Inspiring stories from the Festival for the Future 2012

Over the weekend of November 16-18, 2012 I was a part of and photographed the Festival of the Future held at Te Papa.

Silvia Zuur co-founder of Chalkle speaks to the auditorium on Sunday about her start-up that enables people to continue learning through people in their own community.

My brief was quite simple, to cover the event which was held at the Soundings Theatre and Telstra Clear conference spaces at Te Papa. I also pitched the idea of photographing portraits of the Keynote Speakers and Young Innovators. There was no immediate purpose for these portraits for the organizers. They already had high quality supplied environmental portraits in use on the site. It turned out to be a lot of fun to take the presenters aside and photograph them from the high of speaking in font of such a large audience. The other side benefit was that we were able to grab a quick to camera vox pop of their thoughts and impressions.

Ben Knight, one of the master minds behind collaborative decision making tool Loomio.

I enjoyed photographing the portraits with my super fast 50mm Nikkor f1.2 lens using the intersection of the light coming in from 2 different banks of windows. It was essentially a backlit scene, but with the size of the windows being so incredibly huge (about 3 stories), it allowed for a lot of wrapping and gave an almost side lighting, commonly used in advertising.

Some of the highlights of the Festival for me was meeting a whole host of amazing people.

Anna Guenther, co-founder of PledgeMe, New Zealand’s first crowd-funding platform. On Saturday, November 17, 2012 PledgeMe funded 150 projects.

Sam Judd (with his daughter) from Sustainable Coastlines, an organization that organizes coastal cleanup days and educates New Zealanders about avoiding to adding to the mass of plastic ending up in our Oceans

Veronica Stevenson, founder of HumbleBee (website coming soon at the time of writing) which is researching ‘bio-plastics’ which promise to revolutionize the outdoor lifestyle industry used in clothing, tents, shoes and equipment.

The big takeaway from the weekend was the level of optimism being shown by young New Zealanders for the future they want to live in. Recognizing the constraints and problems we are facing globally, and taking steps to act locally. I’m left exhausted from all the mental stimulus and yet totally inspired by the generations that are lining up to be agents of change, I think for the better.


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