Interviews with photographers, photojournalists, cool photography links and other stuff

May 22, 2015

Friday Round Up - 22 May, 2015

This week on Friday Round Up Part One of the Auckland Festival of Photography coverage. Next week Alison Stieven-Taylor reports live from the Festival's opening. This week features four exhibitions from the Signature Series plus an interview with the 2015 Auckland Festival of Photography Commissioned Artist, PJ Paterson.

Truth and Fiction
Auckland Festival of Photography 

28 May to 20 June

The 12th edition of the Auckland Festival of Photography focuses on the theme – Truth and Fiction. In the Signature Series Exhibitions a number of local artists showcase their work along with selected international guests. Here’s a snapshot of what’s on offer- Part One.

PJ Paterson: 2015 Commissioned Artist

Read the interview with PJ Paterson about his new series (above) at the end of this week's post.


Maria Kapajeva – Interiors

This series by Russian artist Maria Kapajeva comprises digitally manipulated collage artworks that use found photographs. In Kapajeva’s artworks we see Russian women in their domestic environment adopting the poses that Western mass media use to exemplify female sexuality. This commentary on the clash of cultures and the labelling of women builds on Kapajeva’s body of work that focuses on women’s issues in contemporary society and the cultural and social stereotypes that are perpetuated by the mass media. 

Until 17 June
Silo Park
Wynyard Quarter

Jae Hoon Lee – Omnipresent 

A self-proclaimed cultural wanderer, New Zealand based Jae Hoon Lee, who is originally from Seoul, showcases his work Omnipresent in this year’s Signature Series. 

Omnipresent is an artistic departure for Lee and is the result of a six-month residency in 2014 at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York. By layering original photographs taken across multiple occasions and locales, Lee weaves fragmentary images into dense, digital compositions. Elusively hyper-real, Lee’s landscapes build a technologically amplified version of the world around him.

Lee calls his practice of stitching multiple photographs together to create a single work, ‘time-based’. His intention here is to envelop multiple moments within these mural-scale images creating an artwork that moves the viewer beyond reality and into the realm of the surreal. 

Until 20 June
Trish Clark Gallery
1 Bowen Avenue

Lay of the Land – Group Show

(C) Conor Findlay

Featuring 11 New Zealand photographers this group show explores the urban expansion and transformation of Auckland. Curator Anita Totha is a Hungarian-American photographer originally from New York. Currenlty based in Auckland she is a co-founder of Tangent, a contemporary photography collective.

Totha says this exhibition draws on the 1975 seminal exhibition “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape” which featured photographers such as Stephen Shore, Lewis Baltz and Robert Adams and documented the urban sprawl of America.

In Lay of the Land Auckland’s growing metropolis comes under the spotlight to explore what Totha says are “overlooked areas of change thought to be mundane and normal; the land our homes are built on, our daily commute on the thoroughfares in and out of the city, the reserves and natural areas on our doorstep”. What Baltz labelled “the places where the future hangs in question”. 

(C) Allan McDonald

(C) Allan McDonald

(C) Anton Maurer

(C) Anton Maurer

(C) Conor Findlay

(C) David Cowlard

(C) David Cowlard

(C) Derek Henderson

(C) Dieneke Jansen

(C) Dieneke Jansen

(C) Peter Evans

(C) Sean Atavenitia

(C) Sean Atavenitia

(C) Solomon Mortimer

(C) Solomon Mortimer

“The city’s landscape as we know it today is changing. The photography and moving image included in this exhibition takes a deeper look at the ever-changing state of our urban environment, the conversion of communities, the vanishing natural and topographic landscape and the imminent changes that lie ahead,” says Totha.

Sean Atavenitia | David Cowlard | Peter Evans | Conor Findlay | John Haydn | Derek Henderson | Dieneke Jansen | Anton Maurer | Allan McDonald | Solomon Mortimer | Talia Smith |

Until 13 June
Papakura Art Gallery
10 Averill Street

Anne Noble – No Vertical Song

Anne Noble’s exhibition No Vertical Song comprises 15 portraits of dead bees. But this exhibition is more than a microscopic view of the Apis in rigor; it is a commentary on our relationship with the natural world and explores the notion of a time when the bee may be extinct. Noble is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated photographers. This year Noble was given the Overseas Photographer Award in the 31st Higashikawa Awards in Japan.

Until 4 July
Two Rooms
16 Putiki Street
Newton, Auckland

PJ Paterson - 2015 Commissioned Artist 
talks to Alison Stieven-Taylor

From the new series commissioned by the Auckland Festival of Photography - 
the remaining images will be revealed at the Festival's opening on Thursday 28th May. 

