Into the wild: The photographer who captures the most remote parts of NZby Joanna Wane
Photographer Stephan Romer takes flight out of Queenstown.
“In pictures, I like the drama,” says Romer, who partners with veteran helicopter pilot Alfie Speight to press “closer to the mountains, deeper into the valleys”, although the German-born father of two admits he’s not a very relaxed passenger. “You always have to watch the weather; it’s so unpredictable. But that’s what creates the beauty.”
Romer owns three art galleries where he shows his work: one in Queenstown, one recently opened in Auckland, and one in his hometown Düsseldorf (romer-gallery.com).
Originally trained as an industrial designer, he built his reputation in Europe as a specialist in commercial car photography, with a client list that’s included Porsche, Aston Martin and Mercedes Benz. It was on assignment for Porsche in 2002 that Romer fell in love with New Zealand, during a five-week shoot in the South Island. And he was working on another Porsche campaign in Spain when he fell in love with his Kiwi wife, Nadine.
For the past 12 years, the couple have lived in Queenstown (where he drives not a Porsche but a Mini). There, Romer’s landscape photography has become his passion project, with the large-scale, ultra-high definition images attracting an international clientele, from wealthy buyers in the US to an Arab sheik. His favourite haunts are true wilderness areas such as Mt Aspiring National Park, which has limited access. He recalls a particularly memorable moment on a flight in mid-winter when Speight came in to land on a glacier at sunset. “It was ice-cold, at 3000m, but so beautiful with a really warm, golden glow.”
Romer has spent a lot of time in the European Alps and they’re beautiful too, he says, but crowded. “In the Dolomites, there’s a traffic jam of people. Here, you can pack some lunch and go flying for a couple of hours and not see anyone at all.”
This article was first published in the October 2018 issue of North & South.
Released in 1977, Dario Argento’s campy Suspiria was a landmark in cult horror. Now, director Luca Guadagnino has remade it in a new style.Read more
Abir Mukherjee uses India’s painful struggle for independence as the backdrop for his Sam Wyndham detective stories.Read more
Restaurant veterans Chris Rupe, Krishna Botica, Tony Adcock, Geeling Ching and Judith Tabron reflect on the Auckland dining scene.Read more
Head to one of these Metro Top 50 Cheap Eats and 50 under $50 restaurants for BYO dining that won't break the bank.Read more
Mezcal was once regarded as a tipple for the lower-class – now it's the hero at new bar La Fuente.Read more
Ross’s tape didn’t stand up his allegations of electoral fraud, but it helpfully drew renewed attention to questions about Chinese influence in NZ.Read more
The National Party’s ongoing ructions suggest a long spell in the wilderness lies ahead.Read more
In the 19th century, there were more newspapers in New Zealand per head of population than anywhere else in the world says writer Ian F Grant.Read more