Elise Rutherford likes wide-open spaces. Her work captures rural New Zealand in motion; drawing on the characters and landscapes she encounters in some of our country’s most remote and unlikely places. Having grown up on a farm in North Canterbury, Elise has long been fascinated by the rich and rugged textures of country life, and from a young age has been passionate about the stories that photographs can tell us. Now, she spends her time between home, and Pigeon Bay in Banks Peninsula – more often that not with her camera in hand!

After gaining a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the University of Canterbury, Elise has gone on to pursue professional agricultural photography. Today, the majority of her work involves supplying imagery for some of New Zealand’s most successful rural businesses; be it through licensing her existing images to use on their websites, or heading out into the field to capture new content.

Overall, a sense of rawness and realness define Elise’s work. Her images draw on light and movement, with breathtaking landscapes that work in juxtaposition with the gritty reality of farm life – sweeping sunsets against the dirt, sweat and dust. While some of her photos are planned, often it’s just a case of being in the right place at the right time; getting up a little earlier or sparing twenty minutes at the end of the day to get a shot of the stock in the sunset. For Elise, those are the moments worth chasing.

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+64 22 084 9002)


“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.