Craig Potton


"A good photo can sometimes be an arrow to the heart of things, alluding to or eliciting an immediate encounter. It is the nature of art and the way of nature to push us beyond the narrow realities we often become trapped in, to new or forgotten realms of pleasure"

Craig Potton is New Zealand's best known landscape photographer and an ardent conservationist. In 2013, he received the Insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to photography and conservation over the past 35 years.

In pursuit of his photography he has tramped and climbed extensively in New Zealand, its sub-Antarctic Islands, the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, the Nepal Himalaya, and more recently Poland, India and Iceland. For more than three decades he has documented the New Zealand wilderness, exploring relationships between the concept of artistic beauty and wilderness in the natural world.

Born in Nelson, New Zealand, Craig gained degrees in Eastern Religion and English, and then after a brief teaching career began working full-time for the conservation movement. He remains actively involved in conservation work more than forty years later. Craig's photographic books are widely regarded. New Zealand Aotearoa is one of New Zealand's best-selling pictorial titles, and Classic Walks of New ZealandThe Nature of ThingsMoment and MemoryOfferings from Nepal and Here on Earth were all Montana New Zealand Book Award finalists in their publication year. More recently he has produced a major work New Zealand 's Wilderness Heritage and a large scale art book of his landscape photography, Craig Potton New Zealand.

Craig's recent work also includes film and television. He was the Location/Stills Photographer on The Lord of the Rings, Peter Pan and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe motion pictures. He also screen-wrote and presented the New Zealand documentary series' Rivers (2010) and Wild Coasts (2011) for which he won Best Documentary Script for the episode 'Rangitata' at the 2011 New Zealand Scriptwriters Awards.  

His photographic reputation continues to grow, with exhibitions at Christchurch Art Gallery, National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, and a major retrospective at the Rowe Gallery, North Carolina, USA and Luksfera Gallery in Poland and Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.

Craig lives in Nelson with his wife Catherine, and children, Michael (who now lives in Wellington), Ashley, Aria and Bella. He is an Executive member of the New Zealand Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society, Chair of the Nelson Suter Art Gallery and is actively involved in the New Zealand Green Party.