‘Selective Exposure’ exhibition on show at In Situ Photo Project, Christchurch

Selective Exposure ISPP Media Release


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.

Opening night:
6pm, Friday 8th July at the BNZ Centre, 120 Hereford Street, next to Scorpio Bookstore.

Show runs until 5th August

Gallery hours:
Open daily, 10am – 5pm

Selective Exposure at In Situ catalogue [pdf]

Related events:
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/

To join the In Situ Photo Project mailing list and keep up-to-date with current events, please visit ispp.nz or their facebook page.




Photography articles by Michael A. Smith



Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee are USA based photographers, and independent fine art publishers of Lodima Press.

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.

Letter to a Young Photographer (pdf)

On Teaching Photography (pdf)


City Gallery Wellington announces upcoming exhibition: ‘History in the Taking – 40 Years of PhotoForum’


John Miller: Police Arson Enquiries, Wellington,  1972
John Miller Police Arson Enquiries, Wellington 1972.

History in the Taking: 40 Years of PhotoForum
14 March – 14 June 2015

3 May 2015, 2pm
John B. Turner, co-founder of PhotoForum, speaks with Luit Bieringa about events leading up to the foundation of PhotoForum and the beginnings of PhotoForum Wellington, from 1965-1975. Followed by a signing of Turner’s latest book, Te Atatu Me: Photographs of an Urban New Zealand Village. Event info here.

28 March 2015, 2pm
Geoffrey H. Short, director of PhotoForum, is joined by Nina Seja, author of PhotoForum at 40: Counterculture, Clusters and Debate in New Zealand to discuss 40 years of art photography in New Zealand. Event info here.

City Gallery Wellington
Civic Square
101 Wakefield St
Hours: open daily 10am – 5pm

In 2014, Auckland’s Gus Fisher Gallery presented the exhibition History in the Taking  to celebrate PhotoForum’s 40th anniversary. City Gallery is pleased to be showing the exhibition in Wellington.  Featuring around 150 photographs, the show  traces the development of art photography in New Zealand.  All the images featured in PhotoForum publications, and many have become iconic. Stars like Robin Morrison, Peter Peryer, Anne Noble, Laurence Aberhart, Fiona Clark and Peter Black feature alongside equally remarkable but now-neglected figures. The show also includes publications, posters and other memorabilia.

These days, in New Zealand, photography is accepted as an art form, but it wasn’t always the case. In 1973, John Turner and others founded PhotoForum to lead the charge. Over the years, this grass-roots organisation has promoted photography through exhibitions and publications, particularly its magazine. Within the photography community, PhotoForum was also the catalyst for debates within photography, about the virtues of different approaches and individuals.  A product of the 1970s, PhotoForum saw the medium as entangled with counterculture lifestyles and protest movements. The show offers not only a history of New Zealand photography but also a slice of New Zealand social history. It is accompanied by Nina Seja’s comprehensive history PhotoForum at 40: Counterculture, Clusters, and Debate in New Zealand.

History in the Taking has been toured by PhotoForum. Thanks also to the Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland.


Related articles:
Interview with John B. Turner, PhotoForum Co-Founder
Interview with Photographer Lucien Rizos
Capture Wellington – PhotoForum Instagram competition
Behind the Scenes with Pauline Autet – Curatorial Assistant & Researcher, City Gallery Wellington


Sean O’Hagan: “Photography is art and always will be”

Do Jane Bown, William Eggleston and Diane Arbus not sing on a gallery wall?

Photography critic Sean O’Hagan hits back at Jonathan Jones’s damning claim that photographs cannot be considered fine art.

Samuel Beckett. Photograph by Jane Bown
Still intensity … Samuel Beckett. Photograph: Jane Bown.

‘In November, our art critic Jonathan Jones went to see the wildlife photographer of the year show at the National History Museum and the Taylor Wessing prize at the National Portrait Gallery – an open submission award known for its eccentric shortlist, usually featuring people with their pets. Quite why he chose to visit these two shows eludes me. Did he think they were art photography exhibitions? He castigated both, as I, a photography critic, would probably have done had I the energy to kick a few dead horses.

