EyeContact is a forum built to encourage art reviews and critical discussion about the visual culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. Below are two excerpts from Peter Ireland’s review of the publication Pictures They Want to Make: Recent Auckland Photography.
‘There is no doubt that PTWTM has superb production values. But then, so did the Nuremberg rallies. We’re back to the old Scholastic distinction between appearance and substance, but if anyone’s talking about any kind of excellence, it’s still a distinction with currency. Getting a stamp on your hand for achievement might work in Year One, but post-Year Thirteen in a culture with any depth it seems reasonable to expect a little more than just taking part.’
‘Apart from offering the various photographers a platform it’s hard to know what PTWTM is about. As the authors admit, the “Auckland” net is more holes than string, and why should some sort of regionalist focus matter anyway, taking heed of Jackson Pollock’s remarking on the absurdity of an “American mathematics”. Of course, there’s probably more photography produced in the Auckland region, but if we’re talking sheer volume it might be more to the point discussing hydro-electricity along the Waikato River. And, oddly, PTWTM‘s content isn’t about variety either – the more modest Open the Shutter: Auckland Photographers Now demonstrated a much more diverse range of practice, which in the two decades since has expanded rather than contracting. Upon repeated examination it becomes clearer that what this book is about is the persistence of an amateur outlook formed – however inescapably – in the 1970s, but which has very little reason to exist in the second decade of the 21st century.’ Read the full review HERE.
Peter Ireland – 8 November 2013
Note: Further reviews and information relating to this publication can be found here.