When David Cook moved to Hamilton East, he was drawn to the colourful and creative lives of his neighbours. With camera in hand, he explored everything from front-yard mechanics to Sunday roasts, creating an intimate documentary of a State Housing suburb in the 1990s, moments before gentrification set in. In this energetic photobook, we look back twenty-five years to see burgeoning issues of relevance today: housing, bi-cultural relations, social welfare, and freshwater quality, all brought to us through the lens of daily life.
The title, Jellicoe & Bledisloe, is a reference to the local street names, commemorating New Zealand Governors General from the early twentieth century. Reflecting on this colonial heritage, Cook writes an engaging first-person account of the suburb, featuring a conversation with Ngaati Wairere historian Wiremu Puke. Together they unearth suppressed histories and rewrite our understanding of the Waikato landscape.
Te Papa Tongarewa holds a significant collection of photographs from this series. The work is also featured in an exhibition Jellicoe & Bledisloe: Hamilton in the 90s – David Cook at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery / Te Pūkenga Whakaata, Wellington (24 Feb – 15 May 2022).
David Cook’s photo-documentaries deal with communities in transition. Publications include Lake of Coal: the Disappearance of a Mining Township (finalist in the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards), Meet me in the Square: Christchurch 1983-1987 (winner of the 2015 MAPDA Exhibition Catalogue Award – major) and River Road: Journeys through Ecology.
Jellicoe & Bledisloe: Hamilton in the 90s – David Cook
Wednesday, 23 February 2022 10:00 am – Sunday, 15 May 2022 11:00 am
New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata Shed 11, 60 Lady Elizabeth Lane Wellington New Zealand (map)
When photographer David Cook moved into Hamilton East, he was drawn to the colourful, creative and chaotic lives of his neighbours. With camera in hand, he explored back-yard mechanics to Sunday roasts, inventing an intimate documentary of a State Housing suburb in the 90s, moments before gentrification set in.
Books will be available from this site from February 25th.
Road People of Aotearoa: Images of house-truck journeys 1978-1984 Photographs by Paul C Gilbert
Foreword by Michael Colonna Essays by Haru Sameshima and John B Turner
A historic photo-essay by the late Paul C. Gilbert, this book chronicles the early days of the New Zealand phenomenon of DIY house trucks, which appeared on the roads around the mid-1970s as part of an alternative lifestyle movement. The house-truckers were drawn to the alternative life and music festivals of the time, including Nambassa in the late 1970s and Sweetwaters festivals in the early 1980s. Paul Gilbert travelled with the grass-roots music and performance troupes in their convoys of hand-converted house trucks starting with ‘The Original Travelling Road Show and Mahana’, as they journeyed through small communities and music festivals around the North Island.
Paul Gilbert’s camera intimately observes the road people while building and decorating the house trucks with their wonderful interiors and also in their everyday activities. He captures their children and families and the fringe circus and musical performances in various festivals and different locations. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, many house truck conventions and grass-roots festivals around a variety of themes were held in New Zealand where house-truckers would converge, not only for the event but for the opportunity to connect and share information with other truckers. Low-key festival circuits could be found in regions of Coromandel, Northland, and West Auckland, where, for two decades, Moller’s farm at Oratia west of Auckland, a popular venue for blues and folk festivals, offered an open house for truckers to park on a semi-permanent basis as needed. These were unique times indeed.
Paul C Gilbert (1954-2019) started taking photographs as a young boy via family influences. Early projects were developed as documentary street photography in the fine arts tradition when he was a founder member of PhotoForum NZ in 1973. He was employed as a photographer at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and then at the Auckland City Art Gallery in the 1970s. He left employment to pursue the project, ‘Road People of Aotearoa’ in 1978. Later, as an independent photographer, he mainly specialised in documenting maritime heritage, vessels and history. He was the technical instructor of photography at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland from 1990 to 2008.
