Ilan’s journey as a photographer began in 2011 and was quickly recognised as one to watch, winning a plethora of national and international awards.
In 2014 Wittenberg was given a wonderful opportunity to present three themes of photography on Auckland’s scenic waterfront. Titled Black, White & Colour, it was his first endeavour in sharing 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 passion through 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 people’s life.
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 the locals enabled him to produce a compelling portfolio of monochrome photographs, capturing their character and the special atmosphere using ambient light. 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 and D-Photo 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 and became a Fellow of the Photographic Society of New Zealand.
Commencing in 2014, 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 a simple background so the viewer can focus on their body language and facial expressions. The Bare Truth portfolio was 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 PhotoWorld a quality paper magazine which is widely published in China.
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 was a Feature exhibition at the 2020 hEAD oN photo festival in Sydney. His exhibition series titled Scapes will open in The Gray Place gallery in June as part of the 2020 Auckland Festival of Photography Core programme.
Ilan is a judge in photo competitions. He is NZIPP 2015, 2016 & 2018 Auckland Photographer of the year. Ilan has a B.Sc. degree in Industrial Engineering and an M.B.A. in Information Technology.