Woolf Photography: 80 years and counting

 The Story so far...

In 1934 Spencer Digby established what was to become one of New Zealand’s leading photography studios in Wellington. The business was sold to the Woolf family in 1960, and it thrived, throughout the decades,  under the direction of Ronald and Inge Woolf. Fast becoming an iconic photography studio, its team were at the forefront of important events and documenting the history of Wellington and New Zealand.

Major events and State visits form part of the company’s extensive visual library: From Audrey Hepburn, to Kofi Annan, from the Pope and Nelson Mandela to Sir Edmund Hilary or the Springbok riots, international and national Greats have been captured by their lens. A keen sense of timing and history, together with the desire to tell a story and capture the moment is what underpins the Woolf visual legacy. 

Simon Woolf took on the mantle of CEO in the late ‘80s, and has never looked back: His accession to the helm also coincided with an industry sea-change:  his was the transition from the Dark Room to the Digital Room- no mean feat! Hear Simon talk about the history of Woolf:


 Only his agile business acumen and his on-going commitment to quality and to the core values of the business have made it the enduring success and household name it is to this day:

Quality is at the heart of everything we do: creating enduring images, treating Photography as an art form…that approach produces work that never dates
— Simon Woolf

This ethos has been proven time and again through the numerous national and international awards and accolades the studio has received. It holds the record for the most Kodak Gold Awards. The studio’s photographers have also won a host of Photographic Society of New Zealand Champion Image awards, and gold medals, and also have gained multiple successes in the Epson Iris Awards. Woolf Photography has also produced more Photographic Society of New Zealand Youth Award Winners than any other studio.

Many a talented photographer has passed through these doors and been trained under the keen mentorship of Simon Woolf. The team has had its share of photographic exhibitions and prides itself on pitting itself against the best, and attaining honours and accolades in the process.

It enables us to strive to high standards and gauge ourselves against our peers.
— Simon Woolf

Agility has also been at the core of the business:  Moving with the times, adapting to new technologies and techniques has kept the imagery and the business relevant throughout the decades. Not many Wellington businesses can lay claim to such longevity, and today technology has lain a new challenge: the birth of the mobile phone and social media presents its set of challenges but also offers exciting opportunities to forge ahead into a bright new sea of possibilities.

Stay tuned for the next installment…