September 24th, 2016
Report from Stu Sontier at Pingyao International Photography Festival, 2016.
The festival is well under way now and the craziness of hanging and captioning well behind us. This year, John Turner has curated an approx 100 image show of Tom Hutchins work from 1956, and I am here as the PhotoForum representative.
We both arrived on the 17th with the exhibition to open on the 19th. There was no sign of our framed prints so we killed time meeting a local photographer friend of John’s.
The following day we, and our 3 assigned helpers, had to first unpack and then arrange the pictures in order. Then came the task of arranging them on the wall, with less space than we had expected.
We gradually worked our way through a number of problems including missing pictures and reformatting and printing captions, finishing late in the evening. Although without captions on the wall. Throughout the hanging we already had a stream of people coming through, peering closely, taking pictures of the pictures and pictures of us with the pictures, and selfies with the pictures. Pictures of anything it seemed.
The following morning we were treated to what can only be called an extravaganza of Chinese proportions, with huge video displays showing bizarre cartoons for some unknown reason. There were some formal speeches as there are at such things but the main purpose seemed to be to get the foreign photographers out in public and subject them to what they sometimes impose on others. Again we were photographed photographing our peers photographing all manner of subjects and in a sign of the time we were also filmed from above by several drones.
The military, police and swat teams were all out in force but generally used just to keep the photographers under control. After these formalities and another million pictures added to the global stock bank, we came back to our show to interact with the audience.
Pingyao is awe inspiring to say the least, with the work of 200 overseas and 2000 Chinese photographers on show. The visitor number is huge too and an uncountable number are moving through the space, with greater or lesser levels of interest. John has been interviewed numerous times with at least two TV crews being on the list. We’ve also started visiting a few of the many other exhibitions and meeting some of the many local and overseas photographers. That includes the other NZ contingent, who are part of a curated show by Rosanna Raymond and organised by the Auckland Festival of Photography. The show, Ata Te Tangata, showcases Pacific Island photographers with a range of cultural interests. Four of the photographers, and the curator are in Pingyao, and all, with John, participated in the “Dialogue with NZ Curators and Photographers” with a good audience turnout.
The festival continues for another two full days and as a first time visitor, I can recommend attending if you want a mix of culture shock, great food, misinterpreted English and Chinese (learn a little), and an awful lot of photography covering many genres and at many levels, from top local and international names, to outstanding student work.
August 7th, 2016
In this beautiful publication, Peter Alsop celebrates the iconic photography of Whites Aviation.
Hand-coloured New Zealand
The Photographs of Whites Aviation
Author: Peter Alsop
Format: Hardback with jacket
Size: 305 x 276mm
Publication date: November 2016
Publisher: Potton and Burton
Every single photo coloured by hand? Using cotton wool? Yes, such was the era of hand-coloured photography – a painting and photograph in one – the way you got a high-quality colour photo before colour photography became mainstream.
Some of New Zealand’s best hand-coloured photos were produced by Whites Aviation from 1945. For over 40 years, the glorious scenic vistas were a sensation, adorning offices and lounges around the land; patriotic statements within New Zealand’s emerging visual arts. Now, despite massive changes in society and photography, the stunning scenes and subtle tones still enchant, as coveted collectibles; decorations on screen; and as respected pieces of photographic art.
But, until now, the inspirational story has not been told; nor have the full stories of Leo White (company founder); Clyde Stewart (chief photographer and head of colouring); and the mission-critical ‘colouring girls’. Hand-Coloured New Zealand also presents New Zealand’s first published collection of hand-coloured photography, and the most extensive published collection of such photography in the world. MORE
To help the book get off to a good start, a pre-release discount of 20% off and free postage in New Zealand is being offered (Use Coupon code WHITES). Ordering is through the publishers site, and will be dispatched immediately on arrival in October.
To coincide with the publication release, Peter Alsop and Greg Wood have co-directed The Colourist – a charming three minute doco featuring Whites Aviation ‘colourist girl’ Grace Rawson, (now in her eighties). The short film is well worth viewing. You can watch it HERE.
July 18th, 2016
The Black Asterisk Gallery – 10 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland August 3 to 31 2016
After a 40-year absence, the classic Queen Street V8 images, shot in the late 1970s by photographer Murray Cammick are making a return to Auckland at Ponsonby’s The Black Asterisk Gallery from August 3 to August 31. The exhibition will include the classic documentary images that are known, plus photos that have never been seen before of the cars and the people that roamed Auckland’s main street, late at night.
In 1974, while still a student at Elam School of Fine Art, Cammick began photographing people and their V8 cars as they congregated late at night in Auckland’s Queen Street. When the theatre patrons went home, the city’s main street was their place to park-up or cruise.
