Snapper to the stars visits Queenstown

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Shooting starlets such as Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz is just work for Michael Grecco.

Queenstown played host to the world-renowned American snapper last week – the main drawcard at the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers’ Infocus conference.

Among the long list of celebrities Grecco has photographed are Hollywood actors Will Farrell, Steve Martin, Matthew McConaughey and Lucy Liu, with his shots gracing the cover of prestigious Time, GQ and Forbes magazines.

Grecco says his 30 years in the game have been hard slog – though he now pockets up to $10,000 for a single picture.

“But then there are those days you get to dress Kate Winslet or Penelope Cruz,” Grecco says.

Grecco was impressed with the “authenticity and emotional impact” of Myanmar images taken by local clicker Jackie Ranken , who nabbed the illustrative photographer of the year at the NZIPP awards for the second year running last Monday.

“I thought that there was a great deal of sophistication with everyone’s ability to do illustrative and photoshop work,” Grecco adds.

Grecco was also blown away by the local scenery, claiming he initially thought photos of the Wakatipu Basin were romanticised – until he hit a local ski field and glimpsed the landscape for himself.

Grecco has a new coffee table book on the cards, this one a little less raunchy than his last project Naked Ambition – a look into the porn industry – which was turned into a movie of the same name. His latest venture will feature a video performance artist.