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Finding the visual story

Mary Hinsen is an award-winning photographer living in Cromwell. Here is her story in her own words:

I first moved to Cromwell in 1991, while the dam was being built. We lived in a small house in Domain Road, Bannockburn. I remember one winter when all our pipes froze up for a week – we had to go into town for water each day.

When our eldest daughter, Katie, was awarded a scholarship to a school in Christchurch, we decided to move as a family so she could take up the opportunity. We knew then that we would be back.

We stayed in Christchurch until all our children had grown up, left home and made lives of their own.

We had always planned to come back – Cromwell is our home. It is a wonderful place to live and to bring up children. Cromwell is still a close community where people look out for each other, opportunities abound whatever you want to do, and we have an amazing outdoor environment to live and play in.

Our youngest daughter Jessica and her young family moved to Cromwell not long after we returned. It is a real privilege to have our granddaughters living close by. Our son Carl lives with his wife in Christchurch, and Katie lives with her partner in Auckland. They all visit often – which is lovely.

In Christchurch, I had the opportunity to work as a specialist food photographer and writer. I love beautiful food and I really enjoy creating mouth-watering images for menus, marketing and restaurant artwork.

Moving back to live in Cromwell meant a lot of travel as I continued to work with clients around New Zealand. However, it didn’t take me long to also find a local focus.

I won several international awards for my fine art portraits, taken around Central Otago. After winning my first FIAP Gold Medal, I was invited to exhibit in England, Scotland, Indonesia and the US.

I started taking portraits of local families in our beautiful local landscape. My work has now extended to portraits of all types, events, marketing images for businesses and photojournalism.  I also create videos for events, parties, families, and people needing video for applications or award entries.

I always have my camera with me – it’s not just work, it’s a passion. We have a caravan and I love to explore, photographing the wonderful people and beautiful places around us.

I also love good food.

We are building our home and my goal is to develop a garden that provides food for us all year round, with extra to share. I create recipes for people with different dietary requirements, and I’m always experimenting with new foods and flavour combinations.

Because I’m so passionate about growing and creating good food, I’m also passionate about the environment we live and breathe in. Our lake, our land, our whole ecosystem needs to be a top priority as we plan for our future, and our children and grandchildren’s futures. We need a healthy and beautiful environment, to live healthy and happy lives.

Cromwell’s wonderful environment is one of the reasons I love living here. Let’s keep it that way.


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