New Zealand artist PJ Paterson’s images comprise multiple layers where sweeping landscapes are juxtaposed with the trappings of a consumerist society to create surreal environments. His melding of fact and fantasy taps in beautifully to this year’s Auckland Festival of Photography theme – Truth and Fiction - so it is no surprise that when the Festival was searching for the 2015 commissioned artist, Paterson’s work fell under the judges’ gaze.

“This is my first public commission, it’s awesome, “ says Paterson. “Working with the Festival’s theme of Truth and Fiction meant the brief was very broad and wasn’t beyond my normal scope…my work is highly manipulated, it’s not a real representation of what I see, but rather what I feel.”

To demonstrate, Paterson refers to the image where thousands of bicycles reach to a brooding horizon. “When I was in Amsterdam there were bicycles everywhere. It’s overwhelming how many bikes are on the streets, but taking a single image doesn’t convey that sense, that feeling. In this image I am recreating the impression that all these bikes had on me, that idea that there are thousands and they go on forever to fill the landscape”.

This train of thought is also evident in Paterson’s other images where junkyard cars and engines flood picturesque valleys creating a metaphor for the waste generated in our cities. He says that initially it wasn’t his intention to make comment on the consumerist nature of society, and its environmental impact, but that is what many people believe is his aim.

“I’m not really trying to convey a message or a belief of mine, but it is amazing just how much stuff we make and buy and throwaway. There’s a kind of beauty to it, like there is with images of derelict buildings. There’s something cool about it, they look amazing even though it’s someone’s hurt. There’s kind of a voyeurism to it rather than being right in it.”

Paterson tells that he came to photography through painting after a life changing experience led him to follow his artistic heart. This former electrician is now carving a name in the art world and making a living from his passion with his unique canvases and limited photographic series. Sold exclusively through Sanderson Contemporary Art gallery in Auckland, Paterson’s photographs are available in editions of only three increasing the cachet for collectors. 

Initially Paterson used photography as part of his painting practice, photographing subjects that he would then interpret on canvas. Now he works across both mediums dedicating himself to one stream at a time depending on inspiration. Recently he’s been selling as many photographs as paintings, which he says is a shift. “I think there’s been a bit of a stigma around photography as art because so many people think they can take a great photo, but attitudes are starting to change”.

To fulfill the Festival commission Paterson has created five new works that deal with urban-scapes and feature images he shot in Shanghai earlier this year. This new series builds on his existing work where Paterson inserts unlikely objects or buildings into existing streetscapes to create newly imagined cities. The commissioned work will be on show at Silo 6 in Wynyard Quarter until 17 June.

To see more of his work visit PJ Paterson

For more information visit Auckland Festival of Photography 

May 15, 2015

Friday Round Up - 15 May, 2015

This week on Friday Round Up Ash Thayer's Kill City, LOUD! at the Art Gallery of NSW and Colour My World at the National Gallery of Australia. Next week a preview to the Auckland Festival of Photography.

Photos of the week:
The Mediterranean Migrant Crisis

(C) Argiris Mantikos / AP

(C) Alessandro Di Meo / AP

Book Review:
Kill City: Lower East Side Squatters 1992-2000 Ash Thayer

In the early 1990s, unable to pay the rent on her apartment in Brooklyn, photographer Ash Thayer, then a struggling art student in New York City (NYC), found a home with the squatters who populated the derelict buildings on the Lower East Side.

Left to rot, these tenements had been abandoned during the financial crisis that had brought NYC to the brink of bankruptcy 15 years earlier. With the city’s infrastructure in tatters, the wait for low-income housing was interminable. These buildings became illegal havens for those who otherwise would have been living on the streets of what was one of the city’s most nefarious neighbourhoods...(to read the full review and see more photographs click on the Book Reviews tab at the top of the blog).

(C) Ash Thayer


Photographs of women by women

(C) Yanagi Miwa: My Grandmothers 

A total of nine works by photographic artists Anne Zahalka (Australia), Yanagi Miwa (Japan), Yvonne Todd (New Zealand) and Rosemary Laing (Australia) comprise this exhibition, which the Art Gallery of NSW claims, "examines the importance of photography as a medium for the construction of personas and the tension between photographic truth and its wilful manipulation". 

