New Zealand has a special magic that is sometimes hard to see from within. For Spanish-born visual storyteller Sara Guix that elixir drives her creativity and has captured her heart.
Since 2015 Sara has been based in Raglan and spent her time wandering New Zealand’s coastline, in search of waves, people, places and inspiration. She’s searching for lives less ordinary and finding them in abundance.
The talented filmmaker, photographer and storyteller has been documenting New Zealand’s whenua, people, culture and quirks along the way for her Why Did You Leave? series and numerous stories and films. Her latest one, a thank-you letter to New Zealand, is a sublime acknowledgement connected by dreamy sequences and a very obvious passion for our coastline.
We sat down with Sara, who has just turned 30, to learn more about her journey and where she’s heading.
NZSJ: Where are you now and has Covid disrupted your travels?
Sara: I have been based in Raglan since 2015. Due to Covid, some film work got postponed as well as the regular visit back home to see the family. But luckily nothing major, so I feel extremely grateful.
NZSJ: Your thank-you letter really illustrates how much you have fallen for the lifestyle of New Zealand. what makes it so special to you?
Sara: New Zealand really stole my heart from day one. I am self-employed and so I’ve been able to travel quite a lot around the country – sometimes for work and sometimes just for pleasure. I keep falling in love with any new landscape and corner every time. To me what makes it special is the random cafés and towns in the middle of nowhere, its endless roads, and the constant changes of light during the day. That’s what has kept it fascinating after all this time.
NZSJ: When you head out with your camera what are you trying to achieve with your photography/film?
Sara: I really try to recreate what the scenery in front of me makes me feel like. My emotions are always the starting point when I create. They affect a lot when it comes to capturing anything and I try to take advantage of it.
“I really try to recreate what the scenery in front of me makes me feel like. My emotions are always the starting point when I create. They affect a lot when it comes to capturing anything and I try to take advantage of it.”
NZSJ: Where does your inspiration come from?
Sara: People that don’t live ordinary lives inspire me quite a bit. I find out about them via podcast, reading, or simply meeting them along the way. In fact, I’ve been capturing some of those stories in a YouTube series called Why Did you Leave?
NZSJ: For emerging photographers and filmmakers reading this, what are your golden words of advice?
Sara: I’ve felt insecure about my work many times. I still do every now and then. So I’d say that hearing a “No” can be a good thing. It means you tried. So keep trying if it really is what makes you happy. There will be many “No” responses during your career, but this should not stop you.
NZSJ: It has been a very male dominated industry. Do you see that changing?
Sara: I am very grateful for living in a time where we are creating big female-support groups daily. The past two years more than ever I’ve had the feeling that we’ve created a kind of sisterhood all over the world. I’ve taken part in shoots, exhibitions, or magazine issues where the main purpose was to support female artists. How cool is that? There’s still lots of work to do I’d say, but my feeling is that we are going in the right direction.
NZSJ: Future for you, what does its hold?
Sara: I will keep working on projects similar to this letter and the Why Did You Leave? videos. I post them frequently on YouTube and Instagram and I really enjoy making them. There is also a movie I am filming these next couple of months where I am working as the DP [director of photography] and I am very happy about it … and also a bit nervous. I do need new challenges I think, they keep me motivated. Documenting with my camera is what I really, really love. In any format, film, or photography.
NZSJ: Where is your favourite place in the world?
Sara: My heart is divided between New Zealand and Catalunya, where I am from. But I’d say that one of my favourite experiences shooting was this past year when I got lucky enough to be part of a documentary that we filmed for three months from Argentina to Mexico. I spent 90 days with a camera on my shoulder and many adventures on my back. I’ll never forget that.
NZSJ: If you were the leader of the world what three things would you invest your energy in?
Sara: Thinking green, creating a universal income and I’d promote the arts more at school maybe!
NZSJ: Nice! Thanks for your time, Sara.
Sara: You’re welcome.
Gallery: Sara Guix’s New Zealand
Watch: Why Did You Leave? Series