Cammick spent many weekend nights from 1974 to 1981 photographing the scene. While he documented the V8s, his mode of transport was a diminutive Morris Minor that he hid in a side street. Cammick was a shy and naïve 20 year old when he started this series and revellers would see his SLR camera and hassle him to – “take our photo!” – unaware that they were giving the quiet photographer the opportunity (and images) he was looking for.
In 1977 Cammick and long-time friend Alastair Dougal established RipItUp music magazine. After he photographed concerts for RipItUp he headed for Queen Street – but as the eighties got underway – the Queen Street V8 scene faded. A later photo might be a single car moving through the bleak environment, looking for a scene that is no longer there. The dark, empty street has a character of its own and starts to takeover the images.
When he ended his involvement with RipItUp magazine in 1998, he set out to do a series of photographic exhibitions but was thwarted by the digital takeover of photography and the realisation that key images from his Flash Cars series were missing – last seen in the 1980s. In mid-2014, the missing negatives were found, allowing a comprehensive exhibition to be undertaken. Jenny Tomlin, a specialist in the field of silver gelatin printing has made the new prints for the show.
Cammick’s Queen Street photographs are represented in the Te Papa National Gallery & Museum, Wellington. His photographs have been published in Art at Te Papa (2009), NZ Photography Collected (2015, Te Papa Press), PhotoForum at 40: Counterculture, Clusters, and Debate in New Zealand (2014, Rim Books), Into The Light: A History of New Zealand Photography (2006, Craig Potton Press), and Photo-Forum issue 39 (1977, PhotoForum Inc.)
Flash Cars has been shown at Snaps Gallery, Auckland in 1976 and 1977 and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney in 2015. The photographer’s photos have also appeared in group exhibitions including The Active Eye (Manawatu Art Gallery 1975), Drive (Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth 2000) and History in the Taking: 40 Years of PhotoForum (2014).
The Black Asterisk Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 5pm.
Selective Exposure is a group exhibition, organised by Haruhiko Sameshima, featuring a new generation of contemporary photographers based in New Zealand, Germany and Japan. It features samples of prints from each photographer’s sustained projects. Originally exhibited at Photospace gallery in Wellington in November 2015, the opening at In Situ Photo Project will be the exhibition’s first showing in the South Island.
Including work by Caryline Boreham, Conor Clarke, Peter Evans, Shelley Jacobson, Julius Margan, Asumi Mizuo, Solomon Mortimer, Stephen Roucher, Shigeru Takato and Tim J. Veling, these photographers use analogue film technology to reflect aspects of reality filtered through their own experiences, mediated by the old world photographic process.
The artists in this exhibition have all graduated from New Zealand art schools majoring in photography, within the last 25 years. They then went off to explore such diverse subject matters as steaming towers in the industrial hub of Germany, television news studios from 40 countries and 70 cities, contemporary views of the city rebuilt after destruction by an atomic bomb, and petroleum industry related sites across New Zealand from the perspective of ‘peak oil’. Others travelled to scout for alternative identities in the country’s heartlands, the shifting border between urban and rural in a home suburb or, even closer to home, looking deeply into family and kinship under duress.
The anachronism of using film cameras detaches the images from today’s immediate use-value in that it is, for example, unable to be uploaded instantly to Instagram but it does slow down the process, giving time to contemplate the consequences of image making. The resulting printed photograph will carry that residue of the legacy of veracity, which transcribes the ‘look’ of the world. Accumulation of their selected exposures feeds the artists’ narratives.
This exhibition is a survey of tertiary trained art photographers’ views of where we stand in the global world, staring intently into their individualised evidences of reality. Works here reflect notions of art as social and personal inquiry – seeking to better understand humanity from their chosen environments, and is a record of their experiences within.
6pm, Friday 8th July at the BNZ Centre, 120 Hereford Street, next to Scorpio Bookstore.
Show runs until 5th August
Open daily, 10am – 5pm
– 11 July 2016: In Conversation – Haruhiko Sameshima, Mark Adams, Tim J. Veling, Hannah Wilson. Following the discussion there will be a film screening of ‘Pictures on Paper – Photobooks in New Zealand’ produced by Tangent NZ Photography Collective.
Full details at https://www.facebook.com/events/580140728813539/
May 23rd, 2016
Participation in the Head On Photo Festival has been a significant career boost, says Auckland artist Cathy Carter.
A finalist in the portrait section two years running, Carter says the judges’ feedback as well as the workshops and professional collaboration associated with the Sydney-based festival has been valuable.