(C) Yanagi Miwa: My Grandmothers 

(C) Yanagi Miwa: My Grandmothers 

The works that interest me the most in this exhibition are Yanagi Miwa’s series “My Grandmothers” which pays homage to ageing and to the diverse dreams and fantasies of her subjects (above) and Sydney-based photo media artist Rosemary Laing’s “A Dozen Useless Actions for Grieving Blondes” which points to stereotyping, superficiality and the complexity of the individual (below).

Above: (C) Rosemary Laing “A Dozen Useless Actions for Grieving Blondes” 

It is a shame there are only nine images in this exhibition that is in celebration of the 40th anniversary of International Women’s Year. In particular given the breadth of Anne Zahalka’s oeuvre, and the number of her images held in the Gallery's collection I would have expected to see more than a single image (below). That being said, if you’re in Sydney it’s definitely worth a look and at the same time you can check out the Gallery’s other exhibition, The Photograph and Australia, which is on until 8 June. 

(C) Anne Zahalka

(C) Yvonne Todd

Until 5 July, 2015
Art Gallery of NSW
Art Gallery Road,
The Domain


Colour My World
Group Show
(C) Robyn Stacey

Hand-coloured photographs date back to the late 1800s when portraits were enhanced with spots of red on the cheeks and lips, or coloured in their entirety as a way of appeasing customers who were used to painted portraits. At that time hand-colouring was a commercial endeavour and purists of both painting and photography looked unfavourably at the practice, which was often carried out by women employed as colourists. 

Eventually the introduction of colour photography put an end to the need to paint photographs, but in the post-modernist era hand-colouring made a come back, this time as an artistic pursuit. Photographic artists began to experiment with pencils, crayons and paints on photographs blurring the lines between high art and pop culture. Hand-colouring was viewed as somewhat anarchistic, its resurgence coinciding with the feminist and punk movements and the ‘anything goes’ mentality of the times.

In the exhibition - Colour My World – this period of experimentation in Australian photographic history is celebrated with an expansive collection from a diverse group of artists – Micky Allan, Ruth Maddison, Warren Breninger, Julie Rrap, Janina Green, Christine Barry, Fiona Hall, Miriam Stannage, Robyn Stacey, Nici Cumpston, Lyndell Brown/Charles Green and Jon Cattapan. 

(C) Micky Allan

(C) Micky Allan

(C) Micky Allan

Micky Allan is considered a pioneer when it comes to hand-painting as she was one of the first to engage with the form in this country. Having trained as a painter, Allan extended the concept of hand-colouring with dyes by using watercolours, oil and acrylic paints as well as pencils.

She says the tactile nature of painting led to her experimentation. “I didn’t like the darkroom very much and I couldn’t wait until the photo was ready to paint. When you touch the photograph directly, like in painting or drawing, it creates this direct link to all those little brain tremors that come out the hand, whereas in the darkroom it felt different. Because I am naturally a painter I liked the combination and the unexpected outcomes with cross overs of media”.

“I wanted to combine the fluid nature of paint with those elements of the photograph that are so peculiar to photography, like that fabulous tonal range and the fact that there is this sense that this place is real, or this event happened, or this person exists,” she explains.

In particular, women readily embraced the intimate involvement with the artwork that hand-colouring necessitated. This is evidenced in the weighting of female artists in ‘Colour My World,’ a rarity for an exhibition that spans an era in Australian photography where men dominated. 

(C) Ruth Maddison

(C) Ruth Maddison

(C) Ruth Maddison
Ruth Maddison, whose work is also on show, was drawn to hand-colouring and its interactive nature, and this form influenced her early career in the 1970s. In recent years she’s revisited the practice and says, “hand colouring allows me to work directly on the object as well as giving me time away from the screen – a much more enjoyable and calming way to work”.

One of Australia’s most acclaimed photographic artists Robyn Stacey embraced the form in the early 1980s creating a series of hand-coloured artworks entitled Queensland – Out West. She says, “hand-colouring seemed a good way to visually re-enforce the personal and intimate quality of the prints, as well as being sympathetic to the subject matter”. 

(C) Robyn Stacey

(C) Robyn Stacey

Throughout the eighties Stacey continued to experiment with hand-colouring and various images are included in ‘Colour My World,’ which is the first exhibition curated by the National Gallery of Australia’s new Senior Curator of Photography, Dr. Shaune Lakin.

“This exhibition brings together some of the most beautiful photographs made by Australian photographers over the last four decades,’ says Lakin. ‘It captures and reflects our diverse community and provides a unique perspective on the place of photography in our lives, at a time when the act of taking photographs has become a daily occurrence for many of us.” 

(C) Julie Rrap

Until 30 August, 2015