Rachael Hale McKenna
Over the past decade Rachael McKenna (née Hale) has become renowned throughout the world for her quirky and delightful images of babies and animals.
Rachael graduated from Wellington Polytech Design School in 1991 majoring in photography. Her first job was working as a photographic assistant to Anne Geddes, who was already making a name for herself in the field of baby photography.
Three years later Rachael headed to Europe on what New Zealanders call their OE (Overseas Experience). She returned home in 1995, determined to set up her own studio specializing in animal and child photography.
Her first big breakthrough came the same year when she entered an image of a pig wearing a watch in a competition for professional New Zealand photographers. The only stipulation was that the image included a watch or clock face. “The pig was a Kunekune called Pixie,” says Rachael. “And the watch was made out of an old clock, an ancient leather belt and some massive fake diamantes, fastened round Pixie’s chubby neck.”
The prize was a set of studio lights. Rachael, who just returned from London, broke, and hoping to set up business on her own, desperately needed those lights. “And I won!” says Rachael. The same image also went on to win a Gold Award at the Australian Professional Photography Awards. Now Rachael could concentrate on her two passions: photography and animals.
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