Len Wesney, photographer, 1946 – 2017

Len Wesney, Baptism, Christchurch, 1972. The Active Eye, 1975. Plate 99.


Len Wesney, photographer, 1946 – 2017

We note with great sadness the recent death of Len Wesney in a house fire in Christchurch.

Len’s work appeared in issue 20 of Photo-Forum magazine in 1974, and he was a tutor for a PhotoForum summer workshop in Wellington in 1976.

His wonderful picture Baptism, Christchurch, 1972 was one of three pieces included in the 1975 touring exhibition The Active Eye and we were pleased to include it in the recent history of PhotoForum, PhotoForum at 40 by Nina Seja (Rim Books 2014).

Athol McCredie, curator of photography at Te Papa has written a moving and informative tribute to Len and his work on the Te Papa website:


Another detailed obituary, by Maddison Northcott, appears on the Stuff website

Geoffrey H. Short
PhotoForum Director


‘Real Pictures: Imaging XX’ curated by Nina Seja.

We are very excited to be involved with the exhibition ‘Real Pictures: Imaging XX’ curated by Nina Seja, opening at the Gus Fisher Gallery this Friday 2 June. PhotoForum is publishing the catalogue as PhotoForum issue number 88, which will be distributed to PhotoForum members and be available for sale at the gallery.
Dr Seja wrote the detailed history of PhotoForum ‘PhotoForum at 40’, and it is a pleasure to be collaborating with her again on this project, presenting work by five artists associated with the hugely influential photography gallery and laboratory Real Pictures, which operated in Auckland from 1979 to 1990.

Geoffrey H. Short
Director, PhotoForum Inc.


Catalogue for the exhibition ‘Real Pictures: Imaging XX’ at the Gus Fisher Gallery, 2 – 30 June. Exhibiting artists Sue Gee, Megan Jenkinson, Marie Shannon, Deborah Smith and Jenny Tomlin. Curated by Nina Seja in association with PhotoForum.

Jenny Tomlin, ‘Sedge, Windy Point, Whatipu, 1985’. From the series ‘The Well Kept Wilderness’.

Poster for the exhibition ‘Photographs by Marie Shannon’, Real Pictures, 1985. Image: ‘Waiting for the Tide’ 1985.

Megan Jenkinson, ‘Hand to Hand II’ 1985, Cibachrome collage.

Deborah Smith, ‘The Pursuit of Game (VIII)’ 1988.

Sue Gee, from ‘Chinese Ties’, 1983.

City Gallery Wellington: Behind the Scenes with Pauline Autet

Pauline Autet- City Gallery Wellington


Pauline Autet is Curatorial Assistant and Researcher at City Gallery, working behind the scenes on many of our exhibitions.  Pauline assists our curators by tracking down works and researching the artists and stories behind them. We asked her a few questions about her role, and in particular about the upcoming exhibition History in the Taking: 40 Years of PhotoForum, opening Saturday 14 March.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to work at City Gallery?

I was born in Dijon, France, and moved to Kerikeri with my family ten years ago. After a few back and forth trips between New Zealand and Europe, I moved to Wellington to study Fine Arts at Massey where I also became interested in curatorial aspects of art exhibitions. I approached City Gallery about doing an internship and joined the team for six months. Following my internship, I went on a university exchange to Berkeley and then returned to Wellington where I resumed my intern role. After completing my degree, I began a new part-time position as Curatorial Assistant and Researcher at the Gallery. I have appreciated seeing how exhibitions are put together, being part of their development, with a very dedicated and knowledgable team, and learning from different curatorial processes.

You are involved in the curatorial process, can you tell us what your job entails?

For the past eighteen months, my main focus has been working on the Yvonne Todd exhibition. I assisted curator Robert Leonard on the realisation of the exhibition and publication, Creamy Psychology. I started off researching, compiling texts and articles about Yvonne’s practice, to form an archive that could be used to develop the publication. Working closely with the artist and her dealer gallery in Wellington, I also embarked on the search for works we wanted to exhibit and facilitated the loans from private and public collections. From there I worked on the exhibition layout with the registration team. We also liaised with designers and writers to get the publication ready for the opening in December 2014.

Can you describe one of the most memorable experiences from your time at City Gallery?

I really enjoyed working on The Obstinate Object with curator Aaron Lister. I think it was the first project I was involved with. It’s always inspiring to work directly with artists as there is no better way to get an insight into their work than watching their process and hearing how they make the decisions. I was involved during the installation period and really enjoyed assisting artist Sian Torrington to set up her immersive installation. It consisted of colourful fabric wrapped around the internal structures of the Gallery. Installation is always a memorable time, it’s when you start to see the exhibition take form. You never fully know what the result will be until the works are in the space and things are discussed and moved around a bit.

The opportunity to work on Creamy Psychology from start to finish was another highlight. It taught me a lot about the various steps to achieving such a large-scale exhibition and I was given the chance to be part of the conceptual process and take some initiatives, which I feel was a great experience.

