Kassandra Lynne's background as a wellness coach and business owner, combined with her incredible eye, allows her to truly capture the essence of those behind the lens. Kassandra's ability to create a safe space for her clients to be themselves allows her to capture moments that speak volumes. We caught up with Kassandra Lynne to hear more about her powerful photography process and ethos.
I'm a Kiwi American, born in Aotearoa but raised in California for the majority of my life. My roots were calling to me and I decided to move to New Zealand about 10 years ago, landing here in Dunedin. My dream since I can remember has always been to be a career photographer, and I've always had a camera in hand as a hobby artist. Since moving to Dunedin I really transformed my hobby into a career and have found my niche in this industry. Prior to photography, I spent 14 years in the wellness industry as a massage therapist & wellness centre owner. I sold this business a little over 2 years ago and have since been doing photography full time.
When I'm not adventuring around with my camera, I'm usually out in the hills, forests or beaches with my 2 pups, Saaschi and Luna or on some crazy road trip with my partner. I just love the beauty and magic of Te Waipounamu, my soul feels connected to this land and the people I've met along the way have really enriched my experience here, becoming like family to me. Dunedin is home for now, but my partner and I have dreams to build an off-grid oasis somewhere in the wilds of the South Island. We'd love to live a more sustainable life and give back to our environment, so until we get our little patch of paradise, we'll do as much as we can from our sweet posse in Macandrew Bay.
I started using the term adventure photographer because I felt that the sessions I was creating for my clients were not just portrait sessions, but a truly unique experience connecting you to nature and the ones you love. I've spent a lot of time doing studio photography and continue to hire studios when I need them, but my passion is about working outdoors and the ever-changing landscapes that become our backdrops. When a client books in with me, I spend time with them to figure out what sort of natural setting best suits.
Often, my clients have never been to some of the places I take them to so I become a guide of sorts, sharing what knowledge I may have of the area and letting them soak in the beauty of the moment.
Other times, clients are in their element at their favourite beach and I'm just the paparazzi catching all of those epic candid moments of connection. This term has recently begun to transform again as I've created Rewild Portrait Experiences, a unique session focusing on women's empowerment, embodiment & connection.
The inspiration for boudoir photography has been with me since my days of living in Los Angeles & San Diego where I used to model for local photographers and also spent a lot of time as a Life Drawing model for local artists, painters, and sculptors. Seeing yourself from the eyes of another is quite a powerful experience and no one person sees you in the same way.
Quite often we are inclined to be our worst critic and focus on the things we don't like about ourselves. I've found that through this creative expression, you can actually start to flip the script and change your perspective of yourself.
This happens not only on an outward/physical level, but it can go really deep. There are so many layers that we can pull back about self-love, self-worth and cultivating confidence. I find that boudoir is a great first step on that journey. Naturally being a photographer, I started gravitating to this type of work and in the last 2 years it has really blossomed.
My boudoir sessions have evolved into what I call Rewild Experiences where I blend the style of boudoir with a beautiful indoor setting and also provide access to secluded wild nature to fully express & connect with yourself on a whole new level. So many of the women I have worked with have never really spent a lot of time in nature or never even thought about getting into the icy waters of our coast, lakes, or rivers. Yet when I provide a safe atmosphere to do so, all of them have been keen to go for it.
The transformation I see behind the lens when we are in these moments is totally profound, it's a very uplifting and powerful experience.
I get to help guide women in reclaiming something they may have lost or never knew they had. A chance to express yourself without feeling shame or judgment and to see yourself in a whole new light.
The best part? They'll get to have incredible artwork to remember this experience and to keep going on this journey of self-discovery.
What has surprised me most about photography is the power it has to heal and transform. I spent a large portion of my life as a massage therapist & wellness practitioner in various forms and felt that this chapter was over for me, I had experienced a huge burnout as a business owner in the wellness industry and was completely drained. Focusing on photography, I had time to reconnect with myself and my journey, basically getting a chance to finally practice what I had been preaching for years. As I have begun to fine-tune my work and find my niche in this industry I have found that the more intimate work that I do with women and couples really has such a profound effect on my clients & myself.
Often times we connect and discuss our backgrounds, past & current traumas, our desires, our fears etc... It is a level of intimacy and vulnerability that when held in a safe space, can be so incredibly healing for my clients & myself as well.
This is much like what I experienced as a massage therapist, often embodying the therapist role when clients were on the table. I had never really expected that to happen as a photographer but I'm so grateful this has crossed over as it makes my work so much more rewarding and meaningful.
Rewild Women's Retreats launched this year and I was so excited to get this baby going. As I've mentioned before, my work has developed into a sort of Rewild experience and I wanted to do more to help women on their journey.
I'm on my own self-discovery journey as well, unpacking what it is to be me. I spent a lot of my years actually being quite cruel to myself with internal negative dialogue, shaming, never loving my body or myself truly. And boy is it a mission as you start unravelling that ball of string, let me tell ya!
So while a woman can have an incredibly transformational & powerful perspective shift during a portrait experience with me, there will inevitably be a time after this session where she will come up to a barrier, something that sets her back on her path to self-love & confidence.
I want to be able to share the tools I've learned and the awesome workshops I've been on so that a woman can continue this journey even when she comes across obstacles in life.
These retreats combine self-development workshops, practices, creative expression through portrait photography, and an element of adventure all amongst some of the most remote and wild nature Aotearoa has to offer. A retreat that can help you dive deeper into self and also step outside of your comfort zone to try new things so you can realise what you are truly capable of, all while connecting with other like-minded wahine on a similar path.
Barre Base Anywhere has been such an amazing tool for me to stay connected with my body on a physical level and also feel supported by an amazing community of women on a weekly basis. I love the studio classes at Barre Base, but the time management aspect of living out of town is tough, so being able to do a class when I want is so wonderful. Rosa is amazing with her ques during the videos and the weekly Livestream on Zoom is such an added bonus especially when I get a chance to be there live as well. The strength and flexibility I've created from doing BBA weekly has improved my breathing, my yoga practice, and my overall mental health.
I am really enjoying the Explore Your Core & Barre Breakdown series at the moment. I love how Rosa breaks down the movements in both of these series to really show you how connected the different muscles are or how to really hone in on that specific muscle. Some moves start so easy and it's like sweet, I can do this... 2 minutes in and you never even knew such a burn could exist in that part of your body.
The gradual burn followed by stretch and connection to breath is what I love as well. When I'm just needing a bit of a release from a long day at work or a hardcore week of workouts, the Stretch & Lengthen series and Roll & Release are so epic for letting go & grounding. The Neck & Shoulders is a total lifesaver as a photographer when you've spent the whole day lugging two cameras around your neck and all the gear. Thanks for all your awesome work, Rosa!
The water! My connection with water, whether it be the ocean, lake, or river is something I could not live without. Cold water plunge, middle of the summer diving, or just floating and taking it all in... I'm all about it! And when I'm not being a mermaid, I'm happiest at home or anywhere cuddling up with my two scruff nuggets and my scruffy Dutchman.
View more of Kassandra's empowering work on her website.