After gaining a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and an MBA in Information Technology, an artist realises his passion lies elsewhere and moves into the creative realm of photography. It sounds like a career fairy tale but for Ilan Wittenberg this is a reality. Now a distinguished portrait photographer Wittenberg spends most of his time creating portraits and fine art.

Ilan’s journey as a photographer began relatively recently in 2011 but he was quickly recognized as one to watch, winning a plethora of national and international awards. He is now thrilled to be working in an eye-opening field that enables him to get amongst New Zealand’s culture. The people, the atmosphere and the landscape here have contributed to Wittenberg’s shift into a photographic career, where he enjoys exercising his creative spirit. In 2014 Wittenberg was given the wonderful opportunity of presenting three themes of photography on Auckland’s scenic waterfront. Titled
Black, White & Colour, it was his first endeavor to share his creations with the public in a solo exhibition, featuring portraiture, landscape and fine art. He says it was an invigorating experience to delve into, exploring his competence in creating abstract pieces. Wittenberg aimed to break through the clutter of the thousands of images we see daily by telling a story through his work, emphasizing the potential which photography has to touch peoples’ lives.

During 2015, Wittenberg had the opportunity to pursue one of his true passions: documenting people in the Old City of Jerusalem. His exciting journey took him through twisted and narrow streets where merchants are proud to market their goods. Ilan’s unique eye and his ability to create quick rapport with his subjects enabled him to produce a compelling portfolio of monochrome photographs, capturing their character and the special atmosphere using ambient light only.
Faces of Jerusalem was chosen to be exhibited at Te Uru Waitakere
Contemporary Gallery in early 2016 and was featured in
f11 Magazine as well as in Art New Zealand magazine. Ilan won the Travel Photographer of the Year award from TRAVCOM for selected photos from this collection.

Ilan went on to become a Finalist of both the Documentary category and the Portrait Classic category in the 2015 Iris Awards by the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography. Wittenberg then became a Fellow of the Photographic Society of New Zealand.

The Bare Truth is a captivating collection of portraits of New Zealand men who are humble, courageous and vulnerable. Their edgy portraits are presented in monochrome to emphasize their shape and form, using simple background to eliminate distractions so the viewer can focus on their body language and facial expression. The Bare Truth portfolio was chosen to be exhibited at the 2016 Head On Photo Festival in Sydney as well as the Signature Programme of the 2016 Auckland Festival of Photography.  In 2016 Iris Awards Wittenberg won The Highest Scoring Print award for a set of nine portraits from this collection. It was featured in multiple news media including STUFF, Our Auckland, TV3 Story, The Wireless and Sunday Star Times. In May 2019, a ten-page interview was published in a Chinese hard copy magazine: PhotoWorld. As of May 2019, the Bare Truth collection contains more than 280 portraits. Ilan became a Fellow of the NZIPP after being a finalist in both the Travel category and Portrait Classic category. He then won the title Travel Photographer of the Year form TRAVCOM.

Ilan won the Portrait category and the Grand Prize at the 2018 Sony Alpha awards. His winning photo was featured on the cover of D-Photo magazine together with a feature story: Faces of Morocco. In 2019, Wittenberg visited Tanzania. Exhibiting at UXBRIDGE Arts, From here to Africa was also published in D-Photo magazine and will be a Feature exhibition at the 2020 hEAD oN photo festival in Sydney. His exhibition Scapes was featured in The Grey Place gallery during June as part of the 2020 Auckland Festival of Photography Core programme and he won the Editorial category of the 2020 SONY Alpha awards. In 2021 Faces of Cairo was exhibited in Studio One gallery as well as at the 2021 hEAD oN photo festival in Sydney and in LENS MENS International Fotofestival Pelt, Belgium.

In 2022 Ilan had the honour of holding Faces of Humanity solo exhibition at the New Zealand Parliament building in Wellington and described in RNZ Standing Room Only.

Ilan is exhibiting at Art Shows and Art Fairs across New Zealand including annual events nationwide. He has a proven track record of holding successful exhibitions in NZ and abroad. Wittenberg continuously gains national and international recognition by winning of awards.

Ilan is a judge in photo competitions run by D-Photo Magazine, the Photographic Society of New Zealand. He is 2015, 2016, 2018, 2020 & 2021 Auckland Photographer of the year.


Black, White and Colour: Silo Six, Auckland 2014
Faces of Jerusalem: Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Auckland 2015
Bare Truth: Gaffa gallery, Head On photo festival, Sydney 2015
Bare Truth: Northart gallery, Auckland 2015
From here to Africa: Malcolm Smith gallery, Auckland 2020
The Maasai People: Head On photo festival, Sydney 2020
Scapes: The Gray Place, Auckland 2020
Faces of Cairo: Studio One, Auckland 2021
Faces of Cairo: LENS MENS International Fotofestival Pelt, Belgium 2021 
Faces of Cairo: Head On photo festival, Sydney 2021
Faces of Humanity: The Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament / the Beehive, Wellington 2022


Ilan Wittenberg Self Portrait