The wall of my MDes office is slowly being taken over by small prints from the Antarctica: Sixty Shades of White project. It represents a tiny proportion of the 1TB of data, stills and video I collected while on The Ice in October. It is still very early days but at least five possible collections/projects are emerging … this will keep me going for years!
As this photo of Warren on the sea ice at Cape Evans illustrates, Antarctica can feel unlike anywhere else on the planet at times. When I saw him in all his survival gear casting this massive shadow in the midnight sun I instantly thought of the photos of the astronauts on the moon (thanks NASA for making them public btw). Two harsh environments where man goes to extraordinary lengths to survive – it was about -20˚c when I took this.
The dark “landmass” on the right is in fact an iceberg trapped in the frozen sea-ice.
See what I can see: Discovering New Zealand Photography
Sargent Gallery, Whanganui. 18 June – 11 September
My Kermedec work Seachange (approaching Raoul) is part of a new exhibition alongside work from some of New Zealand’s leading photographers including Robin White, Bruce Foster and fellow Massey-ites, Anne Noble and Wayne Barrar.
This exhibition is a celebration of that remarkable, well-travelled invention, the camera, the New Zealand that it captured and the artists who wielded it. This exhibition is a companion to the 2015 book See what I can see: New Zealand Photography for the young and curious written by Gregory O’Brien and published by Auckland University Press. The exhibition, co-curated by O’Brien and Sarjeant Gallery curator Greg Donson brings together a selection of images from the book alongside examples from the Sarjeant Gallery’s rich photographic holdings.
A new Kermadec work from the original voyage to Raoul Island. This is a diptych of two photos taken on Roaul as we tramped across to Denham Bay. The post cyclone bush was dominated by giant tattered Nikau Palms and the force of the storm is very apparent in the image on the left. Walking through this space, around the edge of the volcano’s crater, the island felt wounded, dark and brooding.
In contrast the right hand image shows a relatively undamaged spot in Denham Bay itself. However is actually a mass grave site where some Tokelauan slaves were buried. On 15 March 1863 the blackbirding ship, Rosa y Carmen dumped a hundred of it’s slave ‘cargo’ on Roaul after dysentery broke out onboard ship. They were left to die.
The title of the work is a quote from Caliban, the island monster in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. Roaul truly is full of many voices calling from the past.
Moving away from the pastiche of “classic still life”, I have been exploring shooting the Kermadec seaweed, Pterocladiella in streams of bubbles from my previous experiments for the new whale migration inspired series. Mixed results.
I also tried a very “straight” shot on with the seaweed in a tiny specimen bottle on white. Another reference to the protection offered the Kermadecs with the announcement of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.
For some reason I have a fascination with bones and ruins. I guess it ties into my interest in our place within the continuum of life and the traces left by those that have been before us.
Whatever it is, people know I have this interest and keep giving me skeletons etc they find. In this case a colleague at Massey came across this mummified bird in a wall cavity and I leapt at the opportunity to add it to the small collection of bird skeletons I have acquired.
It seems these birds find the potential for a easy nesting location just too seductive and end up getting trapped inside the walls – not a nice thought I know.
The name “Sirenuse” comes from the island off the coast of Italy which, according to Greek mythology, was the home of the Sirens. These dangerous yet beautiful creatures, lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast.