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:
- Black and white and processing her own work in the darkroom
- The joy of being utterly mobile
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.
15 May 2010
This session with Dick Frizzell (Dick Frizzell: The Painter, John Reynolds (Certain Words Drawn) and Ian Wedde was one of the most relaxed and unassuming sessions I have attended so far. I took it as a good omen that in a sea of arty black, the man who sat in front of me wore a brilliant pink and orange striped shirt – and it was.
No doubt about it, the art boys and the word boys come from two different galaxies. Both Frizzell and John Reynolds have however achieved a remarkable crossover in the art books they have just produced. They have turned books about art into art works in their own right. The art book publishing world will never be the same again. Reynolds referred to this as getting ahead of the pack in terms of biographical writing by “starting the distortion process on your own terms”.
Reynolds introduced a theory that I think every librarian will buy into. He maintains that proximity alone to great art works or books or objects of beauty will cause “the molecules to twitch”. All you have to do is be in its presence or “rub yourself against it” and the benefits will accrue. This is heartening for all of us who have looked at customers streaming past everything that libraries have to offer to sit glued to their facebook page on the computer. This does not mean that we have to push the users against the books Dean, or hide the computers behind piles of classics but rather that just being in the library environment itself could be life enhancing.
The final masterstroke for me was when Frizzell revealed that he is involved in the branding of the up-and-coming Rugby World Cup in 2011. For the first time I find myself looking forward to this event!!