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Brake's life 

Brian Brake (1927–1988) was New Zealand’s best known photographer from the 1960s to the 1980s. He first made his name as an international photojournalist, photographing for picture magazines such as Life, National Geographic and Paris Match.

His most famous work was on the monsoon rains in India in 1960. This essay yielded the widely reproduced Monsoon girl, an image of a young woman feeling with pleasure the first rains on her face.

Brake was also well known in New Zealand for his 1963 best-selling book, New Zealand, gift of the sea and, in the 1980s, for his images associated with the Te Maori exhibition.

On these pages you can find out more about Brian Brake himself - his career, his technique, and where he travelled.


Read about Brian Brake's life – from his childhood in Arthur's Pass, where he first began taking photographs, through his years as a globe-trotting photojournalist, to his return to New Zealand and his studio photography for books in the 1970s. More>>

Key dates

View a chronology of key dates in Brake's career. More>>


Find out about some of the cameras that Brian Brake used to take his photographs. More>>

Questions and answers

What is Brake's best-known work, how famous was he, who were his influences, what film did he use?

Find the answers to these questions and many more here. More>>


Click on points on a map of the world to see the photographs Brake took there. More>>

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