Wednesday, 29 August 2007

The Religious

Just before I forget and run away leaving this blog unattended, I thought I should let you know/remind you that I have an opening at Thermostat Gallery in Palmerston North on Saturday. Joining me in the show are Jodi and David. Naturally you're welcome to pop on by, join us for a drink and chat.

I'm heading up tomorrow to do the hanging, than going on a wee road trip, back next week. Should be fun.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The Poles

Told you I had a 'thing' for power poles.

Monday, 27 August 2007

The Gloom

I just pulled the lounge curtains and I was reminded of this shot - similar time of day, only much more gloomy than today. Would you believe I have a 'thing' for power poles. I don't know exactly what that 'thing' is but I have it.

And here's one I took very nearby. At a very nearby time. (I promise I'll get over that stupid statement soon, though I do so enjoy being self-referential.)

Sunday, 26 August 2007

The Copier

This is the same waterfall as in the previous post. It was taken very nearby. At a very nearby time. With the same camera. But different film. I don't often use strangers in my shots, but there was something about this mother and child that I liked - their postures, their clothing, their focus.

This was taken very nearby. At a very nearby time. With the same camera. And the same film. You'd be surprised what happens when you follow these instructions.

Friday, 24 August 2007

The Peter

Not that I ever borrow other photographers ideas, but here's a Peter Peryer.

On a completely unrelated matter, I just found these two interesting sites (not exactly sure how I found the first one - I think I accidentally clicked on a link - but it's cool).

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

The Girl

Here's another favourite shot of the girl that didn't make the post. Okay, so you could get really picky and say that her pose isn't quite right, but considering she was walking out of frame at the time, I don't think it's too bad. There's some nice jacket action going on.

And a nice shot taken very nearby. At a very nearby time.

Monday, 20 August 2007

The Hippie

To make sense of the following you may need to read the previous first.

I have trouble remembering yesterday, let alone three years ago. Consequently I'm not sure whether this was a test shot, or the inspiration itself. What I can tell you is that I realised my Horseman Cable Release was too short for what I wanted to do.

This was definitely a test shot. I like the wind effect. And the shadow. Though in retrospect I'd have shot it with me a couple of feet to the right so the shadow didn't roll over the edge.

This, too, was a test shot. Is it just me, or do you think there's a similarity between the guy in this shot and John Lennon? I don't know what it is, I think it's a combination of the dark glasses (this guy doesn't normally wear them, and gets photographed in them far less frequently than that), the long scraggly hair, and the weirdly chiselled jaw.

Another thing I like about these last two - and the first two of the previous - is that you can't tell I'm holding an extra long pump style cable release. Of course I can't remember who I borrowed it from. I may even have bought it myself, which means it is now lost some place without me. And, just cos I know you're all so interested, we (as in me) continued to get more complicated as we (as in me) refined the process. The last two shots of the previous were made using one of these tricky things that allowed me to get even further from the camera and yet still appear in the photo.

Honestly I'm not a gear geek. I needed it for the job. I truly did.

Friday, 17 August 2007

The Dislocated

A few years ago - this time three years ago to be exact(ish) - a group of us got together to have a show. A group show even. The show was called 'Romance'. It was a take on the New Zealand landscape of the time - social, political, physical etc. It was a great show. It was pushing boundaries in work and presentation.

The exhibition never happened. Thanks to the lack of foresight of certain gallery staff.

Here, however, are some of my test shots for the show. As you can see I went out of my way to get these shots. It was fun. My series was called (dis)location. It was something different from me - personal with an obvious political edge. I think I would like to complete it properly one day.

And here is some of the rubbish I wrote, and stole, at the time.


There are few emotions about places for which adequate single words exist: we have to make awkward piles of words to convey what we felt when watching light fade on an early autumn evening or when encountering a pool of perfectly still water in a clearing.
But at the beginning of the eighteenth century, a word came to prominence with which it became possible to indicate a specific response towards precipices and glaciers, the night skies and boulder-strewn deserts. In their presence, we were likely to experience, and could count on being understood later for reporting that we had felt, a sense of the sublime. (Alain De Botton)

The word itself had originated around AD 200 in a treatise, On the Sublime, ascribed to the Greek author Longinus, though it languished until a retranslation of the essay into English in 1712 renewed intense interest among critics. While the writers differed in their specific analyses of the word, their shared assumptions were more striking. They grouped into a single category a variety of hitherto unconnected landscapes by virtue of their size, emptiness or danger, and argued that such places provoked an identifiable feeling that was both pleasurable and morally good. The value of landscapes was no longer to be decided solely on formal aesthetic criteria (the harmony of colours or arrangement of lines) or on economic or practical concerns, but according to the power of the places to arouse the mind to sublimity. (Alain De Botton)

A way of looking that the European settlers brought to NZ was through the Sublime. The Sublime is a eighteen century art historical term usually used in relation to describing wild and awe-inspiring landscapes. More broadly, it informs an understanding of the inexplicable, particularly upon being confronted with the unfamiliarity with unmapped territory, or with ideas and places to awesome and uncertain to contain. (Dowse Museum)