I did not respond back then for two reasons: the “photography is not art” debate is so old it’s hardly worth revisiting, and the idea of using a wildlife award show as a yardstick just seemed bizarre. But, alas, he has repeated his claims this week, discussing a rather boring photograph by Peter Lik, which sold for £4.1m, becoming the most expensive photograph in the world. To which my response is  … ‘

Read the full Sean O’Hagan article here


Source: The Guardian online, Thursday 11 December 2014

McNamara Photography Gallery: Aspects of Internationalism

The topic of Internationalism with regards to  NZ photography, comes up for comment every so often.  Below are notes compiled by Paul McNamara (McNamara Gallery Photography, Whanganui), as part of his 2011 presention at Art Lounge, Auckland Art Gallery highlighting aspects of Internationalism – the off-shore exhibition and collection of NZ photography. Our thanks to Paul for allowing us to share this information.


The Exhibition & Collection of NZ Photography Nationally & Internationally

Auckland Festival of Photography
Art Lounge Sessions
Sunday 5 June 2011 • 1pm



Looking at the experiences of 19 artists, 8 of whom have off-shore dealer representation and 14 have work in off-shore public collections in: Australia, New Caledonia, Taiwan, Macau, USA, UK, Holland, France & Spain

The selection ‘mechanisms’ involved in these exhibitions are no doubt many and varied, but one anticipates the work is subjected to robust critical debate; that it participates in the international discourse.
It appears that artists who work in tertiary institutions [artist as academic/teacher] are particularly well placed to exhibit internationally as their institutions liaise with off-shore curators and galleries    [- including university galleries].

This factor may give some bias with regard to the type of work shown internationally [e.g. research –/project-based work]. As apposed to social documentary, street photography, architectural, staged etc.
However non-teaching artists Aberhart [1], Adams [5], Cauchi [1], Peryer [1] have also exhibited at university galleries.
I suspect most of these off-shore exhibitions are curated from outside NZ.

Australian photography Centres have exhibited: Aberhart, Adams, Crowley, Henderson, Noble [2], Robertson, Shelton and Tocher.

As you will appreciate from the detail below, off-shore galleries acquire NZ work.
However, one suspects the reverse applies infrequently, namely the acquisition of international work by NZ public collections, apart from the Chartwell Trust. [A private trust collecting a diverse range of contemporary New Zealand and Australian art – Tracey Moffatt, Patricia Piccinini, Bill Henson]

Read more here: Paul McNamara LECTURE – Internationalism AFP 2011 (pdf)



McNamara Gallery Photography  opened 25th January 2002, and exhibits New Zealand, selected Pacific Rim & International, photographically-based art. They are dedicated to exhibiting and promoting lens-based media, and exploring the range of practice, both materially and conceptually.

Visit their Exhibitions page where all exhibitions, including  out-reach exhibitions [29 so far] in blue ink can be found.  Denoted in the listing [via*]  are various genres, and also aspects of materiality [photograph type].

McNAMARA GALLERY Photography Ltd
190 Wicksteed St. WHANGANUI 4500

Tuesday / Wednesday – Saturday 11 – 3 [often open to 6] or by appointment
* Please check website INFORMATION page for occasional closed days due to travel commitments
06 348 7320 / 027 249 8059 mcnamaraphotogal@xtra.co.nz


Mac Miller


I don’t remember who said it but a mother sitting on the beach takes a snap of her child, this could be called the purest form of photography, recording a moment in time that can be looked back on, not only by her but anybody else concerned. War Correspondents did and do the same thing now.

Camera clubs must have started with a few keen ‘chemist types’saying “ let’s get together and share our knowledge and look at each other’s work”. A good place for anyone to learn the skills of making a photograph. Not so bad!! Until fast film interchangeable lens cameras and J B Turner hit the scene! Now we had John’s PhotoForum showing us the American greats who had developed still photography as an art form that could be sold for hard cash (how American). I bought a $70 Edward Weston print. We were made to rethink how to take our photos with more soul, meaning and quality. These were great times and John did show a lot of us a sense and purpose to our photography. No more Bank window displays, but target Art galleries and sell prints when we could (most of us swapped). I, to my embarrassment, wrote to Imogen Cunningham asking her to swap six of my prints for one of hers??