Haru Sameshima, in his essay, interviews many of the house truckers – to uncover the historical context of the musicians and street performers against the backdrop of the latter stages of the alternative life movement that manifested in the festivals and events in Paul’s photo-essay. The musicians, clowns, street performers, and their friends, who have now seen many of Paul’s photographs for the first time after 40 years, recount the festivals and road journeys in their own words. John B Turner, influential photography teacher at Elam School of Fine Arts from 1971 to 2011 – in his essay reflects upon Paul’s life as an individual and a photographer – and situates his image-making in the international movement of personal documentary photography, as an embedded observer of life, rather than outsider reporter/photojournalist.
Without a counterculture, what chance has the mainstream culture of improving, growing and diversifying? As well as being vehicles of imagination, poetry and a romantic life-concept, the vehicles photographed by Paul Gilbert have become a far greater force in the country’s evolving consciousness than anyone ever expected. In the present era of small houses and mobile homes, these images offer not only a prehistory but also a soundtrack and some messages worth deciphering, written with love on the fugitive walls and ceilings of the not-so-distant past.
ENTOURAGE: aka Physical Distance Theory, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Videogames
by Tim J. Veling
Self-published artist book from Otautahi Christchurch. Available from Rim Books in limited quantity.
Author of Red Bus Diary (2006), Veling began photographing his home city of Christchurch well before the 2010-11 quakes changed the CBD forever. Since then, for the full decade, he has amassed passionate and personal observations of the transformation and rebuild, publishing many photobooks and portfolios via www.placeintime.org, a multi-platform project facilitating and promoting documentary work about Christchurch and a cross-section of its people. Place … Continue reading →
Hinemihi: Te Hokinga – The Return
Hamish Coney and Dr Keri-Anne Wikitera
with contributions by Jim Schuster, Lyonel Grant and photographs by Mark Adams
The journey of the carved house Hinemihi o Te Ao Tawhito (Hinemihi of the old world) is one defined by cataclysmic events and the unpredictability of elemental forces. Continue reading →
Carbon Empire works in the space between art and documentary photography.
It combines a short series of staged photographs of a ‘man in the street’ made in 1997 with images of closed petrol stations photographed between 2003 and 2017.
Carbon Empire is a juxtaposition of these two series of photographs and a single image, made by chance in 2002.
The closed petrol stations reflect the effects of petroleum law changes across New Zealand. In 1988, the petroleum sector became deregulated, with the large international wholesalers able … Continue reading →
The publication An urban quest for chlorophyll aims to discuss projects that engage with the cultural mediation of nature in an urban context. Architects, designers and town planners all consider the role played by green spaces within the urban terrain, from parks to abstractions such as berms and planters. The design of public urban space always takes this into account. How do these injections of chlorophyll function? If they have no possibility of simulating the rural, why are we compelled to ‘drag the pot-plant into the office’ or … Continue reading →
THINKING IT THROUGH Tony Watkins Haruhiko Sameshima
Thinking it through was originally published in Home and Building from 1988 to 1996 when Kirsty Robertson, then editor for “Home and Building” invited Tony Watkins, who had for many years been a contributor to the magazine, to begin a new column called simply, “Thinking it through”. She also invited Haruhiko Sameshima to contribute a photograph for each column. Haru had never met Tony. For each issue Tony sent an article to Haru and Haru replied with a photograph. Tony in turn responded to each photograph with another article in the … Continue reading →
THE FRENCH PLACE IN THE BAY OF ISLANDS Essays from Pompallier’s Printery Edited by Kate Martin and Brad Mercer
The building, known today as Pompallier, is New Zealand’s sole surviving pioneer mission printery of any denomination. In 1841 printing presses and plant arrived from France at the Roman Catholic headquarters in Kororareka Russell. This impressive and elegant, two-storied French colonial building was completed in 1842 to house a print workshop and has been a landmark feature of the Bay of Islands ever since.
The seemingly disparate subjects presented in this book by authors from such a range … Continue reading →