In a time before Google Street View (back when there paper maps and everything!) I got bored one weekend and walked the length of Wellington’s Breaker Bay and documented every house. For locals it’s great to see how much the bay has changed!
I have long since lost the original photos but there is still a low res version online – click here to view and scroll sideways.
I had the great privilege of being commissioned by one legendary New Zealand band Trinity Roots to shoot some new promotional material for them. Inspired by the bands’ focus on whakapapa and relationship with the land, I came up with the concept of them standing in the swirling waters of Cook Strait (near Breaker Bay) to represent their oneness with people and place.
I thank them for their patience as I made them stay in the freezing waters for half an hour as we waited for the light to light to be perfect. Exposures were long and combined with remote flash units setup on an old tripod in the sea.
Below are a few ‘behind the scenes’ shots taken by my son and young assistant Morgan (who weeks earlier had modelled for test shots) and one of the ‘straighter’ press shots we took in the Breaker Bay Hall.
Having successfully borrowed a small fish tank (many thanks to Oliver Townend at Massey CoCA) I have been able to create a make-shift studio to do some quick ‘proof of concept’ tests.
The goal: To learn the behaviour of seaweed in a tank and determine if I can make the tank/water ‘disappear’ and for the arrangement look like it is not underwater. The outcome: Not bad. See the results below.
By using flashes located to the side/top/behind the tank I am able to have great lighting control with minimal reflections and no heat.
Left for a few minutes the seawater (collected from across the road from the house) clears nicely – but left too long condensation forms on the glass.
Lots of crap floats off the weed etc – rinsing and cleanliness will be important if I am to avoid hours in Photoshop.
Bubbles do form on the inside of the glass and objects over time but are pretty easy to wipe off.
The seaweed seems pretty much neutrally buoyant as expected
The small tank (600 x 300 x 300) is very limiting. Only suitable for small seaweed. Certainly no good for anything like kelp.
I think this is going to work but “we’re going to need a bigger tank”.
I have shot colour but envisage that the final prints will be black and white.
Even though we had a lovely time in Auckland for the opening of the Kermadec “Hands to Bathe” exhibition it is great to be back in Breaker Bay. A stunning, dark, rugged place that we have been lucky enough to call home for over 12 years.
Limited edition prints available. Image size 350 x 232mm. Framed $600. Unframed $300.