Some picks from our March Home, Garden and DIY newsletter:
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3 February 2013
I’ve just discovered the New Zealand Portrait Gallery website and, during a quick browse around, this lovely portrait of the writer and scholar Dame Joan Metge caught my eye. To me it is a wonderful portrait revealing a beautifully aged face full of expression and wisdom. I love portraits both painted and photographed. And libraries are great places for wonderful books full of portraiture.
A teenage job saw me working at the National Library in Wellington and one of the joys of the job for me was the discovery of a treasure trove of photography books full of wonderful portraits. I would sit on the stairs poring over them. This love has continued and some interesting New Zealand books of portraits include:
Our heritage photos contain some lovely photos of people like this one of the shoe-shine man in Cathedral Square and Elizabeth McCombs, New Zealand’s first woman MP.
If you want to visit the NZ Portrait Gallery it is housed in a beautiful old brick wharf shed on Wellington’s waterfront. Lots of writers’ portraits are among the treasures like this beauty of Janet Frame by Robin Morrison.
Do you have a favourite portrait – or book of portraits?
25 October 2012
I am a big fan of fashion photographer Tim Walker. He does stellar work in British Vogue, creating scenes that send bubbles of delight rushing through my head. We’ve got three of his books, and check out his website.
Vogue turned 120 last month. This delectable tome brings together the fashion editors, photographers and models. Scott Schuman ‘The Sartorialist’ has a new book out Closer – he is one of the great detectives of street style.
Search the catalogue for more fashion photography eye-pleasers.
16 May 2011
As Vincent talks with Charlotte Ryan from bFM (who has great hair, by the way), we are treated to a selection of photos, movie stills, paintings and film clips that have mostly been selected from his recently published book, The Past Awaits: People, Images, Film. Accompanying this visual feast are anecdotes, notes and asides from Vincent, not just about the book and the process of making it, but also some truly deliciously icky Hollywood gossip, some secret (he made us promise not to tell) details about what he’s working on at the moment (a movie, a book, an art exhibition), and some real insight into what motivates him.
In the past, he says, there has always been a division between different media. Film, photography and painting were all kept quite separate. ”What interests me,” he says, “is saying, What if you didn’t have any of that separation? If you could use all these media in layers in a single work, to express something in whatever way you need to?”
There is a great deal of audience buy-in, and supportive nodding, and some great questions at the end. The session finishes with a question about what his overall message or theme might be, and Vincent says it’s about “… trying not to drown, but to swim, and trying to fly and not to fall.”
This, I think, is a fitting description, perhaps, for what all the writers (and us festival-goers too) are trying to do, and I think about this, and write it down, and leave the festival behind for another year.
16 May 2010
An hour with Marti Friedlander was a joy. She has been photographing New Zealanders for 50 years and her memorable images have opened our eyes to our country. Marti came as an outsider, an “out there” personality who had to be a little wary with the reserved New Zealanders. She engaged with and liked her subjects from the start as she has always been drawn to how people engage with life. I thought she seemed enormously sensitive and sympathetic to the human condition, drawn especially to struggling artists and other people on the margins.
She decided very young that she would never follow the crowd. She doesn’t like being photographed and is not a “snapper” and feels there must be respect for the person you are photographing. She does recognise that in the digital age everyone has a camera and we are all photographers. Marti believes there will be a move back to black and white and photographers will go back to the dark room.
Her philosophy of photography:
This was a total fan session. We all clapped and whistled for ages and we all loved Marti’s idea that she might put an advertisement in the paper saying she would be at a certain place at a certain to take people’s photographs in order to capture the diversity of Auckland today.
31 August 2009
Christchurch City Libraries will be hosting a display of Ilford Shield Secondary Schools Photography Competition finalists at the Central Library from September 7 to 18. The show is on the First Floor and is an opportunity to see some of the most promising young photographers in New Zealand.
This is the 40th year of the competition and attracted 800 entries. It is organised by the Nature Photography Society of NZ on behalf of the Photographic Society of New Zealand and sponsored by C.R. Kennedy and UCOL, Universal College of Learning.
In 1967, PSNZ member Dick Poole started a series of photography classes for secondary students in Christchurch. Dick was so impressed with the work produced, that he suggested to Len Casbolt, who was then working for HE Perry Ltd wholesalers of Ilford products, that there should be a photographic competition exclusively for secondary students.
The idea of an inter-secondary school competition to encourage photographers came to fruition in 1969 with a the donation of a handsome shield and reimbursement of competition running costs by H E Perry Ltd.The PSNZ organised the Ilford Shield event, modelling it on a similar one run by Ilford Ltd in Australia.
At first it was restricted to monochrome prints, but later included colour prints and slides. The three original sections were ‘people, places and animals’, but by 2000 were changed ‘open, creative and digital’. The Digital imaging section was added in 2001. Then as digital has become widely used, the classes were reduced to two, Open and Digital Creative Effects.
The school gaining the highest aggregate receives the Ilford Shield. Various prizes of photographic equipment are given to the place-getters and the winning school.
The first winners, in 1969 were Christ’s College, Christchurch.
The Len Casbolt Trophy is for the overall Champion Print from both classes.
22 April 2009
I do love a big glossy coffee table tome. Particularly if it features photographs of designer items that I will never in a million years be able to afford. I may never own a pair of Manolos but certainly I can gaze upon images of them and sigh.
New to library shelves, and destined for the coffee tables of under-funded fashionistas everywhere, are several titles that feature such drool-worthy photographs.
26 November 2008
Hounded by authorities because of taxes, left-leaning politics and a liking for young ladies, the once adored comic Charlie Chaplin split the United States in 1952. On his last day in the country, he finally consented to his portrait being taken by the noted fashion photographer Richard Avedon. Avedon had been keen to take Chaplin’s photo for many years, but the actor continually declined. After a full day’s shooting, Chaplin gave Avedon the perfect, spontaneous photo. Head down, fingers aside his head like devil horns, he grins at the camera. It’s an unforgettable image, both humourous and political. Chaplin’s goodbye to the States is one of the most memorable in Performance, a new collection of Avedon portraits. The subjects are all leading performance artists, and while you may recognise the names, many of these images have never been published before. Avedon had an ability to really capture the vitality of his subjects, and these photographs all possess a charming lack of inhibition.
The Avedon book has really fancy packaging and will look great laying on your coffee table for a couple of weeks. Indeed, big, glossy photography books abound at the moment. The other one I’m poring over is Vanity Fair the portraits : a century of iconic images. Vanity Fair has a well established reputation as a stylish chronicle of society, so this celebration of their most famous sitters was always going to be good. Considerable thought has gone into the juxtaposition of the images and the result makes leafing through the pages more thought provoking. I especially liked the placing of covergirl Kate Moss, gorgeous in a Marlene Dietrich style tuxedo, facing a page with a photo of La Dietrich herself.