Bilham grew up in Devonport (Auckland, NZ) and attended Takapuna Grammar. She was captivated by photography and film as a teenager, some of her earliest images were taken around the dramatic west coast surf beaches.
Bilham’s crucial learning experiences in photography came as an apprentice with highly creative Auckland fashion and advertising photographer Philip Peacocke.
The creative milieu of Auckland circa 1980 included RipItUp music magazine and ChaCha street fashion magazine. There was a new wave in music and a new wave in fashion and advertising. Philip Peacocke’s Parachute Photography studio was a major contributor to ChaCha magazine, in both fashion and portraiture.
Bilham was involved with the start-up of Paper magazine, a collaboration between Parachute and Roger Jarrett, the founding editor of groundbreaking 1970s New Zealand music magazine Hotlicks. The free publication had hi-quality printing, unlike contemporary street press and Paper showcased edgy work by advertising creatives, photographers and graphic artists.
Next step for Bilham was a move to Hong Kong in 1983. At the time Hong Kong was a quite daunting vista, the city looked like the set of Ridley Scott’s 1982 movie Blade Runner. Bilham got a big break working for Australian born Kevin Orpin who was one of the most successful advertising photographers in Asia.
In Hong Kong, Bilham opened her own studio and had the opportunity to work on fashion, music and advertising campaigns for luxury brands and traveled extensively through Asia and Europe. She also started a boutique photo agency representing five photographers who were highly rated in their specialist field. The travel photographer represented by the photo agency was Robert Knight whom Bilham first met in 1986.
In 1993 Bilham moved her home and work to Los Angeles, the creative and business hub of the USA music industry and Bilham gained numerous opportunities to collaborate directly with musicians on creating the imagery for promotion and album cover design.
Bilham, in1995 formed a business partnership Knight Bilham Photography with partner Robert Knight while working from Santa Monica studio Industria with silk screen artist Jim Evans. The largest collaboration for the duo was partnering with the giant USA music retailer Guitar Center. The couple provided portraits of classic (and brand new) artists for billboard size exterior displays – this was a joint exhibition of their work resulting in photographic displays on Sunset Boulevard and more than 200 stores across the US – the largest ever national arts display.
Bilham shot photography for music labels and fashion companies while collaborating with Knight on resort and travel clients around the globe for the next 30 years.
CALL US +64 3 474 9394 // +64 3 425 7711
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VISIT US 82 St. Andrew St, Dunedin, NZ
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