By Gregory O'Brien
Photography was invented in France in 1839 – the year before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in New Zealand. Within a few years, cameras were charting the life and times of people at this end of the planet. See What I Can See is a celebration of that remarkable, well-travelled, ever-changing invention – the camera – the New Zealand that it captured, and the artists who wielded it.
See What I Can See is a book about darkness and light, about careful planning and doing things on the spur of the moment, about the quickness of digital photography and the slowness of old technology. It’s a woman driving a tractor and a kid in a Colgate tube, a rock at Ngauruhoe and a Wahine survivor on a truck, it’s surfies and selfies and cabbages the size of kings. The book also presents a picture of a country – Aotearoa New Zealand – living its life, dreaming its dreams and taking care of its day-to-day business.
Caption: Max Oettli, Department Store, Auckland, 1972
See What I Can See is an introduction to New Zealand photography that will appeal to young and curious photographers, students of New Zealand art history, or anyone who wants to sample the extraordinary range of images made in this country by our photographers.
Caption: Mary Macpherson, Desks, Auckland 2014
For more photos, things to do now and further links, go to www.chartwell.org.nz/About/ChartwellPatronage/SeeWhatICanSee.aspx
Something About Gregory...
Magpie-minded poet, painter, curator and critic; based in Wellington, he ranges widely.
Gregory O’Brien spent much of his early life in Auckland, where he trained as a journalist and worked as a newspaper reporter in Northland before returning to study art history and English at The University of Auckland. He migrated south to Wellington in 1990, where he still lives with his partner, poet Jenny Bornholdt.
As an artist, O’Brien has held solo exhibitions and participated in group shows in Auckland, Wellington and elsewhere. He has illustrated the work of other New Zealand writers – among them C. K. Stead, Elizabeth Smither, Bill Manhire and Michael King. His artworks can be found on book covers in New Zealand, Australia, England, Germany, Holland and Russia.
Chelsey is pleased to offer our viewers a chance to win a copy of See What I Can See: New Zealand Photography for the Young and Curious $34.99. To enter, simply head over to our The Lounge Forum to make a decent contribution to finalise your entry. Make sure you check out next weeks Newsletter to see if you're one of our winners.
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