be created. The feeling of discovery that I felt when being there was what I wanted to recreate in and image when I returned. 


The very jungle vibe of the location, gave me ideas of an old explorer, with straw hat and camera in hand, trying to find something that hasn't been seen yet. Building on this I wanted to collaborate with a good friend of mine Ashley, who does amazing hair and makeup and wanted to create something that showcased her skills and mine. 


After discovering this gem of a location I was walking back under the bridge and saw another composition that capture my attention. The path leading back to the restaurants looked stunning in the late afternoon light and I had a spark. I thought it would be really cool to have a girl with an old school bike, basket and what would be her groceries from shopping at the 'Saturday market', pushing back along the path. This idea I felt had a bit more romance and nostalgia in it that was right up my ally.  


For the shoot I had the privilege of working with and amazing model Carla Hastie who nailed the look I was after and was so comfortable in front of the camera. My lovely assistant Alex, who also happens to be my wife was so helpful and battled the sandflies that came out of no where and started attacking our ankles! 


I really enjoyed this shoot, the collaboration, the location, talent and assistants made it a great afternoon out. I look forward to finding more locations like these and telling new stories.




Matakana River Explorer.jpg
Izak Van Der Merwe