about richard

a relatively new New Zealander, I arrived in Auckland in 2004 & here I will stay!

about richard

Mindfood magazine published an article on me. If you are interested you can read the Mindfood article.pdf or (while it remains available) online here.

My first pictures were of people - me, in fact. Or, more accurately of my right eyeball until after my first roll of film I learnt to hold my precious little 110 camera the right way round. (It was trickier in those days, honest!) I was six, and my lifelong passion had begun. I didn’t know it then; indeed it has taken nearly forty years for me to realise it.

Toying with architecture at London University, I discovered the bright lights of the darkroom. Exposing paper to light & watching yesterday’s visions born. Oh, how compelling that was! I couldn’t carry on pretending to be interested in designing retro-chic prairie houses in the modernist tradition for impossibly petite inner city sites after that.

I managed to hold my breath until I’d got my degree, but then immediately sought out the masters of my art to learn real skills from. Generally, beginner assistants to successful photographers in Central London got to make tea for three years before doing anything ‘real’. I was immensely lucky (no other word for it as choice was not a luxury anyone could afford then) & was immediately immersed in the black arts of the studio. Great photographers, great tutors, wonderful people - happy days.

A few years later, I now can’t remember quite how it happened, I ended up in Hong Kong working as an English copywriter for a global American advertising agency that had teamed up with an even larger Japanese agency. A fusion of West and further West. It was not a happy marriage, for the agencies or me & my new role. I worked at it for nearly two years only because it afforded me the luxury of eastern travel photography. An elephant ride in the Burmese jungle was immeasurably more attractive to me than another United Airlines campaign!

Returning to London, I carried on snapping away until an enterprising magazine editor spotted the fact that I could write, take pictures & had an eye for design. Overnight (literally as it happens) I was in publishing. In computer publishing, no less. Here, my passion got put on hold for, well, over 15 years I am surprised to have to admit, as I struggled my way up the corporate ladder, learning all about and then training others in media production & technology.

The one good thing was that it was through this technology that I “discovered” photography again - the digital age was born! Oh, what a joy it was to realise that a modern digital camera could give me an instant, top quality image, on screen before my eyes. Hours and days of fingernail-biting time & a worrisome dependency on the sticky fingers of others on my precious film - wiped away in an instant.

How could my passion not re-awaken? IT Director, Production Director or Photographer? No competition! My beloved photography had been re-born and me along with it. I love it!

Great days!

richard leonard




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