So here I am, in Otago, New Zealand. I have been photographing Animals and People worldwide for over 25 years; in January we were planning to relocate back to the UK, but things have changed, and there are new challenges, and like many, I have had to rethink the way forward.
Before leaving New Zealand back in 2009, I had become internationally acclaimed for my animal portrait photography. Since 1995 I had created a large collection of emotive, quirky and character filled images of animals that were published worldwide under the brand RACHAEL HALE. My images became popular illustrations on Greeting Cards, Calendars and numerous other licensed products.
In 2007 after 12 years of creating images for licensing it was time for me to have a change, so I made the difficult decision to part company with the Rachael Hale brand and venture out on my own. Babies became a favourite subject to focus my camera on, where I proved I could create the same character and emotive filled imagery of every mother’s treasure. I then turned my camera to Babies AND Animals, the two subjects they say to stay well clear of, but I proved everyone wrong creating some adorable and heart melting images of babies with their furry friends.
But I still needed to challenge myself with something new, I had been working in a studio environment for many years and needed to have a change and a new challenge. That’s where the decision came to follow my dream of photographing animals in their natural environments. In 2009, newly married and pregnant, and still with my camera in my hand, my husband Andy and I took off on an adventure to France, where I created The French Cat, followed by The French Dog, two of my favourite books out of the 19 books I have published to date.
My Photographic Books are my proudest achievements, I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to share my images and experiences with so many people around the world. The name Rachael Hale, and then once married, Rachael McKenna have become household names in the world of Animal Photography, and Baby Photography alike, bringing smiles to the millions of people that have purchased and viewed my work.
After many years of traveling, moving from place to place and completing a number of book projects created in France, New York and then back home here in New Zealand, our daughter is now at the age where we need to drop anchor and settle down; though don’t be surprised if Book number 20 comes along at some stage. I am focusing on heading back to my roots, my passion for Portrait Photography, giving everyone the opportunity to be able to have a beautifully crafted Rachael McKenna original Portrait of their own loved ones, be it animals and/or people right here in New Zealand.
To kick things off, we have started with a new website, masterly put together by my multitalented husband, so have a meander through and get lost in the world of Rachael McKenna, hopefully you will be inspired to get in touch.