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PROFILE  - MICHAEL PROVOST

Michael, shown here on the right with (retired) U.S. Airforce General Chuck Yeager, has consistently maintained an interest in aviation. This keenness was somewhat fuelled by airline people in the family and the inheritance of some darkroom equipment. This led to Michael joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a photographer at the age of 17.  

Training was always thorough in the Air Force, and the RNZAF being a comparatively small service, meant that photographers needed to have a broad skill base. Courses were undertaken in the first 3 years of service, primarily in Aerial Mapping & Aerial Reconnaissance. Michael also completed a Motion Picture Camera Specialist Course with the United States Air Force Air University.

The Air Force offered extensive travel, much of it courtesy a 4 year posting onboard various Naval ships. It was this background, including duties as a crewman / observer / aerial photographer on the Westland Wasp helicopter, which helped him win the International Navies Photographic competition, run by the United States Naval Institute.

During his time in the Airforce Michael specialised in airborne photography, including reconnaissance, aerial mapping, and, air to air photography. Other aspects of military photography included, photo journalism, advertising, Public Relations. and intelligence gathering.

In his final 5 years of service Mike was the Flight Commander, Photographic, at RNZAF Base Wigram, in the South Island of New Zealand. He regularly flew to Wanaka, including official Air Force attendance at the Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow. This is where he met Sir Tim Wallis, who saw his work and encouraged his (Warbirds) air to air photography experience.

He was awarded The Chief of Air Staff's commendation in 1994, for services to  NZ Defence Force photography, media liaison, work for External Intelligence Bureau & training.

He retired from the RNZAF in 1995 following a 20 year career. 

Following his departure from the military, Michael was selected to head the Photographic Industry Training Organisation, and wrote and implemented over 120 qualifications which are utilised as the National Qualification Standards in photography and imaging. He also undertook consultancy for the NZ Police, assisting in the compilation of the Forensic Imaging Training Manual.

Subsequently he completed 2 years as a manager for Shotover Jet in Fiji, and more recently has been based in Auckland as director of Corporate Computers Ltd. Michael also lectures part time at the University of Auckland, in digital photography, and has also established a manufacturing and import operation, Digimate, alongside Simpleminders, an IP security system.

Michael  still undertakes commercial photography, primarily in advertising, aerial, wine & food.

In action Mike generally uses an Asahi Pentax 67 (6 X 7 cm) format camera. He tends to avoid the 35mm motor-drive mentality, preferring fewer, but more thought out, photographs at slow shutter speeds (to obtain the prop blur). The Pentax can turn into a 30lb beast during aerobatic manoeuvres, but the quality of the images remain unmatched. These are scanned to Hi Res, and printed .

This website allows you to view and purchase original work, . All photographs are printed using the latest LUCIA digital 12 pigment technology from CANON to exacting standards, by BIGPIX.

All images carry a "certificate of authenticity"

Photographs displayed will be updated and new products added to the range.


Michael Provost on Air to Air Photo Sortie, Wanaka New Zealand