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: email@example.com 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.
March 3rd, 2016
LIGHTFALL in passing
Real pictures revisited
Michael Smythe reckons Cibachrome prints are real pictures with extra qualities that do not carry through to digitisation. That’s why he is re-framing and re-exhibiting the images first shown at Real Pictures Gallery 32 years ago back when it was in His Majesty’s Arcade.
Smythe did not set out to be an exhibiting photographer. He took to the camera when he realised his design practice was not challenging his creativity at its outer limits (because his clients and/or their customers were not demanding enough). He needed a personal pursuit which did not require the scrutiny and evaluation of anyone but himself.
Experiments with photography found direction in his twin brother’s VW Beetle as it hurtled along the road to Gundagai in 1981. With no time to stop on this Sydney to Melbourne road trip Smythe began snapping the passing scenery from the passenger seat. One shot stood out. The distant desolate landscape was stark and sharp against a leaden sky while the foreground could best be described as a green-brown scribble. That shot set him off on a quest to document the elusive landscape as we usually experience it — in passing.
Many attempts followed but he found the results unsatisfying, until one evening in 1984. He was in the back seat of a client’s Holden Commodore speeding home from a Taupo site visit (with another designforces partner in the front). Between Meremere and Mercer the late afternoon light was bouncing off the Waikato River and flashing through the trees. Smythe wound down the window, set a slow exposure and worked his way intuitively through his two remaining rolls of Ektachrome slide film.
The results left him gobsmacked. The eerie imagery and extraordinary strike-rate left him feeling more like a midwife than an artist. Although exhibiting had never been part of his photographic plan it seemed that the next phase in his own exploration had to involve printing, framing and contemplating the best shots as a group.
Motion Pictures ran at Real Pictures Gallery from 17 September to 5 October 1984. The Cibachrome prints — with their multi-layered emulsions — added an extra level of enrichment. Three or four prints sold. And that was it. All further efforts to capture anything like the same energy and atmosphere have fallen short. The designer /artist has moved on.
Smythe is re-presenting the Real Pictures Cibachrome prints in an exhibition entitled LIGHTFALL in passing at Blikfang art & antiques, Northcote Point, running from 4 March to 16 April.
FOOTNOTE: Earlier in 1984 Michael Smythe had stood as the Labour candidate in the East Coast Bays seat. Most non-Nats voted for Gary Knapp (Social Credit) to stop Murray McCully from winning the seat. But Smythe did beat New Zealand Party candidate David Phillips — the property developer who, four years later, demolished His Majesty’s Theatre, paved paradise and put in a parking lot.
January 26th, 2016
UK photographer Justin Quinnell is giving an illustrated lecture on pinhole photography and camera obscuras as part of his travels through New Zealand and Hong Kong. The talks are open to the public and mostly free. Schedule of dates & venues are listed below. For further information visit Justin’s website at www.pinholephotography.org
The Pinhole – from Aristotle to the Selfie stick’
New Zealand – Hong Kong Pinhole Lecture Tour – March 9th – April 2nd, 2016
Tuesday 22nd March – Auckland
PhotoForum event held at MTG RM
2 Kingsland Tce, Kingsland
All welcome to our free event – as seating is limited please register HERE to reserve your place.
Please direct all bookings & enquiries for this Auckland event to PhotoForum.
January 18th, 2016
Here’s the latest update from Photobook New Zealand as they progress toward their inaugural event in Wellington from 11 – 13 March 2016:
Spaces at the book fair are nearly full with a great range of independent photographers, distributors and small presses. Among the many books we’re looking forward to is Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation published by Victoria University Press in association with Baker + Douglas – look out for it at the Baker + Douglas table.
Special photobook exhibitions
As well as a special display of books from the Asia Pacific Photobook Archive and Shelley Jacobson’s Open Book exhibition, we’re pleased to be showing photobooks from Mexico.
The Mexican photobook collection presents a range of vibrant contemporary publications, featuring some of the most renowned photographers in Mexico. The collection is an initiative of Ana Paula Estrada, a Mexican photographer who lives and works in Brisbane.
Mexican photobook: Mariela Sancar, Moises, Publisher: La Fábrica/Hydra, México, 2015
Our programme should be available online around the end of January. In the meantime, here’s some new items.
On Sunday 13 March, there are two exciting panel discussions:
Getting your photobook into the world 9. 30– 10.30am
What does it take to give your photobook legs? As the world of photobooks expands, so do the strategies for distribution. This panel brings together three outstanding practitioners who are working hard to shift books locally and internationally.
Harvey Benge – Internationally published photobook author
Bruce Connew – Social and political documentary photographer and bookmaker
Anita Tótha – Director of Remote Photobooks, NZ photobook distributors
Chair: David Cook – photographer, bookmaker, Massey University lecturer
Designing the perfect Photobook 12.15 – 1.15pm
How do designers and photographers work together to make strong photobooks? Three of New Zealand’s leading photobook designers (with enough awards between them to sink a flotilla) discuss the language of the photobook, materiality and the emergent e-book.
Catherine Griffiths – Independent designer and typographer
Neil Pardington – Photographer and Base Two creative director
Jonty Valentine – Graphic designer and co-producer of The National Grid
Chair – Libby Jeffery, Marketing Manager, Momento Pro
Combined with photobooks from our book fair of independent photographers, distributors and small presses, there’s going to be so much interesting work see – can’t wait to see you there!
December 15th, 2015
The expert photography, publishing, design panel for the New Zealand Photobook of the Year has now been announced. The panel is:
Harvey Benge, photographer, publisher
Paul McNamara, Director of McNamara Gallery Photography
Geoffrey H Short, Director PhotoForum NZ
Anna Brown, Director of Open Lab, Massey University.
There’s cash and credit prizes valued at $10,500 to be won across in three categories:
Self published Photobook of the Year
Trade published Photobook of the Year
People’s choice Photobook of the Year
Entry is free and for those printing their entry with Momento Pro there’s a 40% discount on book prints
Entries close 8 Feb 2016.
All you need is a print photobook published in the last two years …
Book your space at Photobook New Zealand
One of the highlights of Photobook New Zealand will be the bookfair, starting at the launch party on Friday 11 March 2016 and continuing on Saturday 12 March.
The book fair is a great opportunity to showcase your publications – print or electronic – to a wide range of interested people, make sales and network with others. We want to show a wide range of excellent, innovative New Zealand and international photobook publishing, and welcome bookings and inquiries.
To answer a question we were asked recently – it’s also fine to book a space just to show your work, rather than sell it.
There are flexible options for configuring spaces and we’ve done our best to keep prices affordable.
Bookings close on 14 February 2016 or when all spaces are booked. Spaces are filling, so don’t delay.
The Photobook New Zealand team was delighted to learn that we’ve received a Creative New Zealand grant for our event. Combined with our generous sponsorship from Momento Pro and funding from our wonderful Boosted supporters, we have the budget to realise New Zealand’s first Photobook event as we intend it. We’re looking forward to sharing the awards, the bookfair and the great programme of speakers and panels with you, and others interested in the arts.
If you know anyone or any organisation who’d be interested in entering the awards, being part of the book fair or just coming to the event, please share this information.
Momento Pro is the sponsor of the New Zealand Photobook of the Year Awards and Photobook New Zealand