The artist says that the festival offered significant exposure for new work. Work by last year’s finalists toured to New York’s Photoville in Brooklyn, and Hyderabad, India, as well as exhibiting in Sydney.
Carter was one of two Kiwi finalists in this year’s Head On portrait prize with her work ‘Ophelia’. An exhibition of finalists work is exhibiting at the Museum of Sydney (until May 29, 2016). The other Kiwi finalist is Catherine Cattanach. Carter’s work Idya #2 was a finalist in last year’s Head On portrait prize.
“It’s great to be in the company of such strong and interesting work,” she says.
On the back of last year’s Brooklyn, New York show, Carter is the sole Kiwi in a group show upcoming at New York’s Agora Gallery, featuring artists from Australasia.
‘Out from Downunder & Beyond: Fine Art from Australia and New Zealand’ opens at Agora’s Chelsea gallery on May 26 and runs May 20 – June 9, 2016. Her work will also be on show in Paris in June at the MoaRoom. This show arose from Roderick Fry of Moaroom seeing Carter’s work chosen as a finalist in the Head On Portrait prize 2015.
“There’s no doubt that being part of the Head On Festival has paid dividends,” she says. “Competitions and festivals are a great way to put forward new work and share in a global conversation in the medium.”
Carter’s practice is based in Grey Lynn in Auckland. She was a 2014 Wallace Awards finalist and has twice been a finalist for the Glaistor Enor Award.
Head On Photography Festival 2016
This portrait Ophelia is inspired by pre Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais’ famous depiction of the drowned Ophelia, Hamlet’s lover from Shakespeare’s tragedy. At the original painting’s debut at the Royal Academy in London in 1852, critics were dismayed. The Times declared that “there must be something strangely perverse in the imagination which sources Ophelia in a weedy ditch, and robs the drowning struggle of that love-lorn maiden of all pathos and beauty”. Carter’s Ophelia is a contemporary young male, semi submerged in a setting as likely to have upset The Times – an alpine bog on Mt Ruapehu in the Tongariro World Heritage Park in the central North Island of Aotearoa / New Zealand. This bog was formed in land planed and hollowed out by glacier ice. This alpine wetland hosts alpine bog cushion (Donatia novae-zelandiae), containing rushes, liverworts, sedges, mosses (including peat-forming Sphagnum) and algae.
Even though both images were created in winter. Millais’ model the 19 year old Elizabeth Siddell, posed for hrs in a tub that initially was warmed by oil lamps underneath it . However when these went out Elizabeth was left lying for in freezing cold water resulting in a cold. Thanks to the immediacy of photography 22 yr old art student Ziggy Lever only had to lie in the near freezing bog for a few minutes!
In choosing to portray Ophelia as a male I was also referencing the theatrical convention of Shakespeare’s time, namely that he would have written the part of Ophelia to be played by a young man. Finally, Ophelia is thought to have taken her own life. Aotearoa/ New Zealand ‘has the second highest rate of youth suicide in the OECD and young Maori men continue to be disproportionately represented in statistics”. Just as Ophelia’s departure was shrouded in mystery, so very little is understood about why teenage boys and young men take their lives in such numbers, and very little effort has been made to understand this alarming trend. Some psychologists attribute this trend to young males’ perception of how they are seen as males in contemporary culture.
Image: Ophelia (Head On Portait Prize 2016)
Medium: archival print on Hahnemuhle photo rag 310gsm
Size: 950 x 640mm
May 23rd, 2016
BARE TRUTH – Ilan Wittenberg
5-22 June 2016
Norman King Square
Ernie Mays Street – Northcote Shopping Centre
Open daily 10am -4pm
One of the key aims of Wittenberg’s ‘Bare Truth’ campaign was to counter-balance the portrayal of men as strong, physically and emotionally. “This stereotype sometime leads to dire outcomes when considering how poorly typical men treat health symptoms such as depression, stress and anxiety,” he says.
“I wanted to raise awareness; give men the freedom to express their feelings and connect with their emotions. This fresh look at men is an eye-opening opportunity to see real people without the ‘shield’ of clothes. The project simply reminds us of how fragile we are.”
The combination of shooting in monochrome, using soft, directional light and adopting a special post-processing technique allowed Wittenberg to enhance the features of his ‘models’ so that the images are raw and crisp. The simple backgrounds eliminate distractions so the viewer can focus on their body language and facial expression.
The biggest challenge was finding the first man to agree to pose. After a few rejections, Wittenberg created portraits of close friends and family members. As the portfolio expanded, he formalised a consistent style and became confident in approaching strangers – men who had an interesting appearance or whose face told a story.
