Born in a place that no longer exists, living in a town primed for an earthquake and in a job that brings cookies to the world, Lisa was as intriguing as they come.
I'd arrived in New Zealand after 27 hours on a three planes and was spending the first week in Queenstown, a beautiful part of the South Island. I'd arranged to shoot with Lisa after speaking to ICAN Model Management and letting them know I was in town for shoot work.
I met Lisa, part-time model, part-time cookie shop manager outside her latter workplace, an incredible shop in town called Cookie Time. I was yet to know it, but the company was all over NZ and I was introduced via a beaming smile and vegan goods (she'd taken the time to check my profile and see I was anti-diary and egg).
We spent time walking through the town then into the local nature reserve, full of beautiful treelines and a shore with crystal clear waters and idyllic lakeland backdrops. The beauty of it all was almost intimidating, begging to be pulled into whatever you were shooting and demanding a sort of lustful attention.
Lisa was born in a place that no longer existed, East Germany and had moved to New Zealand after time in France and Germany. What really came through was her curiosity in how people tick, what drives and makes them - and of course, being of similar mind, we'd connected through this and ended up in bigger conversations about life choices, adventuring and language.
"Queenstown is due an earthquake?" I'd asked, when onto the subject of living in such a beautiful part of the world; "Where do you think they came from?" Lisa said, pointing at the hills and mountains that surrounded us. It's strange to have something potentially so devastating (and so common in New Zealand) looming over you, yet not front of mind at all. The beauty of the place and the relaxed, supportive nature of the people seems to wash away any such concerns, allowing you to concentrate on what's in front of you, to enjoy without fear.
We spent some time in different areas, aware we were short on time but keen to get some shots in, darting between shadows, jetties, woods and the water, and before we knew it, time was up.
Lisa was the epitome of how I view people in Queenstown - that relaxed, confident, life-first viewpoint that so many of us miss out on - but with layers of complexity that drew me to keep discovering more. I love understanding people and it's especially rewarding when you meet someone who's similar, there's no barriers from the off and you find yourself able to get the sum of someone within minutes.
Thanks to Tracey at ICAN for helping to arrange shooting and, of course, Lisa for her time and affirming attitude to create something.