Whites Aviation Ltd

Before Google maps, computers or even colour photography Leo White was in the air taking some of the most iconic aerial photographs of our beautiful country.

Leo White was born in Auckland on 4 July 1906. His lifelong love of photography was sparked as a young boy when he acquired a Brownie box camera. Before he turned 20, White was a photographic contributor to many major New Zealand periodicals - The NZ Herald, The Auckland Star and The Christchurch Weekly Press.

He also knew the importance of being first off the mark in publishing. When he covered important events outside of Auckland, White would always take his 'baby Austin' car to seal his chance at the first image. It meant he could race home and beat the competition, who generally traveled by train.

White captured some of the first images of Auckland from the air in 1921, beginning a lifelong passion for flying which he combined with his love of photography. By 1945 White established the now famous Whites Aviation Ltd.

In the early 1950s, White began shooting photos for a book he published in 1952, Whites Pictorial Reference of New Zealand. The book became a bestseller and encouraged White to take more photographs in various sizes as artworks for New Zealand homes and businesses.

Today the hand tinted photographs captured by Leo White are highly sought after and are a great reference to the history of New Zealand.

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SITE BY EMMA EAGLE