Shining Land: Looking for Robin Hyde

Shining Land: Looking for Robin Hyde

Paula Morris and Haru Sameshima
Published by Massey University Press

Shining Land: Looking for Robin Hyde brings together award-winning novelist Paula Morris and seasoned photographer Haru Sameshima. It is the second in the kōrero series of picture books edited by Lloyd Jones, written and made for grown-ups, and designed to showcase leading New Zealand writers and artists working together in a collaborative and dynamic way.

In Shining Land Morris and Sameshima focus on the New Zealand journalist, poet, fiction writer and war correspondent Robin Hyde, exploring three locations important to her difficult life and ground-breaking work. This beautifully considered small book richly rewards the reader and stretches the notion of what the book can do.

‘Like the best picture books, Shining Land is short and physically beautiful; the narrative and the images are inseparable and entirely complementary; it’s a book to read in a single sitting, and return to. And, like the best picture books, it opens up vistas well beyond its relatively modest scale.’ — Sarah Shieff, Academy of New Zealand Literature

“As I try to write about Shining Land my words keep breaking its incandescent magic (shining), its accumulating moods. The photographs are uncanny, eerie, both empty and full, empty of human presence because Robin is missing and missed. The storm chasers outside the frame. I keep imagining Robin entering the scene. I like that. When I look at the shot of Rangitoto ki te Tonga D’Urville Island and Te Aumiti French Pass from French Pass Road with gloomy skies and greys I become grey state. I like this so much. How can I speak? This is where pregnant Robin posed as a married woman, before moving to Picton and then back to Wellington with her secret baby and and her secret heartache. I am on the pass looking down at the grey isolation. I will never know Robin, I will never be in Robin’s shoes, but I feel. And that is what Paula and Haru do. They feel Robin in the depths of their looking and their making. It is contagious.”–– Paula Green, NZ Poetry Shelf

ISBN: 9780995131828
Massey University Press
12/11/2020 96pp 257 x 200 mm Hard cover

RRP $40

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Eric Lee-Johnson: Artist with a Camera

Eric Lee-Johnson: Artist with a Camera

John B Turner

Monograph of the Artist’s camera work provides an overview of his career with special attention to his photographs from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Tritone prints were made directly from the originals held at Te Papa.

Eric Albert Lee-Johnson (1908–1993) was a prominent New Zealand artist and photographer. Lee-Johnson was born in Suva, Fiji and moved to New Zealand in 1912 with his parents. As a child he showed an unusual gift for drawing and he entered Auckland’s Elam School of Art where he remained from 1923-1926. At 18 he joined newspaper publishers Wilson & Horton’s printing department and within a year was in charge of the studio and working a lithograph artist and illustrator. In 1930 he sailed for London, England. He spent eight years in London, from the age of 21 working as designer and typographer with the large advertising agency S.H. Benson. He studied lithography at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts and attended Charles Porter life classes at the Central School of Art and Design in London. His work from 1931-36 was influenced by contemporary German typography, graphics and poster design in Europe In 1938 he accepted a contract from Illott’s Advertising Agency in Wellington and returned to New Zealand. He immediately rejoined the art scene and, in 1939, he was elected a member of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts serving a term on the Committee of Management, National Art Gallery. His health broke down and after more than two years in Pukeora sanatorium he left the commercial world and with his wife and son went to live the simple life at Piha and become a full-time painter. Lee-Johnson lived in various parts of New Zealand from 1942 to 1960 including Coromandel and the Hokianga, and his non-figurative abstract paintings date from this time. In the 1950s a series of his North New Zealand paintings and topographical drawings recording the architecture of some surviving early wooden buildings, set off a whole romantic movement in New Zealand art. In 1956 he became the first New Zealand painter of his generation to have a monograph published on his work. Public awareness of his painting was further increased in 1956 and 1957, when a short documentary film about his work was seen in public theatres throughout the country. Changes in the landscape, pacific images and the inclusion of found objects such as shells and stones were themes running through his work throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Lee-Johnson is represented in all major collections throughout the country, including the national art collection at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, all public galleries and the Hocken Library and Alexander Turnbull Library. A retrospective exhibition of his paintings and drawings toured New Zealand in 1981-82. In addition to his painting Eric Lee-Johnson was also a freelance photographer who documented the daily life of New Zealanders from the early 1950s through to the 1970s. His photographs were as widely known as his paintings – including images of Opo the Dolphin, and scenes of New Zealand life. Lee-Johnson had intended his photography to form a picture library the use of which would finance his art. The collection of tens of thousands of negatives and the copyright was purchased by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in 1997 – four years after his death.

PhotoForum 64/65: Eric Lee-Johnson – Artist with a Camera. John B. Turner

Published by PhotoForum, 1999

ISBN 0959781854

295 x 235mm, 111 pages, tri-tone illustrations, softcover.

$59.95

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Road People of Aotearoa: Images of house-truck journeys 1978-1984

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.

– Gregory O’Brien

RRP $50.00

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hardback | 184 pages
275 x 235 mm | 200 illustrations
ISBN 978-0-9951184-6-1
Publication: October 2021

Read the review by Tony Watkins.

For all wholesale orders and requests info@rimbooks.com

The Greatest Show: Warren Tippett’s pots from a life less ordinary

The Greatest Show: Warren Tippett’s pots from a life less ordinary

Moyra Elliott and an essay by Peter Wells. With photographs by Marti Friedlander and Studio La Gonda

Revised and expanded second edition.

Biography and works of potter – Warren Tippett (b.1941–d.1994).

