Camilla Stoddart Interview

Camilla Stoddart is the woman behind the lens of some of the best adventure sports images you're ever likely to see. She lives on a high country farm in the belly of the Wanaka Queenstown landscape and she travels around the world snapping images that quite literally take your breath away.


What’s rockin’ in the world of Camilla Stoddart?

I live an unusual life. A life that has no two days the same and no year the same, leaving it a hard question to answer! I have never been a planner, living each day as it comes and following my heart (with a little head to keep me on the right track, whichever track that is!) I have a vision but no plan. So back to the question. I am fortunate enough to call my work play and go on adventures and call it work. But it's not really as easy as all that. Many things don't work out and many roads lead to dead ends. However, I have a few ideas of things I want to achieve. Firstly comes the NZ winter. I am going to book myself on a couple of courses: firstly a backcountry course so I can learn more about avalanche awareness and safety in the backcountry. I want to shoot more ski adventures so need to make sure I keep myself safe! I also want to take a ski mountaineering course. This one will be work. I want to photograph girls learning the skills needed so they can climb and ski some amazing NZ peaks. 

Summer. I have been thinking I want to take some more photos of mountain biking in other parts of NZ. Maybe I'll organize a road trip to the North Island, explore single-track trails that they have to offer and shoot some photos away from my backyard.


What place does generosity have in the world of art?

I think artists should give as much as any other working person. I have always said, when I feel comfortable in my incoming cash flow, I would give to a charity I feel passionate about. I don't think anyone should feel forced to give to charity but if you are in a place where you feel you can spare a dollar or two, why not spare it on a good cause instead of that extra coffee at lunch time. There are so many good things happening out there. Awareness plays such a huge part in charities’ success and with wonderful things like One Percent Collective, people can see how easy it is to give to a good cause and help a little. No matter if you are an artist or a banker, we should all have the right to help. A banker may earn a lot more than an artist however and an artist may be able to help in a slightly different way. Donating their work for that banker to buy, with the proceeds going to charity for example. We can all help. 


Imagine the world the way you want future generations to inherit it?

I would love to imagine a world where governments take control of packaging, plastics and the colossal amount of rubbish we produce. Put laws on the manufacturers to limit the amount of plastic they wrap their products in, make them out of compostable corn syrup packaging or recycled cardboard, like the Charlie's water bottles, which can all be commercially composted. I would love to imagine a world where there are no monopolies on energy providers halting development of sustainable energy. A world that is sustainable. I think that's what we all want. A world without greed and corruption. Greed is the biggest flaw in every government. 


Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate with a charity that would use my work to bring awareness to their cause. I think as a photographer we have a strong and very useful skill to bring immediate visual awareness to people who need our help. If a charity asked me to go and document something that they wanted to show the world and make them aware of a wrong that needs made right I would jump at the chance. I am not saying I would step into the front-line of a war, or put myself in immediate danger but I would love to go shoot something that would help put a charitable cause on the map and in the minds of people to inspire them to help. 


Tell us three things that inspire you?

Brian Nevins – a surf photographer who won a recent competition I was a finalist in. Every year he takes time out to go and shoot photos in one of the worlds biggest dumps La Chureca, Nicaragua. Hundreds of families live in this dump and call it home. He has gone there to shoot photos and make the world aware of the rubbish these families, women and children live in who are ignored by their government, their people and everyone. 

A film by Lucy Walker called 'Waste Land'. This documentary is about a Brazilian artist called Vik Muniz. He lives and works in New York but travels back to Rio in Brazil to do a project on the biggest landfill in the world. He meets the people that live and work on this landfill and takes photos of them to create gigantic installations out of rubbish. He then uses rubbish from the landfill to make these huge portraits of the characters he photographs. The photos he takes of these works of art were then sold at auction in New York and all over the world and sold for millions. All the money he made went back to the landfill and to help the people who live there. A truly inspiring story. And I guess all this leads to why I hate unnecessary rubbish in this world. And there is SO much of it…

New Zealand. Soppy as it sounds, I really get inspired by NZ's beauty every day. This country we are fortunate enough to live in is so beautiful, so young and as a result relatively unspoiled and I REALLY hope we are wise enough to learn from other countries mistakes and keep it pristine. By all means let it grow as I see development as a good thing – it has to happen to keep us economically stable but do it wisely. We are of a generation that is clued up enough to what works and what doesn't. Keep it clean and green and it is such an exciting place to live. It can only grow and I hope so much that we can do it well. 

Are you keen to join Camilla in the giving evolution? Click here to get involved.