Abroad: NZ Photographer in London, Sarah Burton

Photographer Sarah Burton outside her Hackney, London local – Well Street Kitchen


Who said Kiwis were a flightless bird? Pffft. I love hearing about New Zealanders making a name for themselves in the creative industries overseas – and love sharing these stories with you. So let me introduce you to Sarah Burton, professional photographer, and New Zealander living and working in London.

As well as shooting commercially for fashion and product campaigns, and having a wedding photography business, Sarah works on a lot of personal projects (photography and writing – she’s a beautiful writer) inspired often by travel adventures with her partner (and fellow NZer), filmmaker Ryan Fielding.

Recent commercial work

Various favourites plucked from Sarah’s atmospheric collection of images

Tell us about what you do?
I work at Wolf & Badger Studios in Shoreditch (East London) art directing and shooting content for independent fashion, beauty and homewares brands.

I also freelance, shooting portraits for musicians, artists, travel features etc, and sometimes write too. Then I have my weddings brand, shooting both in UK/Europe and back in NZ. Any chance to get back to NZ for a good chunk of time over the kiwi summer!

At the studio I work with a lovely tight-knit team and through freelancing often collaborate with my filmmaker boyfriend, Ryan.

I love it when I am able to discover or create something new in well trodden territory. Anytime I have a good team, subject, the light is just perfect and my vision is being realised beyond my expectations it is a pretty amazing feeling.

Why London? How did you end up here?
It’s hard to escape the pull of the myth and legend of London, however grimy it may be. The career opportunities, palpable history, abundant art and culture. Plus we had a good base of friends already here.

One of the recent weddings Sarah has shot – the East London nuptials of two expat Kiwis

Where do live and who do you live with?
I live in Clapton, Hackney, East London. In a Victorian town house with my boyfriend Ryan and friend Celia. When we first moved to London Ryan and I lived in a modern apartment and I’m so glad we live here now as it is so quintessentially London. Tall sash windows, ornate tiled fireplace and floorboards with gaps between them big enough to drop a pencil through. I like to watch the family of squirrels scampering around the trees and the occasional fox in the backyard.

Tell us about your lifestyle there – how do you spend your weekends/downtime?
Heading to different areas of London to check them out, so many uniquely different boroughs and still many I haven’t been to.
Visiting art galleries. Vintage shopping. Food markets. In the summer, drinking in parks with friends… in the winter, drinking in cosy pubs with friends. I do pottery at a ramshackle drop in pottery ‘class’ at Hackney City Farm (I use class loosely as you are pretty much left to your own devices.) At the end of last year, I joined a really fun choir called Some Voices Sing, we performed the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet just before Christmas in a grand old art deco theatre which was a culmination of many of my favourite things.

“ornate tiled fireplace and floorboards with gaps… big enough to drop a pencil through”

“Dining room table that folds up, as London homes are very small and need space saving techniques!
Looking down to the kitchen. This is where I sit if I’m working from home.”

A corner of Sarah’s bedroom, with pottery she’s made herself at Hackney City Farm 

I’m in your borough: where should I go – that maybe isn’t on the typical tourist trail?
Hackney has become like a village amongst the daunting sprawl of London. I live and work in this borough. I like walking along Regent’s canal, gawking at all the weird and wonderful houseboats.

Places to go: Broadway Market is lovely, I especially like sitting upstairs at The Cat & Mutton pub which was established in 1729. Campania just off Colombia Road – authentic fresh Italian food in a slightly crumbling brick dairy that used to house cows. Plus they leave a chunk of parmesan and grater on the table which is my idea of heaven. Chatsworth Road has lots of independent homewares stores and good cafes, and there’s an unpretentious street food market there on Sundays. Well Street Kitchen, the first cafe I ever went to in London so will always have my heart. I order the £1 mug of builders tea and the smashed chilli avo. Our local Mexican joint Del 74 Tacos on Lower Clapton Road is great for its good playlists, fresh tacos and ice cold Micheladas which are a cross between a beer and a Bloody Mary. London Fields on a hot summer’s day for sun soaked merry making, smoky disposable grills and scantily clad Brits. Cycling through the Hackney marshes. Long grass, wildflowers and blackberry brambles.

