Adrienne Pitts visited London for the first time at the age of 16 and knew it was never a place she could live. Cold, grey and unwelcoming were the abiding impressions of her six days there during an arts and classics tour of Europe.
Fast forward 25 years, a slew of design and photography awards, an enviable Instagram following and a successful career as an internationally renowned photographer, and after a decade of calling London “home” she can’t imagine living anywhere else. Her original plan, when she headed there after a relationship ended, was to stay for maybe a year, but as many readers of these pages will know from their own experience, that infamous “just one year” vow is made to be broken.
Although it’s her work as a photographer she is best known for today, she has also forged a reputation as an outstanding art director, even if initially she assumed this field would play second fiddle to a career in photography. Graduating from Massey Wellington with a Bachelor of Design, a photography major and an alarming student loan, her timing was distinctly off. It was the very moment when digital photography was exploding, but her degree had been film-based and she couldn’t quite rustle up the $100,000 necessary to set herself up with the latest digital gear. Always pragmatic, she set about putting her design degree to good use, working as a graphic designer for a Wellington agency, before moving to the Bay of Plenty to take up a dual role as graphic designer-cum-photographer on the magazine Uno.