Category Archives: Portrait

Sometimes Antarctica felt like a different planet…

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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.

Antartica research shifts to “the new heroic age”

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After a really productive initial discussion with @AntarcticaNZ my research has moved into a new phase – I’m now focussing  on the depiction of ‘heroes’ and ‘explorers’ through portraiture in historic and contemporary contexts.

This reflects a fledgling strategic approach to repositioning the public perception of science by depicting the Antarctic Scientists as “Science Explorers” – modern approachable heroes striving to understand climate change to help deal with it.

This might be the beginning of “the new heroic age” of Antarctica?

Still early days … watch this space.

 

More on the Antarctica project >

Stefan Heinrichs

A wee gem from my research into the portraiture for the Antartica project #60shadesofwhite

German photographer and filmmaker Stefan Heinrichs lives and works between Berlin and London.

I particularly like the way he shoots video as if it were a still, often playing with multiple images on the screen. Two of my favourites are Elephant Polo and NOWNESS, on Design: Marcel Wanders

Elephant Polo The King’s Cup
 from stefan heinrichs on Vimeo.

NOWNESS, on Design: Marcel Wanders from stefan heinrichs on Vimeo.

Interactive inspiration: Jonathan Harris

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Jonathan Harris is an artist and computer scientist from Vermont.

I find his work very interesting but he regularly falls into the trap of the interface overpowering the content – something I specifically want to avoid. An example is the whale hunt interactive which is extremely clever but I prefer the highlights page from the same interactive

His work is in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, and has been exhibited at Le Centre Pompidou (Paris), the CAFA Art Museum (Beijing), the Barbican Center (London), the Victora and Albert Museum (London), and The Pace Gallery (New York). He studied computer science at Princeton University and spent a year in Italy at Fabrica. The winner of three Webby Awards, Print Magazine named him a “New Visual Artist,” and the World Economic Forum named him a “Young Global Leader.” His TED talks have been viewed millions of times.

His website: http://number27.org/

I quite like this one: http://balloonsofbhutan.org

And the whale hunthttp://thewhalehunt.org

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

 

Lighting test: Tarakena Bay

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Once again my ever patient son Morgan was coerced into being a model for a lighting test for a shot I have coming up in a few weeks. This time he stood knee deep in the chilly waters of Cook Strait while the sun set behind the Kaikouras. A slow shutter speed blurred the water and a Nikon Speedlight with a homemade snoot lit his face. The flash is sitting on an old modified tripod (heavily weighted down) and is triggered remotely via infrared.

Kermadec workshops

Dame Robin White Artist

Dame Robin White painting mural as part of school program. Devonport 2013

As part of the Kermadec: Hands to Bathe exhibition we (Robin White, Greg O’Brien, Bruce Foster, Fiona Hall, Elizabeth Thomson and I) helped the Navy Museum to run workshops for local schools. We talked the kids through the show and worked with them as they created their own art and collectively created a mural for the museum. Great fun and a great opportunity for me to photograph the other artists at work (see photo of Robin above).

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

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“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