London Fields – summer shenanigans with friends

Regent’s Canal, Hackney

One of Sarah’s personal projects – her local neighbourhood, captured through an honest, analogue lens

What projects are you working on at the moment?
Personally I am working on a project shooting on analogue cameras that casts a poetic eye over Hackney. Moments that capture me as I walk around. I usually do this when I move to a new place as everything feels so fresh and vivid.

Professionally I am working on a photo and film campaign to launch a luxury vegan leather jacket brand, and have just completed a series of still life’s showcasing the organic beauty products at Wolf & Badger.

BTS – Sarah shooting on location recently

Sarah and her partner Ryan shooting a destination wedding together in Portugal

What’s great about being away from NZ for your career/work?
I think it’s great to experience a different style of doing things and being able to collaborate with a far larger pool of creatives. I fully appreciate both places – for completely different reasons – they balance each other out.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in your work life?
I usually have porridge and tea for breakfast which I eat while reading either my current novel or an article online. Take coffee to Ryan in bed (he lives by artist’s hours) and chat about the day ahead. 15-minute cycle to the studio, I try and get there just before 10am. Then I could be shooting, editing, planning a shoot, or a combination of all three.

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you work-wise over the past year?
Trip to Porto with Ryan where we created a film and stills for a bespoke furniture business run by three generations of woman from the same family. The workshop was full of characters straight out of a Fellini film and we got to see another side of Porto far from the tourist trail.

Romantic scenes from Sorrento, Italy

Magic in remote Cappadocia. See (and read) more from Sarah’s journey to this historical destination, here.

What are your fave things about living in London, in the context of career/creatively?
There are just so many opportunities here. Of course there are more people vying for them but at least they are here. The crush of cultural diversity is invigorating and important. Relatively easy to travel to many exciting locations.

What do New Zealanders take for granted?
Really good, fresh produce grown locally. Innate sense of safety. Horizons.

Imagery captured on one of Sarah’s trips home to New Zealand

What’s coming next for you?
Keep working on my long term personal documentary photography projects which will culminate in an exhibition and hopefully a zine or simple self-published book. I also want to make a short film this year.

Career-wise, hopefully keep going in this trajectory – London is brutal for many at the beginning but has been easier and more rewarding every year.


Sarah Burton Commercial Portfolio
Sarah’s Instagram
Sarah Burton Weddings Website
Throw Some Light – Sarah’s writing and personal photography projects


The New x Aalto Paint : S T Y L E D

 Concept & Styling Alana Broadhead / The New; Photography Swift & Click

When NZ’s Aalto Paint and I first discussed collaborating on a STYLED series, one scene I knew I wanted to create was a bedroom in deep green. I lovelovelove green for bedrooms – it’s a colour that’s both fresh and enlivening, but also calming and grounding, and can be styled in so many different ways to dial up the moodiness and sophistication, or enhance the peace-out vibes.

For this babely little bedroom set-up, I chose Aalto’s Green Bath. A deep green with so much presence, and one that reveals layers of depth and intensity as the light hits it. Aalto Paints are often the choice of NZ interior designers and architects (and people with a discerning eye – ahem, you and me) because they specialise in complex, multi-pigmented colours that use only the most premium grade paint and tinters. I’ve painted many a room over the years, and I’ve honestly not seen such depth and – how do I describe it – substance in a colour on a wall…

(Aalto have so many beautiful deep greens, I found it hard to choose! Other faves were Celtic – still a deep green, but with a khaki/olive vibe, or Kensington – which has a real heritage feel)


Products used and loved:

