This is Michaela’s fifth summer in New Zealand. Like a lot of our residents at The Workshop Michaela is from abroad. She was born in Poland but then moved to Germany before three years old and spent a lot of her childhood in the forest with friends observing the natural world around her. She reminisces of her childhood back in Stuttgart at nine years old when she and a friend took some film photos of her in the garden. She believes this is where her love of photography was born.

After college Michaela was dying to get out of the structure of Germany so she travelled to Spain, there she got what she wished for in a way, all her possessions were stolen on arrival and she was left to her own device to figure it all out, and so she learnt Spanish in 2 weeks to help her communicate better too.

Then she chose travel to Walt Disney World in Florida, where she lived and worked in an ‘Around the World’ exhibition. She was in the German Village obviously and neighboured many other cultures in their make-believe villages. They all dressed in traditional attire and worked in cafés where people could eat traditional cultural foods “and beer of course being German”, Michaela explains. “It was surreal, everyday there was fireworks and everyone would gather together for them celebrating the cultures coming together”. Every couple of weeks Michaela would jump on a flight to the Caribbean or New York which fulfilled her travel fix.

She then went back to the real world in Germany and began to study Business Management Degree and travelled back to Spain where she completed it. She finished her business degree and studied photography and worked briefly in a hospital where her knowing seven languages, four of them fluently, came in handy.  

With her creative side begging for more expression she went home to Germany and started to take her photography seriously, Michaela began to be a freelance portrait and wedding photographer. Due to her talent and easy going friendly nature she soon got a name for herself and many repeat clients. She has followed many families as they have grown, even being invited to intimate family events such as a home birth and holidays away to take portraits of their holiday adventures.

Michaela explains her photography style as natural, as she prefers to take candid shots of people, capturing moments in time rather than unnatural posing. She believes photography should be printed and displayed for memories, “but people should choose the images wisely, don’t print everything just the most memorable moments”.

She started to come to New Zealand to co-create with other photographers on summer weddings and fell in love with the Kiwi way of life. “Here everyone helps each other and oh my... all the hugging and so many thank yous! I always make so many friends here and am always sad to go back home”. Michaela loves shooting in nature here, she also loves all the bright colourful clothes people wear and how unique everyone is with their creativity. “It’s so different to Germany, New Zealand feels like my home, but I still have many friends, family and clients in Germany that I miss very much”. After Michaela’s father passed away suddenly around Christmas last year she realised how important it is to cherish and capture family moments and she is pleased she can do this with the work she does.

“I love the mix of cultures here at The Workshop and the energy of the place, everyone is interesting and of course being a photographer I love the light of the space.”

We love having your smiley face around too Michaela, hopefully you return next year, or better yet never leave.

Michaela Janetzko Photography

Written by Justine Jamieson Identity Coach 

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