ĀHUA – Visions from Aotearoa New Zealand by Himiona Grace
In Te reo Māori, Himiona Grace’s mother tongue, the word « Āhua » means to form, make, shape something or someone’s appearance or likeness. It has something to do with aura, with Nature. For the Māori photographer and filmmaker, the word has so much meaning; it merges all the senses into one. Vision is what makes it coherent for the filmmaker to be a photographer and vice versa.
When asked what makes Himiona Grace click, the answer comes straight, organic, raw: LIGHT! The light that surrounds him in Aotearoa-NZ is what catches his eye, even though landscape, people and events do as well. Before travelling himself, he had not fully understood why so many visitors to his country declared the light in Aotearoa amazing. Indeed, photography is a craft that involves the composition of light and texture, and for Himiona Grace, it also involves emotion. This is how he talks about his work:
“Photography is a personal thing for me. When I look back over my collection I remember exactly what I was thinking and feeling at the time I took each photo, regardless of how many years ago it was. Unless it is a professional job, I am not too concerned with the technical side of photography. Craft and composition take a second place to emotion.
Living in Aotearoa (New Zealand) I have endless opportunities to photograph the beauty that surrounds me. I absolutely belong to this place. I am a part of the land, sea, sky, people and culture. And being a part of this environment is what shapes and makes me who I am. So I do not just take photos. The vision and emotion I feel are gifts.”
Gifts that he is now willing to share with us by showing the life, love and culture that he sees, feels and experiences everyday in New Zealand.