Where are they now? Virginia Woolf

Ten years ago, Virginia Woolf took a life-changing trip with Kathmandu – one that would help shape her future career. In this series celebrating our 30th anniversary, we look back at some of the past stars of our travel shoots and ask: where are they now?

Worthwhile views
Worthwhile views

The early days

Ginnie’s first experience of Kathmandu began in 1992, when she was a student at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand.

“I was getting fed up with the rain and cold. I splurged on a GORE-TEX jacket that was forest green with purple trim. The extremely good sales person even talked me into getting an Ecofleece jacket — matching colours, of course — that you could zip into the GORE-TEX shell,” Ginnie said.

(Ginnie has since surrendered the 25-year-old jacket/fleece combo to her mum who still uses it around the house.)

At the same time, Ginnie also started collecting Kathmandu catalogues.

“There was always a strong pull towards the stunning imagery, and the travel and adventures were so inspiring,” she says.

“I remember always thinking what a great opportunity it would be to go on a shoot and wishing I was staff so that I could apply because shoots were only for staff back then.”

Camping in the wild
Camping in the wild

Sleeping under the stars in Morocco

In 2007, Summit Club members were invited to participate in a photo shoot in Morocco. Already a long-time Summit Club member, Ginnie jumped at the chance.

Her memories of the trip include hiking the mountain peak of Jebel Toubkal to reach the summit for sunrise, and a night sleeping under the stars in the Sahara Desert.

“I remember going jewellery shopping and having a girls day in the Hamman baths while the guys were looking for somewhere to watch the France versus All Blacks rugby game,” she says.

And then of course, there was the food.

“Apple sheesha, Moroccan mint tea, macaroons, sliced oranges soaked in cinnamon and honey with vanilla ice cream, tagine’d out/overload, coffee nuss-nuss…”

Moroccan souk exploring
Moroccan souk exploring

More than just memories

But for Ginnie, the trip was more than a great travel experience.

“Going to Morocco reignited my photography passion. On the descent from Jebel Tabkhoul I had one frame left on my film SLR for a tricky exposure shot. I didn’t want to risk taking a one-shot wonder, so I asked the photographer if he could take a shot on his digital SLR (it was the first year Kathmandu switched from film to digital) so I would know what exposure to set my film camera to,” Ginnie said.

“He handed me his camera to take the shot and that pic ended up as a double-page spread in the catalogue. I was stoked!”

This Moroccan landscape, shot by Virginia, was the double page spread in the 2007 summer catalogue
This Moroccan landscape, shot by Virginia, was the double page spread in the 2007 summer catalogue

From corporate career to budding photographer

That was the last time Ginnie used her film SLR. She went home, bought a digital SLR and two years later, traded in the security of a successful corporate career to pursue her love of photography.

“Within 12 months, I'd completed my first year in a Graduate Diploma in Photographic Design at the School of Fine Arts at Massey University,” Ginnie said.

In her first year of study, Ginnie entered a contest to assist award-winning travel photographer Chris McLennan on a two-week shoot in Papua New Guinea. She submitted her portfolio of images she’d taken in Morocco — and won.

The shoot led to regular employment with McLennan, where she fine-tuned her photography skills and continued to travel the world.

“During this time I was also employed by Fairfax Media, and after my first year of employment, I was one of three finalists in 2012 Junior Photographer of the Year Canon Media Awards, and a finalist in the 2012 PANPA awards.”

Staying warm on the ice
Staying warm on the ice

So where is she now?

In 2014 and 2015, Ginnie returned to Kathmandu shoots — this time on the other side of the camera as camera assistant and behind-the-scenes photographer.

“ [I’m] still living the dream and following my passion in travel, lifestyle and location photography, and commitment to telling stories through the lens,” Ginnie says.

Today, her freelance photography business includes commercial and editorial clients.

30 Years of Adventure

We’re celebrating 30 years of adventures! Since 1987 we’ve been designing gear to take on New Zealand, and the world. Where have you travelled with your Kathmandu gear?

Still sporting Kathmandu gear
Still sporting Kathmandu gear