Marti Friedlander Photographs
31 May - 11 August 2002
"I compiled an image album of New Zealanders going about their everyday lives. Everything I saw then seemed extraordinary....I also sensed that I was capturing a world that would change over the next decade or so..." - Marti Friedlander
A flock of sheep blocking the road; rows of state houses in a new subdivision; an idyllic beach holiday in the Coromandel - nothing out of the ordinary for New Zealanders. But when Marti Friedlander arrived here in 1958, fresh from London and Europe, she found these images exciting and unusual. So began her interest in capturing the changing face of post-war New Zealand society and landscape, an enterprise that has won her acclaim over the past 40 years.
This survey exhibition features around 150 photographs, including her renowned images of New Zealand artists, and the portraits of elderly Maori women with moko. Like a number of other photographic series in this exhibition, these portraits resulted in a landmark publication: Moko: The Art of Maori Tatooing. This was undertaken with Michael King in 1970 and is considered one of the greatest photo essays in this country's photographic history. The exhibition, touring from the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, is divided into seven themed sections: New Zealand and New Zealanders (I & II); Wine (exploring this country's wine industry and vineyards); Art & Artists; Israel; Protest; Pacific and Kuia Moko Kauwae. The photographs date from a 1961 view of tourists near the Routeburn Track - attired in their Sunday best - to anti-nucelar protesters in Auckland Domain (1983).
As an 'outsider', Marti Friedlander was keenly aware of the changes taking place in New Zealand society during the 1960s and 70s. Curator Ron Brownson writes that she was the first camera-artist to independently document post-war New Zealand in this way. She depicts the often fraught process of Maori and Polynesian urbanisation, the growth of suburbs, and the burgeoning protest movement. Her famous images of artists such as Rita Angus, Tony Fomison and Michael Illingworth distinguish her as one of New Zealand's great portrait artists and display her preference for available natural light in her work. Her sense of humanity and the enduring sensitivity to the relationships between people can be seen throughout the exhibition. The exhibition is accompanied by a 180 page illustrated catalogue. Curator Ron Brownson and Marti Friedlander will give talks on the exhibition in July. Check www.city-gallery.org.nz for details.
Marti Friedlander was born in London in 1928, of Jewish descent. From 1946 to 1957 she worked as assistant to Gordon Crocker and Douglas Glass at their portrait and fashion studio in Kensington. It was not until 1957 and her travels in Europe and Israel that she started taking her own photographs. She married New Zealander Gerrard Friedlander in 1957, and settled in Auckland in 1958, where she began working as a freelance photographer in 1964. From 1964 to 1979 she travelled New Zealand photographing artists. She has travelled in Israel, the Pacific and Japan. She was awarded the Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit for services to photography in 1999.
Marti Friedlander Photographs is a touring exhibition organised by the Auckland Art Gallery. The exhibition is supported by Creative New Zealand and sponsored by Aalto Colour, and the tour is sponsored by Spicers Strategic Financial Advice. City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding from the Wellington City Council. Publicist: Anne Irving T: 04 801 3959 / F: 04 801 3096 / E: firstname.lastname@example.org