friend of the mountains and the snow
I have been fascinated by photography since I was a wee boy. I regularly watched my father taking photographs and then printing them in his darkroom. It was also a special time of walking and talking together along the southern Wellington coast with camera and tripod in hand. I developed patience waiting for the right light to develop. I heard my family history and learnt to speak German. I found these moments together creating images magical. They cemented a life long close relationship with my father as well as a love of photography.
I came to love the intense colours of the New Zealand landscape. I was drawn to the big skies and the dramatic weather changes. I found the graphic wide-open spaces of the South Island of New Zealand inspiring. I was drawn to the mountains through my career as an Outdoor Education teacher.
In time, my photography expanded and I developed an interest in the abstract beauty to be found in urban spaces. I have also come to appreciate people more and the importance of telling stories. I am fascinated by the power of text and photo together.
I am increasingly intrigued by photo books. I have three Photo books published. “EXTRAordinary” tells the stories of Paramedics in New Zealand and the extraordinary work these largely volunteer people do. “Still Intrusion” and “Dissolving Margins” are both collaborative works with my wife Annemarie Hope-Cross exploring her journey with breast cancer and my role as caregiver.
I would describe my personal style as real, authentic, project driven photography. I invite the viewer to share my stories. I want my viewer to make an emotional intimate connection to an image, project or photo story where something resonates with their life experience, their humanity. This intimate, emotional style reflects my involvement over ten years as both a search and rescue volunteer and thirty plus years as a volunteer ambulance officer.
I have a diverse style and portfolio that includes social documentary and fine art imagery. I also have a particular strength in the black & white medium. I work primarily in this medium because I am drawn to the simplicity and complexity of light, form, line and shadow. Black and White preferences also reference the influence of my father, Franz Schusser.
I continue to travel and explore many paths on my photographic journey. Achievements along the way include completing an Advanced Diploma in Photography at Massey University of Wellington in 1999 and in 2007 I was awarded an FPSNZ, Fellow of the Photographic Society of New Zealand.
I take inspiration from the exquisite black and white images of Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Minor White, Bill Brandt and Laurence Aberhart. I also appreciate the social documentary work of Sebastian Salgado, Dorothea Lange, and Wayne Barrar and the way a beautiful image can convey the grim reality of the human condition. These approaches inform the aesthetic of all my work.