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Photography At The National Library

17 March 2006

Phabulous Photography At The National Library Gallery

7 April to 16 July 2006

Within Memory Aspects of New Zealand documentary photography 1960-2000 From the collections of the Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library, and the National Library Gallery

Verbatim* revelation to oblivion Words and books as seen by New Zealand photographers From the McNamara Gallery, Wanganui

WITHIN MEMORY Aspects of New Zealand documentary photography 1960-2000 >From the collections of the Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library, and the National Library Gallery

The images in the Gallery's new exhibition of documentary photography come from a period in our social history that will be 'within memory' for most visitors to the Gallery.

Within Memory will concentrate on portfolios of work as well as work from individuals who either documented their personal interests or were employed to take the photographs. Some of the material has been seen in previous exhibitions at the National Library Gallery, but much will be new.

Images on show will include Bernie Robinson's documentation of the exteriors of New Zealand pubs from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Peter Sharp's photographic essay of stock car racing, and Paul Thompson's wonderful record of the New Zealand bach, which was published as a book in the 1980s.

Smaller centres in New Zealand will be shown in the form of Paul Hewson's telling record of his hometown of Hawera in the 1970s.

Christopher Matthew's Citizens of Napier portfolio from the 1980s, together with the Post Offices series commissioned by the Alexander Turnbull Library, give a strong sense of the social changes that took place during that period. The Post Offices series records the period just prior to the closure of many of its small-town and local branches, and the images are redolent with the sense of loss to these communities.

Within Memory will display only a tiny portion of the Library's vast pictorial collections, but was designed to highlight some of the more recent documentary heritage material that the National Library is mandated to collect, preserve and make publicly available.

VERBATIM. . . REVELATION TO OBLIVION Words and books as seen by New Zealand photographers >From the McNamara Gallery, Wanganui

Verbatim*revelation to oblivion is a particularly apt exhibition for the National Library Gallery because it brings together a selection of works by New Zealand photographers who have taken words and books as their inspiration.

Moving through the exhibition reminds the viewer of what an immense place words hold in our visual landscape. The images captured in the show range from the documentary to the abstract, from political to the poetic, from John Daley's 1973 photograph of placard-bearing marchers in the Auckland Domain to Peter Peryer's characteristic manipulation of shape and scale in a closely-cropped image of a page of Braille.

Curator Paul McNamara says that he has used the texts captured in the works to form a loose narrative guide for the show. Following the literary theme, Paul says he has 'punctuated' the often evocative phrases and snippets of text featured in some of the photographs ('Please Sir, Please Sir' in Ans Westra's photograph of M*ori protestors, the word 'Pakeha' written on the palm of a hand in a work by Ben Cauchi) with works by other photographers that depict books in various settings, such as Ann Shelton's photograph of a collection of wallpaper-bound crime books held in the Puke Ariki Museum.

Verbatim offers visitors an unusual thematic survey of work by some of New Zealand's best-known established photographers and most exciting emerging photographers. The artists featured in Verbatim are: Laurence Aberhart, Peter Black, Gary Blackman, Rhondda Bosworth, Ben Cauchi, Bruce Connew, John Daley, Hayden Fritchley, Derek Henderson, Anne Noble, Fiona Pardington, Neil Pardington, Peter Peryer, Natalie Robertson, Ann Shelton, Hamish Tocher, Ans Westra, Wayne Wilson.

Paul McNamara originally curated Verbatim for the Lopdell House Gallery in Titirangi. It comes to Wellington with an accompanying publication and essay by curator and writer Peter Simpson.


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