What is your creative background and how did you get involved in photography?
I grew up in Scotland and when I was 14 I got my first SLR Camera. I pestered the school to start teaching photography. I got 2 other friends to do the class, but the teacher always just sent us away as he couldn’t be bothered teaching us, so I enrolled in a night class at Aberdeen College, then studied photography full-time for 2 years. I then went traveling and was just shooting for fun, it wasn’t until I discovered the incredible music in New Zealand that I really found my calling for music photography and portraiture.
What led you to start/get involved with your charities?
It was actually music and photography that led me into charity work. Musicians are the most generous people and they showed me how you can donate your time to make a difference in this world. I’d just come out of a long-term relationship and needed a change, my friend had volunteered with refugee children from Burma who are refugees or migrants in Thailand, I worked out a way I could teach them photography and art and then raise $10,000 to support their education and nutrition through a fundraising exhibition. I now co-manage the charity, SpinningTop, which was originally started by Anita Roddick, the Founder of The Body Shop. All these trips working with vulnerable children made it so obvious how lucky most of us have it here in NZ and that we should all be donating a little to help those in need, hence One Percent Collective was born. We exist to inspire generosity and to simplify regular giving, so charities can spend more time working on impact and innovation. So far we’ve raised over $110,000 for our partner charities and have worked with some of NZ’s best musicians, creatives and businesses who all get involved with their kind dollars or generous time.
We love you The Generosity Journal! How did the idea come about and when / what where the goals?
Thanks! I studied graphic design in Wellington for 9 months when I first moved here. As an end project, I designed a free publication called Exposure Lifestyles. It featured mainly my images and interviews with musicians and creatives. We also got creatives to design the covers with stars such as Taika Waititi, TrustMe, Mephisto Jones and more getting involved. I really missed the gifting culture of having a beautifully crafted print publication that could be shared with friends to inspire them. That’s when the idea of The Generosity Journal came about, we wanted to spread positive, inspirational media about the good things happening in NZ and beyond. Creating the publication has meant a lot more donors to our charities and to others in NZ as well as people getting inspired to do more in the community and to just do lots more little generous things in their lives, which of course has a ripple effect on all those who get touched by their generosity. Plus having such talented creatives like Goodfolk, Gina Kiel, Natasha Vermeulen and more involved, has really brought the charitable world into something that will appeal more to the younger generations, who are of course the future!
What have been some of the highlights and people you have met via doing The Generosity Journal?
Just receiving so many emails from people and messages on social media about how it’s the best thing they’d seen in years makes it all so worthwhile. A friend also told me about how one of her patients was reading it in her waiting room and told her that it’s the best thing she’s ever read as it reminded her of all the people she has met in her years of volunteering for the community she lives in, such cool words to hear!
Where do you hope The Generosity Journal will be in 5 years time? I’d really like us to have a stable support base of contributors and sponsors that see the real value from a print publication that inspires people to donate to causes they care about, thus making the world we live in better for all. Dolphins, babies, campers are all happy, karma is restored, all thanks to the beauty of print and good stories!
If you could pick 3 mentors, who would they be and why?
1. Seth Godin – His daily blog posts and all his books give me such clarity in life and all my projects. He’s a no bullshit guy who says it as it is and often I’ll change strategies as a post he sends out might arrive in my inbox right when I’m working on that exact subject he’s writing about.
2. Dan Pallotta – Dan is changing the way people think about changing the world, he’s challenging many old charitable models and he’s making us think bigger and bolder and about being less PC in what we do. We’re here to create positive changes and changing the way people think about changing the world is the number one key shift that must happen!
3. Warren Maxwell – I’m lucky enough to call Warren a friend and have had his support on many gigs and projects. He’s the nicest guy in the world and has his head screwed on so damn well. His advice and his outlook on the world are so inspiring, plus of course all his musical history with Trinity Roots, Little Bushman, Fat Freddy’s Drop and more just puts a smile on everyone’s faces, which is priceless!