In his archival photographic project entitled The Homely (1998-2000), Hipkins documented sites of the colonial landscape, confronting definitions of nativeness and homeland.
Many of the photographs in The Homely have their place of origin in domestic settings. But the [subject] also ventures away from the home's safety and moves between the actual landscape and (diorama) depictions of landscape. This blurring of the real and the simulation of the real belongs to a denatured space: the postmodern sublime. Although New Zealand has an international reputation for being "clean, green and beautiful"…it is the treatment and conquest of nature as an adventure playground that interests me with this project. (Letter from Hipkins to Butler, 22 Nov. 1999)

Hipkins interrogates sites of crisis in the culture - where modernity meets its demise. An embedded narrative within The Homely deals with the parallel notions of the wilderness and the landscape, the appropriated and the cultivated, the indigenous and the subsumed. Like the colonial cultures of New Zealand and Australia, whose unruly co-existence of indigenous and settler culture fosters whole academic disciplines such as "settlement studies" … the pictures hover in an uneasy territory between cozy folklore and residual violence. (Cornelia H. Butler)

Where was I? I've been trying to follow the so-called "race debate" back home. Distance lends a certain perspective, as well as an alternative frame for all the angst and aggro. For one thing, there's nothing like being a world away from the landscape of childhood – and dreaming of it every other night -- to reveal a deep and, yes, spiritual relationship to the land, even if you don't think of a given mountain as your actual ancestor. (,


My childhood was spent on the fringes of the bush, with regular forays into the wildness of hills covered in native and exotic trees on the edge of an ever encroaching suburbia. Running through trees, drinking from streams, sliding down steep slopes, getting so dirty it took days to get clean again. Often there were bruises or cuts or twisted ankles, but they were part of the experience of the bush. What developed was a love of, and respect for, ‘nature’ – those places where I could feel little evidence of human interference. There are times I feel spiritually connected with this land; moments when this land adds to my life.

Relationship to the land can be a very personal thing and not necessarily something existing solely based on race or gender or background. (dis)location seeks to comment on relationships and connections to the Land, questions the right to establish such links from my point of view as a Pakeha, while touching on the accepted view of Maori as the guardians of our land.

The traditions in both [Australia and New Zealand] were founded on European exploration and colonisation, coinciding with the rising supremacy of the European landscape tradition. European aesthetic models were applied in both places as a means by which the colonisers could come to terms with an alien environment. The adaptation of an imported vision to local conditions grew to define a nationalistic impulse in both countries in which landscape was position as the major site for the articulation of a national identity. The land in Australia and New Zealand is now, however, a thoroughly contested site, mapped only by complexity and uncertainty. Marked by competing ambition and irreconcilable differences, be they between indigenous and colonising peoples, or industrial expansion and ecological interests, the land no longer speaks the truths it once did. (Home and away : contemporary Australian and New Zealand art from the Chartwell Collection; McAloon, William; p.15)

[T]he New Zealand landscape is a hotly contested site - of physical possession, of naming, mapping and journeying, of warring and of tribal, racial and personal memory. It is, in truth, an occupied zone whose constantly reread and rewritten histories do not lie in quiescent layers but jostle, shift, and thrust, as changing and unstable as the land itself. (Headlands : thinking through New Zealand art; Pitts, Priscilla; p.87)

In New Zealand, the land is perhaps the most charged symbol of contestation, and the notion of wilderness the most pervasive embodiment of the tourist imagination and national identity. ... Maori and Pakeha societies seem to exist in a kind of productive, semi-colonial tolerance of each other, although the question of colonial status is still a point of rigorous debate among those who feel that the colonialization is complete. (Flight patterns; Butler, Cornelia H.; p.66)

Thursday, 16 August 2007

The Tunnel

Monday, 13 August 2007

The Thirty

These were supposed to be posted last Friday, cos on that day someone I know turned thirty. And she told me to post some shots of her as a birthday present. So being the great friend I am, here they are now - just a few days late. I'm sure there are more in my collection somewhere but they can wait for another time.

Happy Birthday B.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

The ...

I'm off to Fielding shortly. Staying up that way until Friday. So for no particular reason here's the public toilet at Shannon.

Monday, 6 August 2007

The Church

Saturday, 4 August 2007

The Hakataramea

Lovely spot. Well worth the detour. Even though it does mean passing through Kurow.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

The Mayonnaise

Life's been rather hectic of late. I spent three weeks producing a shoot, and things haven't really let up much since. It's good financially, not so good when you have other things you need to be spending time on - like exhibitions and so on.

Anyway, after the big job the photographer headed back to Auckland and the assistant and I decided to have a wrap party all of our own. So we did. Here's a shot Joe took on his newly acquired (off the photographer that day) camera at the Southern Cross.

This work thing is tough man.