Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long. -- Walker Evans

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2011 World Press Photo Exhibition Auckland City

15 SEPT - 9 OCT
The World Press Photo Exhibition is the world’s most prestigious exhibition of international current affairs photography. It is a public showcase of photojournalism featuring award-winning images.

'Through gripping images, stories from the year's biggest and most memorable world events evoke the full breadth of raw emotion.

'It is the only international event of this stature, not simply bringing together pictures from all parts of the globe but also reflecting trends and developments in photojournalism, and revealing how the press gives us the news. [Read more...]

Tickets $5
15th Sept - 9th Oct 2011
The Nathan Club, 40 Customs St East, Britomart

Monday, September 12, 2011

NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year Competition Criteria

Richard Smallfield: Climbing Pakiri Hill
As a photographer whose work involves a documentary approach to landscape, I thought that the NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year  Competition would be right up my alley.

I prepared six photos for the photo-story category. Then I reread the competition rules:

Entries ... must not have been manipulated in any way other than global colour and exposure adjustments considered standard in RAW processing. Focus and exposure stacking, HDR, and stitched panoramas are allowed, but discretion is expected. 
Since when have local adjustments, in particular in landscape photography, been unacceptable? Dodging and Burning in the darkroom, or Layer Masks in Photoshop, have always been part of doing a professional job.

I have never exhibited a print that has not had local adjustments, so am excluded from the competition: images such as 
Climbing Pakiri HIll would not be allowed, because each part of the image was subtly, but separately, adjusted.

Under the 'Landscape' heading, NZ Geographic states: 'The judges will be looking for attention to light and drama.'

If they want drama, then they are looking for an idealised image, not an authentic one. So why do they rule out local adjustments – when all the photographer is aiming for is to get the best out of the image?

In my prints I try to present an authentic account of the mood of the location. Local adjustments are generally subtle enough that even a trained eye might struggle to notice them. So even though I aim for an authentic result, I'm disqualified.

HDR (that mother of a million abominations) is allowed. In effect, it could be considered akin to local adjustment, as bracketed exposures are merged into the various parts of the dynamic (brightness) range of the final image.

I wouldn't mind betting that whoever wins will have made local adjustments, but kept quiet about it.

Surely what matters is authenticity, regardless of how it is achieved.

I hope that the organisers read this and consider amending the criteria next year. 

Gallery 36: a Kiwi arts e-zine

From Gallery 36: Gallery36 is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to showcasing emerging artists and photographers from around New Zealand and now also Kiwi emerging artists and photographers working internationally.

The quarterly e-zine offers an opportunity for exposure for those still finding their feet in their career who are passionate about art and photography and the role it plays in our society and culture. Gallery36 is dedicated to providing like-minded people with profiles of emerging artists and photographers they will love to read about, packaged up in an easily accessible format that supports our planet by saving trees.

Here at Gallery36 we want YOU to be profiled. Say what your work is about, what your passion is, and/or what influence you want to leave behind. This is your opportunity to be showcased and put yourself out there!
 [Read more...]

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Currently Showing in Auckland ...

There are some great photography exhibitions on in Auckland at present, that make it well worth a trip down the motorway. From the Photoforum Blog:

Jin Jiangbo: Dialogue with Nature, 20 August-17 September 2011. Starkwhite Gallery, 510 Karangahape Road, Auckland, New Zealand. Ph 09 307 0703.

From Prague to Auckland: the photographs of Frank Hofmann (1916-89), Gus Fisher Gallery, 26 August-29 October 2011.
Liyen Chong: Of Positions and half Positions having several marks at once, Gus Fisher Gallery, 26 August-29 October 2011.
Gus Fisher Gallery, Kenneth Myers Centre, 74 Shortland Street, Auckland,
Tuesday - Friday 10am - 5pm Saturday 12pm-4pm. Closed Public Holidays. Phone: 09 923 6646.

Peter Gibson-Smith: Wasteland, Bath Street Gallery, to 10 September 2011, 43 Bath Street, Parnell, Auckland. Gallery hours: Tues/Fri 10.00am-5.30pm, Sat ph 09 377 5171.

Roberta Thornley: Anthem, 6 September to 1 October 2011. Tim Melville Gallery, 11 McColl Street, Newmarket, Auckland. Phone: 09 520-5891. Tuesday - Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 11am - 3pm, or by appointment.

