Photomontage – six photography exhibitions

John Stone Whina Cooper 1989 courtesy of the artist and Northern Advocate
Alan Bekhuis Aroha 2011 daguerreotype courtesy of the artist


Photomontage – a suite of six photography exhibitions

curated by Whangarei Art Museum

Scott Pothan and Ruth Green-Cole

11 June – 5 August 2012

  • Enquiring Eye – John Stone celebrates 30 years capturing Northland News
  • Reflecting Mana – Alan Bekhuis a contemporary daguerreotype portrait installation. Courtesy of McNamara Gallery, Whanganui
  • Central Otago – Grahame Sydney photographs from his recent book
  • Fundamental Series – Di Ffrench innovative cibachrome photographs from the 1980’s (both courtesy of Artis Gallery, Auckland)
  • The Optimist’s House – Cathy Tuato’o Ross recent photographic series
  • The Drummond and Te Wake Collections – selected images from this historic collection at the art museum and an installation display of cameras and the history of photography

Coinciding with Auckland Festival of Photography June 2012

In June the art museum has scheduled Photomontage - a suite of six exhibitions which focus on photography from the 19th century to the present day.

A key part of the exhibition is celebrating the Northern Advocate’s award winning Chief Photographer John Stone’s career. In June he celebrates his 30th anniversary at the newspaper. John has had a remarkable career documenting the daily life of Northland; the elation, tragedy and special moments of our contemporary history over the past 30 years. Some of his most seminal images from the controversial Springbok Tour in 1981 to the present day are selected from hundreds of photographs – thirty for each of his thirty years of dedication to composing and capturing the most compelling image. Each has its own story and John will recall anecdotes for each of the selected images.

Also included in Photomontage is an eclectic group of exhibitions, curated to showcase the diversity and history of photographic development from daguerreotypes, to dry glass-plate negatives, digital, art and documentary photography. There are images selected from the Drummond and Te Wake pictorial collections housed at the art museum. A ‘dark room’ installation of contemporary daguerreotypes called Reflecting Mana by Alan Bekhuis; stunning photographic images from the ‘sold out’ publication Central Otago by Grahame Sydney; a breathtakingly beautiful series of male torso’s by the late Di Ffrench from the 1980’s and Northland photographer Cathy Tuato’o Ross’ most recent The Optimist’s House series. There are images from the art museum collection of photography from Laurence Aberhart and Eric Lee Johnson.

The exhibition will also detail a history of photography with examples of the many types of camera utilized over the past century. In New Zealand, photography arrived with the early settlers. The daguerreotype – the first form of captured- image photography had only been invented in 1835 by Louis Daguerre. Alan Bekhuis brings this history full-circle with his re-invention of daguerreotype technology in light-box displays of very contemporary Maori men and women – Reflecting Mana.

The colony’s first camera clubs were established in 1888 in Nelson followed rapidly by the main regional and metropolitan centres including Whangarei in 1910. Well-known local painters, Thomas Louden Drummond, Adele Younghusband and George Woolley were all involved in photography in early Whangarei from 1910 to the Great Depression when studio photography became far too expensive for most families.

In the age of mass imagery Facebook and Flickr it is hard to imagine a time when professional photographers roamed the streets, fairgrounds and race-days taking random photographs of the public and handing out their business cards to sell their captured wares. Or a time when families saved up all year, dressed to impress and booked a session at the local photographic studio for the family portrait. Photography was a luxury and the realm of the educated amateur with means. The invention of the Kodak Box Brownie in 1900 finally made the camera affordable, immediate and accessible and image-making the new democracy. Photomontage takes a free-wheeling and eclectic sweep through the remarkable history of photography to the present day with stunning images.

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Written by

Whangārei Art Museum

1 Jul 2012

The Whangārei Art Museum Te Manawa Toi is the public art gallery of the Whangārei District, and custodians of its art collection and public art works in the city.