Category Archives: Breaker Bay

Breaker Bay: 15 July 2001

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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.

Trinity Roots

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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.

The lead singer Warren Maxwell was also in the photos I took for his other project “Pass the Gat” with Louis Baker and Thomas Oliver

 

Project Weed – Proof of concept

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.

Learnings:

  • 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.

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See more on Project Weed

No place like home

Breaker Bay WellingtonBreaker Bay Wellington 2013

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.

Happy Birthday Mr Yule

mike50__2274The charming and effervescent Mr Mike Yule recently celebrated his birthday in the Rangataua Hall near Ohakune. It was an outstanding gig and a real lesson in always carrying a camera.

Wellington band “Uncle Trollable” were superb and combined with the lighting of Alan Baird-Smith (and the ability for me to slip onstage while they played) produced some great photo opportunities. Huge ups to Mike, the band and in particular lead singers that appear here: Rob Lenihan (in hats), Dave Ellis (an outstanding cover of Shadowplay) and Steve Aiken (with headlamp).

Happy Birthday Mr Yule. Chur.

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Spirit

Spirit

“Spirit” 2013 Breaker Bay, Wellington
Limited edition (1) – Giclée print on Rag 904 x 1355mm

From the recent Ripple exhibition at Cecil Veda Gallery in Wellington

“Spirit” is the first image from a new longterm project that is exploring the effect New Zealand’s geographic isolation has had on our national psyche in both a contemporary and historical context.

To me this image represents a relationship to the sea, quiet determination and independence the many Kiwis hold dear.

It simultaneously can represent our past, present and future. Is this an historical scene of a pioneer making landfall? Could this boy be our next Peter Blake? Or does he represent all parents hopes that kids can still have simple fun, bare back and without an electronic device in sight?

The title “Spirit” is a reference to the Split Enz song “Six months in a leaky boat” which also is about our geographic isolation.

“When I was a young boy, I wanted to sail around the world
That’s the life for me, living on the sea
Spirit of a sailor, circumnavigates the globe
The lust of a pioneer, will acknowledge no frontier”

Many thanks to my son Morgan for standing in the cold fog for so long

See more works from “Ripple”

Spirit hanging in Cecil Veda Gallery

Guy – Updated gallery

View Guy slideshowFor the past eight years the small seaside community of Breaker Bay has been gathering in November each year to celebrate Guy Fawkes .

For many in the community this is an opportunity to get together with families and celebrate living in such a unique community. A bonfire is lit, the guy making competition is judged before lighting the guys and setting off fireworks. One year a troupe of fire dancers also came to entertain the crowd.

Photographically it is a fantastic opportunity to capture some very human moments between community, children and parents. There is something so primal about gathering around a fire and in many of the shots you can see the mixture of fear and joy in the eyes of the children. Long may this remain an ongoing project.

Obviously some of these images have been around for a while but I have updated the slideshow to work on ipads etc

View images in projects section >

Children can be so resourceful

What do creative children do when they want to video themselves jumping on a trampoline? They tape their ipod to the netting of course. I loved the colour and double image I observed as my kids played.

Married to Roaul

In 1875 Tom Bell, his wife and six children moved to live on remote Roaul Island (then Sunday island). The family lived on the island in almost total isolation for 35years enduring incredible hardship at times.

After visiting Roaul and reading of the family (in a book called “The Crusoes of Sunday Island”) I was deeply moved and decided to create this shot to tell the story of the oldest child “Hettie Bell” who lived in isolation for the best years of her life.

She wears period clothes and holds a ‘bouquet’ of seaweed to represent her ‘marriage to Roaul’. This photo was shot with a homemade lens with glass from a 100year old camera on a Nikon D300s to further add to historic link.

It was shot on Breaker Bay Beach in Wellington which bears a striking similarity to Roual Island’s Denham Bay. Using my daughter Lauren to model  seemed even more approprate because when I heard Hettie’s story it instantly made me think of her. I think she did a great job of capturing the quiet determination that Hettie must have had.

The fire – New online photos

“Charred 01” 2009

Almost two years to the day since the massive fire that totally destroyed the landmark Tim Nees designed home in Breaker Bay work has begun to rebuild it. It has been a long hard road for the owner and her daughter and it is great to see some action at the site.

To mark this occasion I have released the photos I took of the fire and the days immediately after. A powerful mix of the dramatic power of the fire and the emptiness it leaves.

See the photos

A big moan!

Due to popular demand (I always wanted to say that) I have created a second edition of the very popular Moaning Minnie image from a couple of years back. This time it is much larger print (A2) and it has printed up really well! I have one at the framers now which will (hopefully) be ready before Christmas. Strictly limited edition – the first one sold before I have even printed it!

Framed $800. Unframed $400

See it big on my website