About Simon Devitt

Photographer of Architecture

‘Show me, don’t tell me.’

I am a photographer with a strong practice focus in Photography of Architecture, currently based in Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, in Aotearoa New Zealand; with an established international practice throughout Australasia and further afield.

I have both a strong sense of home and a wanderlust which goes right back to when I was born in a sandstorm beside a sleeping camel in 1973.

Working in many different settings across cultures around the world has had a great impact on my professional practice, which has been greatly enriched by my experience of each particular context: Shanghai and its people, the fruitful silence of a Japanese bamboo forest, the light in Los Angeles, so different to the harsh, more direct light in New Zealand.

In fact, I love L.A. light, so diffused, as if a giant soft box had been placed over the sun. On one particular occasion, standing with my camera equipment in a very suburban street in Echo Park I noticed that I had caught the neighbours’ attention. A few came up to ask what I was doing, in a cute-but-nosy, neighbourly way, all of them appearing to act as a neighbourhood watch of sorts over the house I was photographing, and for each other. I felt a great sense of community and a few of them even made it into one of my pictures.

I intentionally add people to my photos—their appearance allows a sense of scale and a place in time.

I am the author of the award-winning photo-book Rannoch and the All Things Considered series. Photo-books bring together my passion for image, place and language, which started in 2013 with the launch of Portrait of a House, my first self- published photo-book on the Athfield residence in Wellington. Since then, I have published the Ripe Fruit series (2018-2019) and Cape to Bluff (2022).

My images feature in many books and collaborations including Long Live the Modern (2009), Group Architects: Towards a New Zealand Architecture (2010), Athfield Architects (2012), Summer Houses (2011); as well as in numerous national and international magazines such as Elle Decor (Italy, UK, Japan and South Africa), Architectural Digest (Germany), Dwell (USA), Habitus, InDesign (Australia), Architecture NZ, Home New Zealand, Urbis, and Interior (NZ).

I lectured in Photography of Architecture at the University of Auckland for 10 years, where I have also had the pleasure of offering the annual Simon Devitt Prize for Photography since 2008.

Currently I am represented by PhotoFoyer in Milan, Italy and my work has been exhibited in both group and solo shows.

Once I had a man-crush on Nick Cave, and I have a penchant for garden gnomes. Oh, and I prefer my martini shaken, not stirred.

I am available for commissions, collaborations, mentoring and guest lectures in New Zealand, Australia, North America and worldwide.

It’s a question of being somewhere,
knowing when to stay still,
sitting on storeys telling stories
making gardens, waiting to eat.
— Simon Devitt, Ripe Fruit