Photographer Holly Burgess on wish lists, pantsuits and unforgettable advice

Holly Burgess (Ngāpuhi, Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi) is one of New Zealand’s most exciting young fashion and portrait photographers. Increasingly in demand, the Loupe Agency-repped creative has a packed roster of clients clamouring to collaborate with her skilful eye, including Harris Tapper, Deadly Ponies, An Organised Life — plus, the pages of Denizen. A dynamic force whose reputation is a testament to her uplifting energy and beautiful imagery, here Burgess shares what’s inspiring her and what she’s enjoying currently.

What I do for a job described in one sentence: I am a photographer, I capture moments in time and space.

My personal style can be defined by: I don’t think it can be defined. My style is always in a state of flux, but vintage and retro op shop finds remain constant.

The last thing I bought and loved was: My Lady Shaka hoodie! Designed by Ngaumutane Jones. If I’m not wearing vintage I’m wearing my friends. 

An unforgettable place I visited was: The Hokianga every time. It’s home.

The next place I’d like to go to: Back to the Hokianga! I am planning a shoot with cuzzie/model Roimata up there in a few weeks. 

An object I would never part with is: My pounamu.

On my wish list is: I would love a pair of Prada loafers. My feet need a treat after wearing chunky sneakers on set from Monday to Friday. 

When I was younger, I wanted to be: I always wanted to have a corporate job because I loved pantsuits (wore one to my year six formal even). I realised later it was fashion that I loved. Phew.

My favourite app is: I hate to admit it but … TikTok. 

My guilty pleasure is: TikTok! Lol.

From left: JessB; RuPaul’s Drag Race, Burgess’ pounamu; Lady Shaka hoodie; Whose Futures? book; Emma Lewisham skincare; Prada loafers.

My secret talent is: Touch rugby.

My style icon is: My mum and aunties inspire me. I love that timeless aunty style. 

The best book I’ve read in the last year is: Whose Futures? My sister Hana and her friend Te Kahuratai Painting wrote a book chapter about Māori futurisms. I am on journey learning about my whakapapa.

Three people I’d have dinner with, living or dead, are: My mum, her mum Maata, and her grandmother Te Hana. Our matriarchal line connecting me to the Hokianga. 

I can’t miss an episode of: RuPaul’s Drag Race

In my fridge you’ll always find: Chocolate, cheese and wine.

My favourite room in my house is: My bedroom. I currently have artwork from loved ones on all four walls.

I recently discovered: The West Coast of the South Island! Stunning. 

My favourite website is: Pinterest.

A gadget I can’t do without is: My camera! 

If price were not an issue, the one artist whose work I would collect is: Nikau Hindin.

The podcasts I listen to are: Nuku, After Work Drinks and Guys We F****D.

The best gift I ever received was: My taonga from my whānau.

The beauty product I can’t live without is: All Emma Lewisham products. 

The last music I downloaded was: JessB

I have a collection of: 10-plus years of film negatives. I will get to archiving them one day. 

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is: When I was nervous my Dad would always tell me “it’s good to have butterflies, just let them fly in the same direction”. That will forever stick with me.

Culture


Get inspired with these recently-released memoirs that deserve a place on your bookshelf

Anita Tótha of Sanderson Contemporary on her secret talents, favourite art pieces and go-to Auckland eateries

Listen up, this Sweet Mix Kids x Denizen mixtape will guarantee you’ll get your groove on this weekend