I believe this period perhaps ended with The Active Eye Exhibition. I must relate attending an Auckland workshop and seeing one new photographer arrive wearing a black beret, ‘ doctor who’ scarf and a very long coat, straight from Monmarte Paris but the next day dressing as the rest of us in jeans and T shirt. Had the beginning of the ‘art set’ photographer just arrived in Auckland NZ ?

I stopped taking photos for 20 years and started again in a completely new world of photography. A lot of things we used to dream of had happened. Digital cameras meant endless shots , colour, sharpness, instant review and no exposure meters and the computer gave us Photoshop, Wow! Forget all the old ways we had learned, this is space age stuff. The art set would surely go mad with the chance to make up anything and not even have to print it, but no, black and white stayed the thing, purposely out of focus, badly framed with explanations of why it was taken printed alongside. This is what I discovered when my wife Babs and I took the trouble to go to see the new update of The Active Eye Exhibition in Palmerston North. I expected some brilliant new Photoshop creations but no, same old or worse. A blurred black and white photograph doesn’t make it art.

I can’t lay claim to any greatness or originality in my love of this medium but if I took a photo of one of my kids on the beach it would just have to be something with an edge of humour involved, that’s me coming through in my photograph. I am not against artists, I do understand how the real ones push us all into new understanding, it’s the pseudo wannabe’s that grate with me.

New Zealand’s own Dennis Waugh says in the PhotoForum at 40 book “Photography at best is a specialised craft, not art”. Dorothea Lange has also made similar comments. I know the argument has been going for over a century but l enjoy photography for being the skilled craft it is.

Well, that’s how I see it, so rip into me!

I’m just out of focus
dreaming black on white
memories long forgotten
passing through the night

Mac Miller
July 2014

Editor’s note: Our thanks to Mac Miller for inviting further discussion on photography. Mac’s involvement with PhotoForum  goes back to the beginnings of the society. In fact, one of his images featured on the cover of the first issue of Photo-Forum magazine (issue 18 – February/March 1974). You can view a portfolio of his more recent work  via the PhotoForum Members online gallery here



Massey University, Wellington: Steve Gurysh – The Long Cloud

Steve Gurysh: The Long Cloud
22 Aug – 13 Sept 2013
Opening: Wed 21 August 5.30 pm

View the exhibition flyer (pdf) for full details.

Gurysh’s work investigates economies of energy. In his practice the act of storytelling becomes activated by a productive process, weaving allegorical frameworks, historical narrative and invented experience into potent objects and temporal propositions. Researching the ‘nuclear issue’ between NZ and the USA, The Long Cloud is a new project in which Gurysh compresses the international transit and transmutation of a sample of New Zealand uranium ore into a charged photographic object.

Gurysh has recently received his MFA at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and now lives in Auckland. His work has been exhibited at 1708 Gallery in Richmond, VA, La Société des arts technologiques in Montréal, Cabinet Magazine Gallery in Brooklyn, NY and the in center of the Allegheny River, Pittsburgh.

Conversation with Gil Hanly
Thursday 22 August
12.30 pm
On Thursday August 22 at 12.30pm, Whiti o Rehua School of Art is delighted to host a conversation in the gallery between Steve Gurysh and Gil Hanly on The Long Cloud. Hanly’s iconic image taken on 12 December 1987 Sinking of Rainbow Warrior Vessel totally immersed leaving a disturbance holds a central place in Gurysh’s project.

All welcome.

The Engine Room
East End Block 1
Massey University Wellington
63 Wallace Street
Entrance c
Gallery hours Tue – Fri 12 to 4pm

John B. Turner reflects on ‘The State of New Zealand Photography’

John B Turner reflects on a groundbreaking 1976 survey of institutional attitudes toward the collection and exhibition of photography in New Zealand and asks how much has changed.


The State of New Zealand Photography

In 1976, two years after PhotoForum was founded, and following The Active Eye survey of contemporary photography, Ted Quinn set out to document the state of photography as an art in New Zealand.

What he found was ignorance, outright dismissal, and confusion. But there was also enthusiasm in the air and positive signs of a growing interest in the medium, among the quiet cries for help from organisations keen to do something but unsure about what to do or how to do it.

Private collectors were virtually nonexistent and almost nobody thought of buying a photograph.

One arts centre didn’t know if there was enough interest in photography to make it worthwhile holding shows, and more than one dealer claimed that photography was not an art and would not be shown by them.

