How would you describe your photographic style?
The images from my most recent body of work Sites Unseen, could be described as visual documents, where photography provides the framework through which to capture final moments in the history of selected architectural sites.
My works operate in a documentary-style, recording moments of change in the local urban landscape capturing the space where obsolescence and regeneration cross paths. The images aren’t solely recording the indexical markers of a site’s past occupation, they’re also attempting to capture experiential qualities and the character of the space - those haptic and atmospheric qualities which are the fusion of many sensory experiences that complete a space.
My work talks explicitly about New Zealand; of historical and contemporary narratives, surrounding themes of historic preservation of architecture, urban regeneration, New Zealand Modernism, émigré history and migration and our relationship to local cultural history.
Installation View Sites Unseen 2019
What did it mean to you to be a part of Capture Community & Auckland Festival of Photography?
Taking part in Capture Community and the Auckland Festival of Photography was a unique opportunity to connect with other artists working with lens-based media and to collaborate in a project, with our individual interpretations of the same brief.
The opportunity to join the vibrant creative community that is Comet Project Space, led by founder Bobbie Gray, is also invaluable as a supportive space for artists, which encourages dynamic collaborations promoting new and innovative ideas.
Civic Administration Building, 2017
What has been the most challenging thing you’ve faced in your creative practice so far?
One of the issues in question for my practice has been around the positioning of my work and where it sits in art-world terms. The relationship between my photographs as trace/document and the photograph as artwork. It’s a complex conversation, where photography’s engagement with its subject matter is always inevitably intertwined. Editing, context and presentation also influences the perception of the work and its connection to its historical narratives and cultural issues.
This era of digitization has seen an exponential increase in the visual exchange of images where the evidentiary value of the photographic image is challenged, changing the boundaries of a documentary practice. So in this contemporary moment where definitions of documentary and photography are in continual flux, I use the term documentary-style loosely in describing my image-making which attempts to adhere to a veracity, close to the original thing that I’m photographing.
Untitled, Capture Community Exhibition, Comet Project Space
What’s next on the horizon for you?
Shooting film is something I’m keen to do some experimenting with. Since another challenge for me has been making editing decisions from a large collection of images. The limitations of using film and having only a fixed number of exposures, will be really testing and a great discipline – hopefully encouraging me to be more selective when shooting.
I’m constantly scouting for potential sites to research and photograph which involves a lot of perseverance and often long campaigns of letter-writing. Locating a site with the perfect window in which to gain access can be challenging, especially where there are OSH restrictions and limited access opportunities.
Fosters & Co, 2018
Finally, what is one piece of advice you have received or would like to give that has guided you in your career?
Photography, like all creative practices requires dedication and ongoing application. The most valuable advice I received as an undergraduate student was to ‘make, make, make’ – continue to shoot, and to make work. Along-side making, researching and constantly and learning from other practitioners and writers who stimulate creative inspiration.
Installation View Sites Unseen 2019