Wendy Philip Interview: A Love for the Land

Minimalist photographer Wendy Philip grew up in a magical part of New Zealand, where the Southern Alps meet the icy blue ocean. Spending her childhood on a farm nestled amongst this dramatic landscape shaped her love for photographing beautiful scenery today. Even now, mountains and the sea feature heavily in her portfolio, despite now living in South Australia.

Wendy’s other passion is for houses and interiors. She recalls, “I remember admiring my Auntie’s black and white prints from a very young age. In any home or space I frequented my mind would immediately begin planning how I could decorate or redecorate and hang art on these walls.” With such complementary interests, it’s no surprise that Wendy’s photographs are extremely popular with our interior design clients.

Bluethumb photographer Wendy Philip in her home.

Wendy edits photos from her South Australian home.

“I first picked up a camera in the mid seventies when I studied photography at Teachers College and spent many hours developing black and white images in the Arts Department dark room. I still have many of those photos today.” Following her time at Teachers College, Wendy’s family commitments grew and photography was put aside for a few years, with her camera coming out only to document family memories. However, in the mid-2000s she picked up her trusty Nikon and became serious about practising photography again.

Bluethumb photographer Wendy Philip

Travelling around the gorgeous landscapes of New Zealand and South Australia brings Wendy lots of joy and inspiration.

Initially, Wendy’s work focused on landscapes with figures and objects added later in Photoshop. Combining her teaching experience and love of story-telling, she turned these images into children’s books. She explains, “I would frequent the local book stores and they would sell my work on commission.” However, she soon realised that writing books wasn’t her true calling, and instead pursued a more adventurous life of travel, blogging and landscape photography.

bluethumb photographer wendy philip

Beach houses lined up against the sky.

Wendy’s signature minimalist style developed during this time. With a long standing love of black and white imagery, which hearkens back to her Teaching College days, her work makes use of negative space to impart a sense of calm. When colour is used, Wendy demonstrates a preference for soft, pastel tones with the occasional pop of yellow from a canola field. Between her original home of New Zealand and her current home in South Australia, she never lacks natural beauty to explore and admire.

Wendy confides: “I have now lived in South Australia for some 30 years and find the landscape a sharp contrast to New Zealand. I figure I am extremely fortunate to have two of the most beautiful places in the world to photograph. I have no desire to travel to any other locations. Just Australia alone presents me with huge adventures and challenges. Seriously what a place! Dramatic, vibrant, rugged, spectacular. I find the coast and beaches spell-binding and I cannot get enough of either the Yorke Peninsula or the Eyre Peninsula. They are my absolute favourite places to visit. I’m left speechless!”

Bluethumb photographer Wendy Philip

Monochromatic images allow Wendy to show off the amazing texture of the landscapes she visits.

With 2 exhibitions under her belt, Wendy isn’t interested in doing anymore. She explains, “I guess you understand yourself better as you get older, and I decided exhibitions are not for me.” Her focus is on sharing her work with her collectors, and selling her photographs online. “A friend introduced me to Bluethumb,” says Wendy, “and this seemed the perfect place to begin selling my artworks. Working online was a better fit, I absolutely loved creating and updating my own website so I figured Bluethumb could be good for me, and I also think that the opportunities for selling online are limitless today. Bluethumb has proved invaluable for me giving me the courage and belief in myself – that I can do it!”

Desk of Bluethumb photographer Wendy Philip

Where the magic happens! Don’t worry, Wendy has a bike that helps her step away from the desk from time to time

Wendy’s work has often been referred to as The Spiritual Landscape. She elaborates, “This totally represents how I feel and what I would like the viewer to experience. Something of the spirituality of creation; feelings are important to me and I live for the next blast I will get from getting outside and absorbing totally the beauty of natures ways.”

In the future, Wendy hopes to keep making work and inspiring people to tap into their own creative talents.

Shop Wendy’s photography here.

Bluethumb photographer Wendy Philip at 19.

At 19, Wendy first fell in love with photography

All photos provided by the artist.

Trixie Mattel by Kim Leutwyler, finalist in the 2019 Portia Geach Memorial Award
Bluethumb Finalists in the 2019 Portia Geach Memorial Award

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