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Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

QUEENSTOWN: Catching up with Jackie Ranken and Mike Langford

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We recently visited two of the great luminaries of the Australian and New Zealand professional photography scene, Jackie Ranken and Mike Langford at their Queenstown Centre for Creative Photography. And as if the work these guys do is not amazing enough their home, in the QCCP has one of the world’s most magnificent views over the city of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and on to Walter Peak on one side and the Remarkables mountains on the other. It’s hard to engage in conversation with Jackie and Mike in daylight as every now and then your attention wanders to view outside — you need to excuse yourself, and grab a camera to capture the changing remarkable scenery out the window.

Between them Jackie and Mike have amassed a collection of AIPP APPAwards ‘glass eye’ trophies, NZIPP glass trophies and the AIPP New South Wales Awards antique cameras. It takes one large windowsill to show just some of the awards. Facing the lake and mountain view is a gallery of their stunning landscape and documentary works. The QCCP is an amazing and inspirational place to visit.

A selection of Professional Photographer of the Year trophies

After dinner we spent time talking about the issues of photography, great photographers past and present, and shared stories of places encounted and photographed. A data projector was positioned before a screen and we made presentations of recent works. One of Jackie’s projects, which we’d call ‘flying kitchenalia’, shows household items, mainly from the kitchen, being captured mid-air above various New Zealand picturesque locations. The incongruous pairing presented a completely different perspective in the photography of this already well-documented landscape. The absurd combinations in these images evoke a hilarious viewer response.

For some time the pair have travelled in Burma (sometimes called Miramar) and a presentation of Jackie’s documentary images of showed us that this is a most remarkable place for travellers, particularly those with a camera. While we recognized that Miramar is an amazing place, it is important to acknowledge Jackie’s skilled and astute photographic vision. In these images there was the poetry of a well-seen moment and yet a profound sense of place. Jackie captured poignant human moments where her subjects had unknowingly shared something special of themselves and their lives in this country. In turn this experience was shared with us. Jackie’s images are a remarkable document of a people and place that is about to change, and somehow, that’s exactly where photographers do their most profound work.

Mike’s images of Japan explored this familiar subject for him through an interesting concept of transitions referring to movie making techniques. Here Mike was looking at a more intimate and personal vision of this intriguing country. Our conversation continued well into the evening . . .

The next day was an early rise so we could catch our flight home. For breakfast Mike scrambled some eggs, toasted rustic bread and made coffee. Doug made a silhouette portrait of the pair before the picture window and then off to the airport — a bit rushed, but rich with the thoughts of the time spent together.

Jackie and Mike in silhouette

Thank you Jackie and Mike.

Doug and Vicky

SEE more about Mike and Jackie and the QCCP here:

http://www.qccp.co.nz

http://www.jackieranken.co.nz

http://www.mikelangford.co.nz

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