Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

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Constanza Flores | The Wanderer Photographer Settles in Tauranga
27 February 2020
Constanza Flores | The Wanderer Photographer Settles in Tauranga

Chilean photographer Constanza (Coni) Flores turned her passion into a career by documenting her globe-trotting adventures.

After struggling to find time for a balanced life in her home city of Santiago, she quit her teaching job in 2012 to travel with her husband, Emilio. Her talent for photographing the beauty in people and places quickly drew a following online at The Wanderer Photographer.

After living in Melbourne and Christchurch, the couple was drawn to Tauranga’s beautiful surroundings, beaches, warm weather and endless opportunities for exploring the outdoors.

Now settled in Tauranga, Coni is happily creating not only art, but a life that she loves.

This is her story.

Coni, where did you grow up?

I grew up in Santiago, Chile. Although Santiago is a big city with big highways and high-rises, I lived in a quiet suburb in the countryside. My home had a big backyard and there was lots of wildlife around – I was very lucky.

When did you first discover your passion for photography?

I was 18, doing my first hike in Chile. Something happened to me there. I started seeing nature with different eyes. I saw beauty in all the small things. Everything was talking to me: the movement of the water, the grass, the mountains. I needed to capture what I was seeing. I took the best photos I could and when I got home, I begged my mom to buy me a better camera. Eventually she did and that was the beginning of my photography journey. 

How did photography evolve into a career for you?

I have a degree in Physical Education and I worked in that field for a few years. After a while I realised that I wasn’t very happy. I enjoyed being a teacher, but I was exhausted and had no energy to do other things I liked such as photography or training. Back then I was a high-performance athlete and I just couldn’t keep up with my workload, hobbies and social life. 

After we got married, my husband and I were keen for an adventure. We spent time studying and working in Melbourne and Christchurch for a while. During that time, I completed two Diplomas in Photography and started to think that I wanted to do photography for a living.

I changed my camera to a full-frame, bought professional lenses, created my website and Instagram account. I started gaining a lot of followers while I was sharing my travels and adventures through my photos.

Can you tell us more about your photography and travel experiences?

We travelled to Nepal and carried out a photography project called Paper and Ink. We hiked to remote villages in the Himalayas and took photos of the families and children and printed the photos out for them. I created a fundraiser to be able to pay for some of the costs like the printer, paper and ink. Many people donated money and became part of this project too.

What drew you back to New Zealand?

While we were living in Melbourne, we missed the beautiful landscapes and the quieter life we had enjoyed in Christchurch. We loved the vibe of New Zealand – the simplicity, the rural areas and the national parks. The South Island was too cold for us, so we decided to move to Tauranga.

What do you love about living in Tauranga?

The beach, the people and the weather! It’s been great, we’ve made many friends. Kiwis and other foreigners living here are really friendly and kind. When we can, we go camping or hiking and explore new places. In our day-to-day life we really enjoy going to the gym, going to the beach, running around the Mount and climbing at Rocktopia. There is something different to do every single weekend and stunning places within half an hour to explore.

What has shaped your photography career in Tauranga?

As my photography has largely focused on nature and my travel adventures, I began working with many outdoor brands doing mostly product photography. I also started doing some “influencer” jobs too. When we moved here, I did a Diploma in Social Media Management which has complemented this work.  

What creative projects do you have on the go at the moment?

I will be exhibiting some photos of Myanmar in March in Downtown Tauranga. I am planning to exhibit a different country every year and Myanmar was the first country I went to as a professional photographer. The Downtown Tauranga team was so nice and welcoming, providing a place and display material to be able to carry this out. It will run from March 16th until April 12th at 28 Devonport Rd, Tauranga.

I also sell prints through my website and I will soon start doing photography workshops!  Last year I went to China for six weeks by myself and continued the Paper and Ink project on a smaller scale.

I do many things and this is what I love about being a freelancer and an artist. You choose your own challenges. You not only create art, but you create your own life.

Do you have any advice for other creatives about how to make a living doing what you love?

It is really important to know the value of your work. It can be hard for an artist to be business-driven, because all your creations come from your love and passion for what you do, rather than ambition for money or success. We have to remember that talent has a price too - and it’s usually higher than what we think. 

What is your take on the arts scene in Tauranga?

This is a great city to be an artist in! The views, the beach and the relaxing vibe it makes it the perfect place for creativity. I love all the murals spread out in the city and all the art galleries you find around.

What has moving to Tauranga meant:

For your career? New possibilities, exposure, creativity

For your wellbeing? It’s been great, I feel really happy and healthy.

For your relationships? My husband and I are really enjoying our life here.

 

Gets You Thinking Doesn't It?

No-one can tell you when you're ready for a change of lifestyle...but when you are, we'd love to have you in Tauranga!

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