Alfred Gregory: From Everest To Blackpool, Webb's, 18 Manukau Road, Newmarket, Auckland. 2 Sept-Sun 11 September 2011. Hours 9:00am to 5:30pm Mon to Fri, and Sat and Sun - as advertised for viewings. Ph: 09 524 6804.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Jin Jiangbo: Dialogue with Nature, Starkwhite Gallery

From Starkwhite Gallery: Jin Jiangbo: Dialogue with Nature; 20 August–17 September 2011.

Previous to the new body of work featured in Dialogue with Nature, Jin Jiangbo became known to international contemporary art audiences through a practice that sought to not only chart China's growing global influence but also explore the impact of change upon both the urban landscape and its people. At a time of immense economic, social and cultural shift, Jin Jiangbo's photography, installation and multimedia works capture this momentous transition while also highlighting the incongruities hidden behind the rise of a burgeoning superpower. Panoramic photos of abandoned factories, unfinished residences or the debris left by rapid and often overnight factory closures bear witness to China's economic miracle, but also the withdrawal and decay that too-hasty development can inflict. In his photographs the urban landscape becomes a social imprint of the powerful and spectacular transformation wrought by and upon contemporary China. It is not just scenery but social landscape the artist is delivering – vivid, telling and richly symbolic.

New Zealand audiences were introduced to Jin Jiangbo's work at New Plymouth's Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in 2009 in China in Four Seasons, a year-long suite of exhibitions and residencies by Chinese artists curated by Rhana Devenport. His exhibition featured large-scale photographic panoramas from series titled Prospects of the Chinese Market, The Great Economic Retreat: The Dongguan Scene, and Shanghai, Shanghai Engine Plan, all setting China's socialist economic landscape against a backdrop of economic, social and cultural upheaval.
[Read more...]

Jin Jiangbo's Photoforum portfolio

510 Karangahape Road
New Zealand
Tel. +64 9 3070703

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dinh Q. Le: Erasure, 2011

From Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney: Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) presents Erasure, a newly commissioned work by Vietnamese artist Dinh Q. Lè – an interactive sculptural and video installation that draws on recent debates in Australia concerning refugees and asylum seekers.

The darkened gallery space will be dominated by a 
floor-to-ceiling moving image of an 18th century tall ship beached on an isolated coastline slowly being consumed by flames. The gallery floor will be strewn with small islands of debris – discarded clothing and wooden fragments. Amid the destruction will be thousands of small black and white photographs  self-portraits, family and passport photos – which Dinh spent years buying in second-hand stores in the hope of finding his own family's pictures. [Read more...]

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fiona Pardington: The Pressure of Sunlight Falling

From Otago University Press: European explorers of the Pacific in the 18th and early 19th centuries faced a problem – how to describe the people they met and report what they had seen and found. From Cook onwards, any serious expedition included artists and scientists in its ship's company.

An ambitious journey of the 19th century was the third voyage of the French explorer Dumont d'Urville, from 1837 to 1840. It was just before the invention of photography, when phrenology, the study of people's skulls, was the latest thing. D'Urville chose to take on the voyage an eminent phrenologist, Pierre-Marie Dumoutier, to preserve likenesses of people by making life casts. When the expedition returned to France, the casts were displayed, and later stored in the Musée de l'Homme in Paris, to be joined eventually by other casts from Dumoutier's collection, including those of the d'Urville and Dumoutier families. All were overtaken by photography and history.

Fiona Pardington first learnt of the life casts in 2007, when a chance conversation initiated a four-year project. It took her from Auckland to the Musée de l'Homme, as she researched and photographed some of more than fifty casts of Maori, Pacific and European heads, including casts of her Ngai Tahu ancestors. This book publishes these photographs and coincides with the opening of a major travelling exhibition.
 [Read more...]

Available at

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cultural Icons: Conversations with People

From the Cultural Icons website: The Depot's Cultural Icons project celebrates people who have contributed significantly to New Zealand's creative landscape. It is a series of recorded interviews and programmes whose aim is to share the histories, stories and experiences of some of our most significant visual artists, architects, publishers, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians, arts commentators and philanthropists. [Read more...]

There is a 
directory page of recorded interviews.

Photographer John Miller is a recent interviewee.
 He started in documentary photography with the 1967 anti-Vietnam War protests and has continued to photograph protest since then. He has won the Media Peace Price Lifetime Award and the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award.

Arts Foundation has a biographical page on John Miller and there is a lengthy autobiographical piece on the photoforum nz website.