in conversation — Joe Hammond

17 August 2023

Joe Hammond is a Co-Founder of Lagoon Films, Director of Photography, and artist working in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland. He is also the incredible talent behind Abel’s newest content. We connected with Joe on what inspires him, both personally and creatively, and found connection through the Amsterdam x New Zealand link Abel and Joe share.

I am from —

I grew up in Kerikeri, later moving on to study and graduate from Elam school of fine arts. I was fortunate to spend a lot of my postgraduate years living abroad in the Netherlands and Australia.

I create —

With my photography I have always loved scenarios where the mundane world intersects with the extraordinary, continually working on the ability to touch both the head and the heart. It’s not easy, and I fail a lot, however, if I can leave the viewer with a sense of wonder and introspection then I’m really happy. My painting practice is similar, in a way they are much the same, you’re filling a frame with feeling and light, hoping for a response. The works are usually exploring a feeling of appreciation, balance, and the joy of being alive.

“You’re filling a frame with feeling and light, hoping for a response. The works are usually exploring a feeling of appreciation, balance, and the joy of being alive.”

I am inspired by —

Inspiration is completely random for me and strikes when you least expect it. In saying that, Spike Jonze has had a significant impact on my visual style. I love his work — his films are deeply rooted in genuine human emotions. He skilfully explores themes of love, loneliness, vulnerability, and longing, connecting viewers to relatable and often profound feelings. His short film I’m Here was one of the reasons I started my journey into cinematography.

There is also this one video found in the far corners of YouTube, I have been revisiting it for years. Stevie Nicks is warming up her voice backstage, it’s captured on an old VHS camcorder, she’s singing Wild Heart over the top of Fleetwood Mac’s Sumo’s Walk a.k.a Can’t Go Back sample. It’s incredibly beautiful, nostalgic and full of an energy I can’t describe. It’s a special moment that no matter how many times I watch it, it still delivers the same feeling. 

Every day I —

Plan for imperfections, try to be aware of what’s happening around me, listen to the signals, and remind myself that every day is important. 

I take care of myself by—

Keeping in touch with the people you love as much as possible, offering help where you can and not being too hard on yourself. You’re doing better than you think. It’s very easy to end up skimming and scrolling through social feeds and find peers making incredible work, work when presented perfectly, feels unattainable. It’s every creative’s kryptonite. 

I look forward to —

The 10am Kercha Saro filter coffee from Ozone with the homies in the office.

words I love —

Let everything happen to you

Beauty and terror

Just keep going

No feeling is final.

Rainier Maria Rilke

My favourite Abel scent —

That’s tough, I was a huge campaigner for Black Anise, however, I am going to have to say Green Cedar.  It evokes the feeling of a forest after a summer rain, leaves drenched, rich and rejuvenating.