Linen duvet cover, linen pillowcases and linen euro pillows all in fresh white, from Thread Design
Heavy Linen cushions in Citron from Sunday Homestore
Green Lilies cushion by Fine Little Day from Sunday Homestore
New Mustard pompom blanket from The Foxes Den
Citta Shift Table Lamp in Pistachio (such a great colour) from Paper Plane.
Olive Indoor Slides (organic cotton) by Penney & Bennett, from Paper Plane
Meraki Nail File from Paper Plane
Together Journal from Sunday Homestore
The Kinfolk Home from Sunday Homestore
Renee Boyd Ceramic Mug in Sage from Sunday Homestore
Large ceramic plant pot from Renee Boyd
Maraca Hand Cream in Bloom (love the super-minimalist packaging) from Thread Design
Nebraska Rug in Beige from Flooring Xtra
Roundie Coffee Table from Boheme Home





Petal Playground

I love kicking off The New year (see what I did there) with an extra-extra-goody, and this is that.
The new showroom / workroom of creative couple MarkAntonia.

A new studio from which Antonia can create her insane floral installations, Mark can continue his industrial and furniture design projects, and the two can create and sell their own MarkAntonia products – Disk and Leaning mirrors, a range of candles (actual FAVE), still life art prints in collaboration with photographer Claire Mossong, dried scented seasonals (potpourri for a new gen), dried floral bouquets (love this idea), and other limited edition projects. At the moment, in the pink-floored retail space out front, they have handmade steel and ceramic vases developed specially for their dried floral arrangements, blackened steel hanging racks, and a collab hand balm and cuticle oil.

Visit at 3b Central Road, Kingsland, Auckland.
Open Thursdays – Saturdays, or by appointment (check the MarkAntonia instagram or website).

Ah damn, now I want half a tree hanging from my ceiling.

The sweetest-smelling showroom, with MarkAntonia candles always alight.

Antonia really loves pink (you and me both, babeland)

Did you ever see a prettier workshop? Imagine coming to this ‘office’ every day to create…

MarkAntonia candles in Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring

Scented Dried Seasonals, also in Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring.
The dried flowers inside reflect the season the arrangement and scent is named for. 
Each comes with a l’il bottle of oils so you can keep the scent fresh

Still life art prints, styled by Antonia and shot by Claire Mossong

Top-up fragrance oils

Ceramic vases made especially for MarkAntonia

Buy ’em flowers that don’t wilt or need water

Antonia and Mark, feat. pink door.

Imagery captured by Auckland freelance photographer
Michelle Weir for The New

(You should hire her right meow).



Flora + Foto

Edited: before you tuck into this story, I want to share something with you. Hannah’s baby girl Frankie has just been diagnosed with Leukemia and taken to Auckland for treatment. Katie has started a Give a Little page to take the financial pressure off Hannah and her husband during this awful time, as they are both self employed. Here’s the link if you’d like to donate, thank you.

When I spotted the work of young New Zealand women Katie Barclay and Hannah Whitehead on the gram, I just had to share it with you. Together as Flora + Foto, they style the most INCRED natural backdrops and installations, and capture candid, special moments in life. I want a re-do of my wedding. I want to birth a baby.

Hannah and Katie are  childhood friends who lost touch then reconnected a couple of years ago, finding their lives were taking similar direction with marrying and having babies quite young, and both working in the creative field. Hannah has a background in graphic design and has been a photographer since the age of 15, developing it into a full-time job with loved NZ brand Jamie Kay over the last couple of years. Katie is a qualified event planner and stylist, who fell in love with florals, and now owns floral styling business Little Leaf Florals. I feel like I’ve said Florals too many times now.

They started Flora & Foto with the intention of it being just a hobby – something to keep the creative synapses firing while they were both off work on maternity leave; a chance to collaborate together. They’re making such magic – and having such an awesome time together in the process – that it’s now thriving as a business.

Flora + Foto are available to travel all over New Zealand, and offer editorial and product styling and photography.  You should most definitely book them.

Flora + Foto Instagram   /  Facebook

Oh my sweet lord, this arch/arbour

what is life though

Woodland magic

*Starts dreaming up an event to host just to get Katie to style it and Hannah to shoot it *

Always wear your wildflower crown

LOVE this Toi Toi backdrop. Flora + Foto run mini shoot days – creating a backdrop and shooting multiple people throughout the day – an affordable way for families/couples to get styled photos.

Product launch imagery created for Little Co – Images © Flora + Foto and Little Co


© The New