Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009


I found my London series of photographs on the PhotoForum website the other day. I had almost forgotten that they have been archived there. I submitted the work to the up:date// The Active Eye photography survey, not long after returning to NZ after nearly a decade in London. This series of work was submitted for my BA examination when I was studying at the London College of Communication. I can't seem to link to my page, but by clicking on search, artists or categories can be found. A friend helped with the Photoshop, and it is much more crunchy than my personal aesthetic. I avoid the unsharp mask.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Government Gardens

Government Gardens, as seen in the Elam installation shot I posted earlier in the week. I'm about to leave on a photographic trip now; no internet where I'm going so next post will be on Tuesday when I get back.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Anzac Valley

And this is the promo shot on the George Fraser Gallery website.

Outside #2

The image I wanted to post yesterday. (Click on image to enlarge.) This was last year when our river flooded. I think it's the third or fourth time that water has run through the playhouse over the last few years - I guess we should move it. Would quite like to keep chickens in it sometime.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I cannot post any photographs from the pc I am working on today, which is getting increasingly frustrating. I will however provide a link to the George Fraser Gallery, where I am having a show with Tabatha Forbes mid-May. Will post some images when I can.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I was alerted the other day that some of my work is amongst that featured on the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries (NICAI) website. It is included in the Elam Open Days 2008 Showcase, which is well worth a look.

The large work, Tarawera,is about to be split between family members. The image on the left is titled Government Gardens and is a photograph of the fence that runs along the gardens in central Rotorua. I will post a clearer version of this image later in the week. This image is approximately 840mm x 1200mm, and Tarawera is close to four times this size.

Monday, April 6, 2009

My Brother's War

Saw Jessica Hines speak to a room full of photographers this morning about her body of work My Brother's War. She is a great speaker. I am hoping she will inspire more of the students to make work in areas of deep and personal interest, rather than adopting recent visual trends from overseas, which seems to happen at times and can lead to work that is difficult to engage with.

Jessica talked of travelling to the house where her brother died for the first time to take photographs for My Brother's War, which exactly parallels my experience. I had never been to the house where my brother took his own life until I was compelled to for my project, nor had I been (or even really known) where his ashes were scattered.

When The Shore was first exhibited at Artstation I was moved at the way my work encouraged others to tell their stories. A woman talked to me about her adult schizophrenic son and the pain he suffers, and some of the difficulties of living with mental illness. Others talked of visiting relatives in Carrington Hospital, as I had.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Shore

In 2004 I made a series of work about the loss of Ian, my brother. This image is titled Westlake Boys High School and was one of a series of seven framed 16" x 20" handprints. When I first showed The Shore at Artstation in Ponsonby I had the text enlarged to AO, and hung the seven black-framed images close together in a line. The text and images can be found on the Matakana Pictures website which is still up and running, though unfortunately the gallery is not.

Prix Pictet Statement

The Kahikatea Series is a suite of photographs taken over a two-year period that focuses on land-use issues in the Waikato and environs, and specifically in relation to the depletion of the kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides). Key themes include landscape as a history of ecological disruption; the loss of biological complexity and of habitats; and landscape as primarily marked by absence.

As a species Dacrycarpus dacrydioides is older than the hills; it has been discovered in the fossil record to date from Gondwanan times. In the words of New Zealand ecologist and historian Geoff Park:

Kahikatea is the supreme survivor. The fruit basket of the forest, revered by Maori hunters and modern conservationists for its attractiveness to birds, connects us to a birdless, flowerless world in which huge ammonites stalked the sea-floor and pterodactyls the air. … Kahikatea persists from an old, swampy, worn-down archipelago, utterly different from the cool, young, mountainous New Zealand of today. You can’t find it in the hills, but it only prospers in the swamps, and it would vanish without them. (1)

The kahikatea was formally one of New Zealand’s commonest native trees, but timber milling, land clearance, and swamp draining have greatly reduced its habitats. The tree was one of the most revered in the Maori landscape. They were valued for their wood and fruit, and used in rituals of conception and of death. When an auspicious child’s umbilical cord, iho, was buried in a sacred place, it was commonly beneath or on a kahikatea. The very tall canopies were used as places to safely secret the bones of the dead, hidden amongst the clumps of tangled epiphytic plants.

Intensive dairy farming is now the primary industry of the Waikato’s Hauraki Plains, and the negligence of sustainable agricultural practices has caused run-off and mineral exhaustion, causing degradation of the soil, once enviably rich due to the presence of the immense trees.

My photographs cannot necessarily be read or understood at one glance, but they are intended to reveal themselves slowly and possibly in contradictory ways. These landscapes I am portraying are familiar and may appear banal to many New Zealanders: in photographing sites that have been destroyed by clearance, settlement and intensive agricultural practices, I hope to raise awareness of these issues and help contribute to forestalling future losses.

(1) Park, Geoff. Nga Uruora: Ecology and History in a New Zealand Landscape. Wellington: Victoria University Press. p. 36

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Kahikatea (bones)

This is the last of six images from my Kahikatea Series, however, not in any particular, (or indeed correct), order. More about this tomorrow.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Kahikatea (vestige)

This is one of a series of six images I am submitting to the Prix Pictet competition. John Turner nominated me for my Kahikatea series: "Landscape as a History of Ecological Disruption". The theme this year is Earth.