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Macro Asia: a photography by Aaron Beck

Macro Asia: a photographic exhibition by Aaron Beck
Opens at Wellington Arts Centre Gallery on 30 June

Wellington's new arts centre will formally open in late July, but things are already abuzz in the Abel Smith Street location. Local photographer Aaron Beck will install a new exhibition, Macro Asia, in the arts centre gallery in late June. The show, which will be on view from June 30 to July 16, includes twenty of the artist's exquisite images.

"They are all what I call alternate scenes and portraits," said Beck, who shot the pictures while travelling in Southeast Asia and China in 2004. Beck's photographs have been printed to 12 x 18 inch size and block mounted on solid panels. "These are intimate studies of insects, people, and places in Asia, and are my attempt to capture something special about their character and personality."

One of Beck's latest projects was shooting all the macro-photography motion picture work for the new Shihad music video, "All the Young Fascists," currently airing in New Zealand and Australia.

"I also produced animated effects for that using a scanning electron microscope from Victoria University, and worked closely with the main producer, Mark Albiston and Sticky Pictures," he said. The result is a most unusual video in a sea of more mundane and banal music video offerings.
It was a visit to the Sticky Pictures office, now located on the top floor of the Wellington Arts Centre, that solidified the idea for Beck's first solo gallery exhibition.

"I got my first camera in early 2004, and have been building up a body of work and experimenting in extreme close-up photography ever since," said Beck. "When I saw the new arts centre and gallery space, I thought it would be an ideal setting for this collection of my recent work."

Beck, already an established illustrator and graphic artist, sees unlimited potential in his new craft. To establish the right technique, the artist modifies his photographic hardware, adapts lenses, and engineers new lighting effects.

"He's what you might call super-creative," said Wellington City Council community arts co-ordinator Eric Holowacz, "always in search of new approaches, interesting subjects, and innovative ways to express the world. Aaron represents the next generation of Wellington artists who will shape and advance New Zealand culture."

One of the primary objectives of the new arts centre is to support young and emerging artists in Wellington. The facility's 28 studios are already populated by creative people and contemporary artists, and many of the workshops and meeting rooms have been booked out by creative organisations.

Besides being young, creative, and ambitious, Beck is also a humanitarian at heart. Proceeds from the gallery sales will go to support disaster relief and charities working in Southeast Asia.

"I left Thailand four days before the tsunami, and it would mean a lot to me to give something back to all of those inspiring people and places," said Beck, "especially after such a massive tragedy."

Other local businesses who have supported Beck, his exhibition, and relief mission are Wellington Photographic Supplies, The Package, Printlink, Imagelab, Big Image Print, RadioActive, and Wellington City Council.
The public is invited to the exhibition opening of MacroAsia by Aaron Beck on 30 June from 6 to 8pm. The reception will be hosted by local hip-hop visionary and musician Imon Star. The exhibition will be on view at the new Wellington Arts Centre through 16 July.

The first stage of the new Wellington Arts Centre was opened this past April at 61 Abel Smith Street. The entire facility, comprising two former Board of Education buildings in the Te Aro neighbourhood, will be fully completed in late July. The arts centre will comprise a gallery, 28 artist studios, rehearsal and music rooms, darkroom, project room, and offices for some of New Zealand's leading arts organisations and cultural producers. Contact the arts centre office on 04-385-1929 or


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