For as long as Rose McMahon can remember she has been able to see things through a frame.
The Tauranga 17-year-old has an eye for it, shooting her first camera at the age of “about 8 or 9”, although she says she had played around with her mum’s camera even before that.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise photography has captured the teenager, who runs her own photography business and a separate independent film company as well.
McMahon is a focused young woman.
She launched her photography business at the age of 12, starting out capturing events around the Bay of Plenty. At the age of 14 she photographed her first wedding.
“I love having my businesses at my age.”
She remembers when she first started out, some people would question her ability being so young or even expect a cheaper rate given her age.
Her work has silenced many and she says people are now “starting to come away a little” from that frame of mind.
She says if someone can do the job as good as anyone else, no matter how old they are, “why does age even matter?”.
“Why should there be a difference?” McMahon says.
“I felt like nobody believed what I could do,” she says.
However, other people’s doubts have never held her back.
She says she was home-schooled, which she believes, was a good grounding for her success today.
She is the youngest of two sisters and has a supportive family, with parents never doubting her ability and encouraging her to always follow her dreams.
“A lot of it is home-school and always being told I could do whatever I wanted to do.
“I was home-schooled and I’ve always loved creating and art.”
She sees photography as a way people can see the magic that happens in her head.
In 2013, she was given her first job as a still photographer on the set of a feature film, which became a major eye-opener for her, prompting her next business venture.
About 18 months ago McMahon launched her independent film company Twinkling Bat Films and has produced five short films. She has even garnered awards for her work at film festivals in New Zealand and abroad.
“I’ve always loved films and all the kind of art behind it.
“Films really do have a bigger power.
“I’ve got a huge passion for film.”
She has a crew of people who work alongside her, sharing their expertise and experience which helps.
“Getting all these people to create this vision.”
Next month, Twinkling Bat Films will release a short film called Once More with Muchness, which she started writing about a year ago, held auditions for it last year and she and her crew built a set for it.
It is set in a cafe and is a lighthearted story of a girl with a lot of imagination.
She spent two days filming it, compared to all others she had done in one day, and took about nine months from the time the first words hit the paper to the filming.
She says she loves seeing the end product of a film and seeing not only how the efforts of all those who had worked on it had come together, but also how people respond to it.
All of her films have been in the Bay of Plenty and she says it is important to showcase her region and all it offers.
“We do have a lot of talent in the Bay.”
She loves meeting people and capturing moments and emotions, which is why film and photography make sense.
McMahon has some massive goals and judging from her achievements to date, she will reach them.
Next year, McMahon hopes to produce a web series based around young people and relevant issues they face, with some stories inspired by actual events and people she has met.
She wants to work in the international film industry, with emphasis on either the United Kingdom or America, wants to release her first feature film and become the youngest female director of a Hollywood big-budget film, which currently will be before she is 27.
“There aren’t a lot of female directors.
“I’m hugely motivated and passionate about what I do.
“My goal is hopefully releasing my feature film by 2025.”
She says she wants to help young women look at their futures, especially in the film industry, and help them turn their great ideas into something more.
McMahon’s three biggest inspirations are directors Wes Anderson, Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino and it’s because they know what they like and stay true to themselves.
“They are three people who have not cared what other people think about their work.”
She’s still finding her feet, working in different genres to find her own passion for a genre of choice.
“It’s still feeling and figuring out my own style.”
But she’s still got time to do that, especially since she is still doing photography as well – something she won’t be giving up until she can do film full-time.
However, photography will always hold a place in her heart for many reasons.
“Photography taught me to see things in frames.”
It also taught her techniques and elements.
“Photography has a special place in my heart.”
She first started shooting at the age of 8 or 9, showing a real interest in creativity.
But her passion started “a lot before that”, she says.
“Before that I had a go at mum’s camera.
“I’ve always had an eye for it.”
For McMahon, having a career based around something she is extremely passionate about is a no-brainer and something she encourages every person to do.
“I don’t really think of my work as my work, photography and film, they are my heart and soul.
“It’s a job but it really is what I love to do.”
Even when McMahon isn’t technically on the clock she is researching ideas, reading and of course creating in some form – all because it is how she enjoys spending her time.
And her tips for people to do as she has done?
“I wish I could tell you the recipe of how I did it.”
She says a lot of people think it is a difficult task but it does require a lot of “self-belief”.
“As typical as it sounds I would say you can do it.
“Put yourself out there, just have a go.”