Artist Feature: Liam Hopkinson

Massey’s Liam Hopkinson, studies a Bachelor of Design with honours, majoring in visual communication design at the university’s Wellington campus. Hopkinson often graces the pages of Massive Magazine with his out of this world scenic photographs of places from every corner of the globe. We sat down again to chat with the photographer.

How long have you been a photographer for?

I have been teaching myself in the ways of the lens for four-and-a-half years now. I bought my first camera towards the end of high school and have since mostly learned from personal trial and error. Working and traveling around the world I take every opportunity to get advice from professional photographers and peers. Since studying at Massey I have begun to learn how to broaden my urban photography through the course here, while still exploring my own adventure photography outside of class.
What inspires you as a photographer?
I was never very good at writing in a diary or blogging about the trips I go on, so I needed something to record my adventures. Photography became the perfect way to share my stories with my friends and give a glimpse of how I perceive the world. I am inspired by the beautiful landscapes and scenery in this world and the wonderful people you can share these great places with. This in turn also inspires me to do everything I can to preserve and conserve our environment, so I photograph the scenery to help raise awareness and respect for protecting our environment.
You have travelled to some pretty amazing places, how have you had the opportunity to visit these areas?
I grew up with some pretty rad, quite different, parents who dragged me to as many wilderness areas as possible. Since then I have just never grown out of my sense for adventure and trying to experience as many of the cool places just outside the door. So I take it upon myself to take every opportunity available to me and get out there and adventure. Whether it is going kayaking with the local university club, driving across the country to photography the stars, or using my outdoor instructor/guide background to go and work in places like the Arctic (Svalbard, Norway).
What is the one question you are asked most about your travels?
Most people ask me about how cold it is in the polar regions. After seeing a few of my photos and seeing the penguins in Antarctica, straight away they want to know how I survive in such cold environments. To be honest it is only as cold as you dress. If you know your going out into zero degree weather, with wind and no sun, make sure your wearing five layers, puffy jacket, and a raincoat. Not your stubbies and jandals… Then its easy to engage and take in your beautiful surroundings. Just remember for the outdoors; cotton is rotten!
If you could invite five people to dinner, dead or alive, who would they be?
If I could invite five people to dinner, I would probably invite Ansal Adams to hear all about how he created some of the most amazing landscape photos in history. I would also invite Stephan Wilkes to hear about how he created the amazing Day to Night series. Then I would also invite Gerhard (Guts) Swanepoel, because of his incredible wildlife photography, but also because he is one of the funniest guys I have met and would make it a dinner to remember. Then two of my best photographer friends so they could be there to hear all the stories as well, and be able to talk about them later.
What is your top tip for aspiring young photographers?
My top tip for aspiring photographers is to get amongst it every chance you get. You will be amazed what what putting in five plus hours a week on a particular style of photography can do. No matter how talented when you start, you will build up some amazing skills with great results. Just get out there and have fun with it.

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