Monday 23 July 2012
It is no secret that New Zealand has produced some outstanding fashion photographers. One of our finest was the superbly gifted Craig Owen, who passed away some months ago. I knew, as did many others, that his work was on the cusp of further international regard.
Craig’s photography for Vogue, Marie-Claire, Harper's Bazaar, Elle and local titles Black and Fashion Quarterly was exemplary. He had both imagination and tenacity. He also had amazing ideas about how to utilise location. Another of his acute talents that I admired was his ability to create mystique about his subjects.
He talked confidently about fashion photography and I was always impressed with how comprehensive his knowledge was. Lillian Bassman? He knew what her achievement was as a fashion photographer when hardly anyone else did locally . Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn? He knew how she could stand and make herself appear much taller. Craig was a bit of a fashion photography maven.
Fashion Quarterly’s editor Fiona Hawtin knows who’s who in fashion photography and she commented that Craig ‘was one of those rare photographers who was both technically very proficient but also an artist behind the lens – they always make for the best photographers. What I really admired about him was his quiet achievement. He wasn’t one of those gung-ho types with a high opinion of himself – and he was the consummate gentleman.’
Fiona is spot on – Craig got the job done and his photographs show how he was not only an artisan with superb technique, he also had a portrait artist’s eye for his fascinating subjects.
Check out Craig's website. You will see why he was so well regarded.
Craig Owen Karl Urban
I gratefully acknowledge the Craig Owen studio for these images.