The Auckland Art Gallery had only recently started its photography collection and our National Art Gallery said they had neither a photographic collection, nor intentions regarding photography.

The Govett-Brewster Gallery, now the foremost promoter of contemporary art, was thinking of collecting historical work, and the John Leech Gallery, now a leader in selling historical photography, said they only dealt with original works of art.

Almost hidden in PhotoForum’s web archive, Ted Quinn’s snapshot of the time is well worth revisiting as a reminder of how much has changed in the New Zealand art scene in regard to the acceptance of photography as art and social document. New Zealand’s universities and polytechnics, starting in the mid-1960s have nurtured influential teachers, who in turn spread their knowledge and enthusiasm throughout secondary and tertiary education.

PhotoForum, nearing its 40th birthday, had a role to play as an independent observer and catalyst for change relating to issues documented and discussed by Ted Quinn. Ted, like many PhotoForum activists was then a photography student at the Elam School of Fine Arts. His enthusiasm and prolific output as assistant editor of PhotoForum magazine and our tabloid PhotoForum Supplement’s warranted him the title of Research Secretary. And he carried out his job with imagination and prodigious energy. A peer of John Reynolds and George Baloghy, with whom he exhibited outside of Elam, he later became a photo therapist in England and editor of a magazine for the profession. Trying to contact him to contribute to our documentation of PhotoForum at 40, however, has so far been what Eric Lee-Johnson would call “a great unsuccess”. (Please tell us if you know how we can get in touch with Ted.)

Some of the public art galleries, museums, libraries and private galleries would have changed their name, been subsumed into another branch or organisation, or disappeared altogether. That is particularly so for the small, enthusiastic, underfunded photo galleries that flourished and for a brief time, helped to change the climate for taking photography more seriously than hitherto. We can’t say much for the 50% of canvassed organisations that did not respond to Ted’s survey, but we did know that raised some embarrassing questions about why photography was being neglected by those who should have known better.

What we can say, however, is that along with the advances that came when the National Art Gallery started collecting contemporary photography under Andrew Drummond, and it’s new Director, Luit Bieringa (who was instrumental in creating The Active Eye survey of contemporary NZ photography in 1975), there has been some backsliding from some prominent public institutions as well as great advances by others.

The Auckland Art Gallery, in particular, has seldom fulfilled its promise. And no New Zealand public gallery has established a permanent display space to highlight photography and provide students and teachers with a living resource of exemplary works from the histories of photography.

The absence of such an obvious educational service was pointed out in by the late Van Deren Coke, visiting Fulbright scholar in 1989, and later Director of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, but Auckland’s showcase gallery, now expanded and refurbished, still tends to sit on its hands in regard to properly showcasing New Zealand’s best photographers.

Ted Quinn’s survey is also a reminder of how much more can and should be done by those responsible for preserving and promoting New Zealand’s history, culture and heritage. And that should concern all New Zealanders.

Crucial decisions have to be made to properly resource our public institutions so they can carry out their duty of care. As John Miller and Reg Feuz have highlighted for PhotoForum, and I know from my own experience of trying to place major collections of photographs in safe hands, there is a huge log-jam of priceless private collections that now need the attention of curators, librarians and conservation specialists, if they are not to be lost. We need the people responsible for deciding which collections and how much of them must be preserved for the future to stand up and explain what they are doing, or need support to do?

Merely paying big money – the penalty for neglect – for a few star works that should have been collected before “the market” paid attention and upped the ante, is not enough.

They might not be perfect, but the curators we now have – and we could do with more of them – need to be given more freedom to roam and cogitate. Our dedicated private art dealers often provide exceptional service, but they can only do so much, and our public collectors need to rely less on them to seek significant work at its source, as early as possible.

That would be risky, of course, but freed from the dealer’s ring fencing, and institutional committees who too often don’t understand much about photography, the odds are very much in favour of a conscientious curator being able to acquire significant cultural artifacts wholesale from the many practitioners without a dealer, or discounted through collaboration with dealers.

What most serious photographers need when they are getting into their stride, or approaching completion of a body of work, is sufficient funds to pay for their art and living expenses so they can get on with doing what they do best, or branch out into new territory if that’s what they need to do.