History in the Taking: 40 Years of PhotoForum opens mid-March, what are you currently working on for this exhibition?

This exhibition was curated by Nina Seja and Geoffrey Short and shown at the Gus Fisher Gallery in Auckland in 2014 so there is less detective work involved. We have just completed unpacking all the works. Currently, I am working on laying out the exhibition, to fit the walls of the Deane and Hirschfeld Galleries, using computer plans.

What are you enjoying most about working on this exhibition?

I’m a practicing artist and photography is my primary medium, so I am particularly interested in photographic processes. I’ve enjoyed the chance to explore the history of PhotoForum and photography in New Zealand. The PhotoForum at 40 publication is a valuable resource for becoming more familiar with the work and stories of these artists who were such passionate advocates for their medium.

Pauline is one of the founders of Elbowroom, a Wellington pop-up project. She also works part-time at Te Papa and at 30upstairs in Courtenay Place, where her exhibition, Roofline Chase, is on until 28 February.

Olivia Lacey, Publicist

City Gallery Wellington
Civic Square
101 Wakefield St
Opening hours 10am – 5pm every day.

Article source: http://citygallery.org.nz/news/behind-scenes-pauline-autet



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


Landfall Review Online by Nina Seja – ‘ANZAC: Photographs by Laurence Aberhart’


ANZAC_Photographs by Laurence Aberhart_frontcvr

01 December 2014

The Roll of Honour


Nina Seja
ANZAC: Photographs by Laurence Aberhart, with an introduction by Jock Phillips (Victoria University Press, 2014), 108 pp., $60

What are the implications of cultural remembrance? As theorist Marita Sturken points out in her book Tangled Memories, the ‘process of cultural memory is bound up in complex political stakes and meanings.’ The output of publications devoted to one cataclysmic conflict in cultural memory increased substantially this year as we entered into a period of centennial commemoration for the Great War of 1914–18.
      As a nation New Zealand suffered tremendous losses on the frontline, and the impact of war was felt almost equally strongly back at home, psychologically, economically, physically. One hundred years offers distance to reflect on the War’s legacy, but also an opportunity to see what types of official narratives have emerged, persisted, been revised. And beyond these historic or bureaucratic interpretations, how might artists reframe a culture remembering? Esteemed photographer Laurence Aberhart’s body of work entitled ANZAC offers one artist’s nuanced view of the event called ‘World War One’ that is at once personal and universal in its quiet critique of war and in its depiction of how memorials construct, or are invested with, the sanctity of the past.

      ANZAC is both a touring exhibition and a publication supported by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Victoria University Press. The printed version consists of seventy exquisite photographs of ANZAC memorials from Aberhart’s wanderings through New Zealand and Australia between 1980 and 2013. While war memorials are diverse – obelisks, cupolas, windows – here it is the digger that Aberhart privileges. While these soldier figures represent only 8 per cent of all memorials, they offer the most human depiction of the cost of war.

Read the full review at http://www.landfallreview.com/2014/12/the-roll-of-honour.html


Source: www.landfallreview.com

Capture Photoblog: ‘PhotoForum at 40’ by Jonathan Ganley

Posted online at Public Address / Capture photoblog is this comprehensive article by Jonathan Ganley, about the publication PhotoForum at 4o.

Cover image: Shrouds. Photograph by Barney Brewster

PhotoForum at 40
by Jonathan Ganley

The forthcoming Rim Books publication of PhotoForum at 40: Counterculture, Clusters, and Debate in New Zealand will mark forty years since PhotoForum was founded. Perhaps the society no longer has the profile it enjoyed in its first ten years, when it published a bi-monthly magazine, but PhotoForum is still going strong. There is a comprehensive website, and frequent exhibitions. Books and periodicals continue to be produced with the highest possible production values, a goal that was aimed for but not always achieved when the magazine was in its 1970s heyday.

The quality will be evident when the printed copies of PhotoForum at 40 become available in late June. The 300-page book contains an impressive mix of history, photographs, documents, correspondence, interviews and cultural commentary. It also includes a chronology of New Zealand photography from 1950 to 2014, corresponding with a chronology of PhotoForum publications, exhibitions and activities.

To complement the book and the 40th anniversary, a Pecha Kucha night of artists’ talks will be held at Q Theatre from 7:30pm on Wednesday June 4. History in the Taking, an exhibition of selected photographs and ephemera, will be held at the Gus Fisher Gallery, in conjunction with the Auckland Festival of Photography, opening on June 6 and running for the rest of the month.

With these forthcoming events, the time seemed right to examine the legacy of the society, its present activities and future plans, with Nina Seja, the book’s author, and Geoffrey H. Short, the current director of PhotoForum and co-curator with Seja of the exhibition. Read the full article HERE

Capture photoblog