“While some men are very comfortable with having their portrait created, others feel this is completely outside their comfort zone, particularly when asked to strip down to the waist. One man expected the experience to be therapeutic while others were slightly nervous. The results show a captivating mix of men that are humble, courageous and vulnerable.”
The project gained momentum after selected prints from the body of work won awards in the Portrait Classic category of the 2015 Iris Awards from the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography. ‘Bare Truth’ was also selected as an Associated Exhibition at the 2016 Head On photo festival in Sydney.
About the photographer:
Having studied and worked in industrial engineering and information technology, Ilan Wittenberg is a relative newcomer to professional photography, only starting his journey in 2011. But his talents were quickly recognised, winning him a plethora of national and international awards. Ilan is a Fellow of the Photographic Society of New Zealand and a Master of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography. Selected works from the Bare Truth portfolio won Ilan the title: 2015 Auckland Photographer of the Year
April 20th, 2016
In March 2016, they visited New Zealand and while here conducted two intensive photography workshops, gave a free public talk and also found time to participate in the inaugural Photobook New Zealand Book Fair.
Below are two articles written by Michael, that he kindly offered for sharing to our PhotoForum readers.
April 20th, 2016
Red Earth Reconnaissance – Emil McAvoy
23 April – 4 June 2016
Saturday 23 April, 10:30am – 2pm: Opening and combined Artist Talk – with Dawson Clutterbuck.
Papakura Art Gallery
10 Averill St, Papakura, Auckland
Hours: Mon to Fri, 9am – 5pm, Sat 10am – 2pm
‘Red Earth Reconnaissance’ is a botanical survey of the Papakura area beginning at the site of the Papakura Art Gallery and travelling outwards. ‘Red earth’ references the Maori name Papakura, and its soil rich in iron oxides. The botanical specimens come from and are connected to this fertile ground. The project aims to document and reframe fragments of the unique ecology of Papakura, toward a partial and poetic guide to this place and its peoples.
http://emilmcavoy.com/peoplespark/ – a recent photographic project by McAvoy, exploring an environment similarly unfamiliar to him.
Gallery Public Programme:
Wed 11 May, 10.30 – 12pm. Flowers for the Home Workshop
Dawson Clutterbuck and Emil McAvoy will lead a workshop introducing the mechanics of floral arrangements. This workshop will be hands on and interactive. Please bring some flowers, greenery or containers to contribute on the day. Limited spaces available. Please contact the gallery to register. email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: (09) 297 7510
April 20th, 2016
From Guangdong to Aotearoa – Sue Gee
5 Feb 2016 to 1 May 2016
J.T. Diamond Reading Room & Gallery, Level 2, Waitakere Central Library,
3 Ratanui St, Henderson, Auckland
Hours: Mon to Fri: 9am – 5.30pm (Thurs open til 7pm), Sat and Sun: 10am – 4pm
Parking: Alderman Drive car park – 2hrs free.
Walk across the bridge into Trading Place and the steps going up to the library are straight ahead.
This exhibition uses images, sound-bites and text to trace the journey of six New Zealand born Chinese as they trace their ancestral roots back to Guangdong, South China.
Six remarkable NZBC (New Zealand Born Chinese) talk about their lives.
Born in Eketahuna, Rotorua, Tamaki Makauru & Manaia, Taranki, they trace their ancestral roots to Guangdong, South China, previously known as Canton Province. Sound bites, written excerpts & photographs reveal fascinating insights into a cultural group once described as “The fearful race“.
‘The oral history project From Guandgong to Aotearoa came about through my wish to know more of my ancestral heritage. My mother and father, Lily and Jack, were born in Opunake and Manaia, in Taranaki. As young people, they left Aotearoa NZ to spend several years in their Cantonese villages, learning to speak Chinese, and something of our Chinese customs. I never asked them questions about their time in Guangdong and after they died, deeply regretted it.
The exhibition was initiated by and created with tautoko – support – of the people at the West Auckland Research Centre, WARC.
The interviewees are Connie Kum, Suzanne Chan On, Gillian Young, Watson Kitt, Lily Lee and Elsie Wong.
I’ll be in the gallery from 2-4pm on Saturday 30th April, also from 2-4pm on the 1st of May. Do come. See / hear the work, and join us for a cup of Chinese tea.’
05/02/16 news photo. Simon Smith/Fairfax NZ.
The launch of the oral history exhibition From Guangdong to Aotearoa by Sue Gee, on display at Waitakere Central Library, Henderson, Auckland.
From left: (back row) Gillian Yang, Lily Lee, project manager Liz Bradley and Suzanne Chan On, (front row) Elsie Wong, project interviewer Sue Gee, and Connie Kum.