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The formative years

Brian Brake’s early grounding in photography came about in three ways. He was involved in camera clubs in Christchurch and Wellington as a teenager, then became an assistant in a Wellington portrait studio. Finally, before going overseas in 1954, he worked as a cameraman at the National Film Unit in Wellington.

Each activity shaped Brake’s later work. The camera club period fuelled an interest in scenic and spectacular landscapes; studio portraiture influenced the way he lit his later studio photographs of museum objects; and the film experience developed his ability to create a story by assembling individual shots – a valuable skill for a photojournalist.

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