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Robin Morrison – grand landscapes

26 January 2005

Robin Morrison – grand landscapes

A sweeping tribute to the beauty and diversity of the New Zealand landscape and the indisputable talent of photographer Robin Morrison goes on display at the Auckland Museum from Friday, 28 January.

The exhibition of 60 selected works is being held in collaboration with SKYCITY to celebrate the forthcoming opening of the SKYCITY Grand Hotel which will feature three unique Robin Morrison prints in every room. The prints will be produced from the artist’s life work consisting of 100,000 images, held by the Auckland Museum, and representing one of New Zealand’s most comprehensive photographic collections.

Robin Morrison (1944-1993) is New Zealand’s best know photographer. Until his death he was generally regarded as this country’s most prestigious lensman. He worked in Australia, Fiji, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe, Indonesia and India, as well as New Zealand. His favoured medium was the book. He produced or contributed to over 30 books as well as numerous calendars; his coloured works including A Sense of Place, the award winning The South Island of New Zealand from the Road and his collaborations with Keri Hulme on Homeplaces and Michael King on A Land Apart and The Coromandel. He supplied images for a range of national and international magazines and was commissioned for various projects by Readers Digest, Thames and Hudson, Air New Zealand and Telecom. For 12 years he was the Auckland photographer for the New Zealand Listener and was awarded a New Zealand Commission Medal in 1990 for his service to photography. Prior to his death Robin Morrison and his family donated his collection to the Auckland Museum.

Robin Morrison – Grand Landscapes displays images of New Zealand scenery as viewed from the road. From Stewart Island to the Coromandel to the Chatham Islands and more. Gordon Maitland, Curator Pictorial Collections, notes that the locations captured were never far from the photographer’s car so there is nearly always evidence of human habitation. He was concerned with recording how New Zealanders altered the appearance of the country to reflect their sense of place. He was attracted to eccentric characters and rustic or rural subjects which expressed the notion of living on the edge of society, and eschewed the merely picturesque or scenic spots. Robin Morrison was aware of his artistic responsibility as a documentary photographer to record a land and society which would change forever. He achieved this with a generosity of spirit, a healthy dose of humour and a strong sense of form and colour.

“… I was interested in characters, and what people have wrought, quite as much as I was interested in the marvels of the landscape… This is my country. Exploring it visually, and sharing my explorations with others, is my life’s work. I have no other country and no other task.” Robin Morrison in Godwits Return, 1992.

Robin Morrison – Grand Landscapes is showing in the Pictorial Gallery until 13 March 2005.


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