What wealthy art collectors do with their disposable income is their own business. But our public art servants could save money as well as spread support if they were freed to get ahead of the game and buy significant work when it is relatively fresh and unknown. That’s what the best collectors have always done.

Knowing they have representative highlights in the bag, as it were, would do much to remove the belated pressure that builds up after years of institutional neglect, or undervaluation of an artist’s work, and forces competition with private buyers and competing institutions also trying to catch up. Having already acquired significant works, our public institutions could free themselves from the guilt-laden pressure of seriously overdue purchases at indecently inflated prices.

The high prices paid at auction for some works are simply ridiculous, and the really big retrospective purchases do more to inflate ego or depression than swell the artist’s bank account. Exorbitant fees and increased insurance cover should be seen for what they usually are: a premium on neglect. The purchase of overpriced works by art stars like Andreas Gursky, is indicative of the cultural blue-chip cringe favoured by PR-focussed galleries, and further highlights the neglect of New Zealand photography by them.

It’s an old grizzle, but I still hear from some of New Zealand’s best artists that none of the people responsible for public acquisitions have ever visited them to see work before (and if) it is exhibited.
If our public art servants were empowered to do the rounds, and had discretionary funds to follow their intuitions, many a bargain of mutual benefit to practitioners and institutions could be struck and a better, more relevant public representation of our cultural and social history could be preserved.

John B Turner,
Beijing, China, July 2013.

Ted Quinn: ‘Results of a survey on the State of New Zealand Photography as regards Public and Private Art Galleries, Libraries and Museums’. Photo-Forum Research Supplement, April 1977.

This survey was begun in October 1976 with the stated aim of preparing “a brief analysis of the position of photography in New Zealand, and the local gallery interest.”

A list of questions relating to photographic collections, exhibitions, and intentions regarding photography, were sent to 150 public and private museums and galleries, as well as some libraries.  View the survey (pdf) here.

In its June 1981 issue, PhotoForum published an update on Ted Quinn’s survey carried out by Diane Quin and Janneke Vandenberg: ‘On Collectors’, pp 20-23. It included responses from 19 art galleries, museums or libraries and three private collections, those of Hardwicke Knight, William Main and Ron Brownson.


Auckland Art Fair 2013: Public Programme

Looking through the programme for the Auckland Art Fair (7-11 August 2013), there’s a number of interesting events that the public can get along to. The following list, specifically relates to discussions on photography.

Thurs 8 Aug, 2pm (Level 2)
What Photography Sees? Panel Discussion:
Convenyor: Ron Brownson (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki). A discussion about looking passionately at the world with panelists Sandra Phillips (Keynote Speaker, SFMOMA) and artists’ Harvey Benge, Yvonne Todd, and Marie Shannon.

Fri 9 Aug, 2pm (Exhibitions, meet by Project 1)
Speaking Photography:
Ron Brownson (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki) takes a walking tour of the fair.

Sat 10 Aug, 11am (Stand 29: McNamara Gallery Photography)
Paul McNamara in conversation:
Gallerist Paul McNamara in conversation with artist Andrew Beck and Lisa Crawley (Elam) on the exhibition Available Light: imaging more than we see.

There are numerous other activities taking place as part of the art fair, including presentations on collecting art, the role of public galleries/dealer galleries, plus artist talks. The  full public programme can be viewed here.

Auckland Art Fair 2013

Art controversy continues for photographs by Fiona Clark

Two photographs from a 1974 gay liberation dance, featuring coarsley worded remarks beside the images, are causing public debate for Tauranga Art Gallery. The works by photographic artist Fiona Clark are included in Te Manawa’s exhibition Now & Then, which has been touring the country since March 2012.

View these recent news articles:
‘Repugnant’ artwork defended –  John Cousins, Bay of Plenty Times
Woman wants Te Manawa photos removed from show – Chris Hyde, Manawatu Standard

Now & Then is on show in Tauranga, until this Sunday 23 June 2013. The exhibition encompasses a selection of more than 39 prominent and currently emerging photographers who continue to push the boundaries of fine art photography in New Zealand. Included in the exhibition are numerous works from the 1975 landmark survey The Active Eye, staged by the then Manawatu Art Gallery.

Related link:
www.fionaclark.com – scroll down page for background information on Clark’s images, including historical news clippings relating to The Active Eye exhibition.