Sait and Judith Akkirman are visibly passionate about what they do. The husband and wife duo have been working together on commercial photography and individual projects for more than 30 years.
Sait’s interest in photography stems from childhood. “I suppose I was first interested in photography when I was four or five and my dad used to take photographs, in black and white of course, with his father’s 1930s camera. He used to develop them in the bathroom. Then he’d print it with the red light and everything and hang it in my bedroom.” Despite being surrounded by photography — quite literally — Sait describes himself as an amateur photographer until he left Turkey for New Zealand. Through a series of jobs and connections with certain people, he soon channeled his energy into the photography industry.
The secret to good photography requires a combination of effort and inspiration. When looking at what a photograph needs, Sait says, “Compositionally it has to make sense. People are interesting, so I try to capture some of that.” Working as a food stylist, Judith also pays attention to visuals. “I think about it visually. I would go through and choose, according to colors that would go together, and I try to put in something red and green for freshness and colour.” While sometimes a photograph doesn’t need much editing, other times it is necessary to crop or marry images together. Ultimately, as Sait and Judith reveal, it’s important for an artist to be observant and thoughtful.
Sait and Judith work as a team, weaving their strengths together to produce the best work. When asked to describe their teamwork dynamic, Judith says, “We have separate areas of expertise. We don’t always agree on how it should be, but we always have an end result in mind. It’s a business and we always strive to do the best we can.” Sait praises Judith, acknowledging how essential she is to everything he does. “I catch certain things and Judith looks at other things. And when I think that it’s perfect and final, I’ll show it to Judith and she’ll say, ‘No there’s those two lines that are too parallel’ or something like that, which I don’t always see, so it’s very good.” After years of working together, the pair has developed a rhythm that has brought them many successes. In addition to working on commercial photography projects, they have been running Artsdiary for seven years, a website with information and images (taken by Sait) of art exhibitions around Auckland.
As technology continues to advance, one can’t help but wonder what is at stake for the future of photography and art. Sait reminisces on how equipment has become cheaper and smaller, how photography work itself has changed, and how the internet has played a large role in easier access to images. He says, “We still see lots of fantastic images in the media, especially on the internet. It all goes back to people who look around and see what’s happening and capture it.” Judith adds, “I can’t honestly see things changing that much. A client can’t always find exactly what they want online so there will always be a place, however small, for what Sait and I do.” When talking about advice for young photographers or artists, the pair believes in the importance of being true to yourself. Sait adds, “I think if you really want to be successful in photography, like anything, you have to really have the drive.”
Words: Kelsey Parrotte