Interview: Vaughan Brookfield

“You have to be super motivated, know the industry, know your gear and be willing to give up a lot of comforts.” – Vaughan Brookfield


Keenly playing in the photographic field of board riding dreams, uniquely capturing one moment after another, you’ll find one Mr Vaughan Brookfield; the more than just a point, click and shoot man that made the Trunk Junk Jye Kearney Edition Two feature visually possible.

With the discovery of his passion for photography, came his self-ejection into the “real” world of photography. His home country of New Zealand seemed to have served him well through tight and trusting communities, not to mention an instant canvas to work off that just happens to fall more generously and gracefully in NZ than other places in the Australasian region. However, the big wide world laid waiting, mentions of triumph coaxing the ambitious into its web of opportunity. With that, off Vaughan went, stick over his shoulder with a red blanket hanging off the end stuffed with all the bare photographic essentials.

With timidity thrown into the circular file, Vaughan ventured off into this willing world with certain fervour in his stride, in search of work amongst the international talent pool. Ten years down the line and that same international scene is still chewing on our NZ brother in arms and shows no signs of spitting him out anytime soon. So into the snow-capped horizon, Vaughan continues to stroll, doing what he does best for clientele that can’t get enough of his view through the lens.

What aspects are most important to you when taking a photo? What could you say that you add to this to make it a Vaughan Brookfield photograph?

For me, it’s more like taking an image of someone in an environment. I create a scene. I do it with all my photography. They are the main subjects, but you also need to take into account everything around them. You can portray a certain feeling when you set the scene that someone is in.

Do you find it hard to keep your work original?

Not really. Action sports are constantly changing and developing. Each year we are shooting different tricks on bigger features. I always have new ideas that I try out as well. Some fail, but some work out great and I try to create something people haven’t seen before.

Could you tell us about your wildest, most intense shoot yet?

I have done a few different “intense” things. Being strapped to the side of a chopper with the doors off was a thrill. We went up Fox Glacier this last winter in the choppers and shot some insane stuff like jumping big glacier cracks and stuff like that. Shooting a naked model for an underwear company was quite entertaining haha.

If Hugh Hefner called you up and offered you to come and live with him and be his head photographer at the mansion, would you take it up?

I would be on my way before the confession ended. Nah, that’s a hard one haha. I would probably get over it after a bit. I’m sure it’s not all it is cracked up to be. You only really see that guy on TV, and TV is 90% full of it. So I would stay with the snowboarding and shoot models on the weekends…the best of both worlds.


For more from Vaughan, visit his website.

Browse the Trunk Junk collection; maybe even pick one out for yourself.

© Jonathan Boonzaaier 2016

Jonathan Boonzaaier Editorial Journalist Vaughan Brookfield Interview Two