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NZ's greatest unrecognised photogapher of c20

Mahara Gallery Kapiti Coast
Press Release 31 October 2005
For immediate release


A new book reveals New Zealand’s ‘greatest unrecognised photogapher of the 20th century...’

SONGS OF INNOCENCE: Photographs of a New Zealand Childhood by John Pascoe
Edited by Janet Bayly
Pacific Press/Mahara Gallery

…is being launched at the new Paraparaumu Public Library at 5pm on 5 November. The guest speaker is photography curator and writer, Peter Ireland.


John Pascoe (1908-1972) has been described as New Zealand's greatest unrecognised photographer of the 20th century. Yet he was the first of a handful of practitioners (including Brian Brake, Ans Westra and Marti Friedlander) who developed documentary photography in New Zealand between 1940 and 1965.

A poetic distillation from the Pascoe family archive, Songs of Innocence foregrounds Pascoe's private photography revealing a nuanced record of the early lives of his four daughters. An intimate portrait of family life in New Zealand during the 1940s and 1950s emerges from more than 60 delightful photographs, most of which have not been seen outside the family.

In her essay, Janet Bayly, considers this body of work alongside Pascoe's public work and gives us the most complete and insightful account yet of this key figure in New Zealand's photographic history.

Janet Bayly has been involved with photography for over thirty years. In 1985 she co-authored the book Witness to Change: Photographs 1940-1965, which first brought Pascoe’s photographs to wider public attention. It was during that project that she first met John Pascoe’s widow, Dorothy. Nearly 20 years later they found themselves in the same neighbourhood at Paraparaumu Beach. With Kapiti’s Mahara Gallery Director, Gerald Barnett, being a John Pascoe ‘fan’, it was only a matter of time before a Pascoe exhibition and book were being developed. Janet Bayly interviewed Dorothy Pascoe and daughter Sarah (whose photograph is on the book’s cover) extensively for the project and their contemporary voices accompany John Pascoe’s words drawn from letters, journals and articles.

Songs of Innocence, is John Pascoe’s first solo exhibition. It opened at the Auckland War Memorial Museum in 2004 and will have been seen in 12 venues by the end of 2006. It will be at Mahara Gallery from 17 December 2005.

Mahara Gallery, Kapiti's District Gallery, Waikanae


ENDS

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