Researched and written by Moyra Elliott – co-author of Cone Ten Down: Studio Pottery in New Zealand 1945-1980, (Bateman 2009). Warren Tippett was an agent of change in New Zealand ceramic practice. He was reared as a ‘mud and water man’ in the 1960s because of where the strengths lay in the clay culture of the time with its influences from an imported Anglo-oriental style. However, he jumped ship and some twenty years after he became a potter, after playing briefly and creatively with sculpture – returned to the vessel and made the surface decoration his primary concern. He investigated areas that hitherto had been of little interest in New Zealand pottery and in doing so, connected with long histories of decorated pottery from many cultures. He also took references from his surroundings in Grey Lynn introducing palm trees, cacti and floral motifs and responded to the fresh stimulation of his urban environment with its strong Polynesian elements – lei and lava-lava and the Tongan brass band along with the vibrant street life where the raffish and the gaudy juxtaposed the cool. His new vocabulary became something unique – an expression of a region, a poly-centrist, polygenetic place located somewhere on the western Pacific part of the map.

Through his work, Tippett helped reform the canon of ceramics in New Zealand. No artist works in isolation but he was critical for the acceptance of earthenware in contemporary ceramic practice. His legacy is that he legitimised electric firing at lower temperatures which overturned an entrenched blueprint on how to make and what to make. By embracing the aesthetics more associated with pop culture, Polynesia and carnival ware, he opened doors to a healthier diversity.   

The first edition of this book accompanied a retrospective exhibition of Warran Tippett’s work at Objectspace in Auckland 2005/6 curated by the author.  This 2nd expanded edition features a visual chronology of Warren Tippett’s works, as well as previously unpublished portraits of Tippett by the late Marti Friedlander, and revised photographs with better reproductions of key works. 

Available October 2021

ISBN 978-0-9951184-7-8

Limited to 100 copies

RRP $40, 44pp 210x260mm portrait with cover, saddle stitched.

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“Warren Tippett is a seminal figure in the history of New Zealand studio ceramics because his works and lifestyle connect up key moments and significant local and international studio ceramics dynamics. In the words of curator Moyra Elliott, “Tippett helped reform the canon of ceramics in New Zealand.” Tippet started potting in Invercargill in the late 1950s. By the 1970s, and living in Coromandel, he was recognized as an important second generation figure in the ranks of potters working within the Anglo-Oriental tradition. This school of thought derives from the writings of English potter Bernard Leach which drew inspiration from medieval English and traditional Japanese and Korean pots which emphasised material, a quiet decoration and the spontaneity of the firing process. The philosophy engendered a vocational, workshop centred, pottery making life. It was this approach that informed most New Zealand studio ceramics production of the time. Moyra Elliott has pinpointed the time around the 1978 exhibition at Auckland’s New Vision Gallery and the 1980 Five by Five show at the Denis Cohn Gallery as a pivotal time in Tippett’s practice which “condense shifts in New Zealand clay practice, which actually took more than a decade, into a little over a year. The shift revolves around notions of function and diversity…there was a repositioning beyond function and into the decorative.” Changes in Tippett’s lifestyle were reflected in his work. As his interest moved from form to surface his work embraced the colourful and vibrant influences of his own Auckland and Sydney environments, the traditions of decorated Oriental and Mediterranean ceramics and contemporary international developments that located ceramics as part of a wider dynamic visual culture. In making a series of innovations within his own practice he “overturned an entrenched blueprint on how to make pots and what kind of pots to make. By embracing the formerly scorned earthenware and aesthetics more associated with pop culture, Polynesia and carnival-ware he opened the doors to a healthier diversity””.

Biography of Warren Tippett – Sarjeant Art Gallery

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

The Weight of the Captain’s Wrist: Paintings from the Cook, Waitangi Wallpaper & related series
Peter Ireland with an introduction by Jane Stafford & Mark Williams and an essay by Gerald Barnett

The first monograph of the New Zealand painter Peter Ireland – this book surveys his practice, on the theme of Captain Cook’s voyages to the Pacific. Ireland’s exquisite, detailed and enigmatic “history painting” is beautifully reproduced in this 100pp., spot varnished, offset reproduction, to reflect the oil on paper originals. Coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the first sustained European contact with Aotearoa New Zealand, this book features … Continue reading

Elizabeth Lissaman: New Zealand’s Pioneer Studio Potter 
Jane Vial and Steve Austin

With a foreword by Justine Olsen – Curator of Decorative Arts at Te Papa, and an afterword by Rick Rudd – potter and Director of the Quartz Museum.

Elizabeth Lissaman: New Zealand’s Pioneer Studio Potter traces the life and works of New Zealand’s pioneering woman studio potter. It is fully illustrated with over 100 images, especially photographed, of Lissaman’s pottery selected from private and public collections. Illustrations also include images of her designs and historical family photographs. The biography is meticulously researched and written by Jane … Continue reading

DESIGN GENERATION: How Peter Haythornthwaite shaped New Zealand’s design-led enterprise
Michael Smythe
With an introduction and interview by Michael Barrett

This book tells the story of one of New Zealand’s most influential industrial designers. Spanning five decades, Design Generation documents Haythornthwaite’s career through childhood influences, education in Auckland and Illinois, work experience in California and New York, and teaching and consultant practice back in New Zealand. It chronicles his many roles as a design leader: as innovator of design, employer in private practices and his notable contribution to the wider field of design.  Vivid case studies of Haythornthwaite’s work illustrate … Continue reading

TOM HUTCHINS: SEEN IN CHINA 1956
Edited by John B. Turner. Chinese translation by Han Niu.

Published by Turner PhotoBooks, Auckland/Beijing in collaboration with PhotoForum Inc, Auckland, NZ, 2016 as Photoforum issue 86.

English and Chinese text

This bi-lingual book was produced to coincide with the debut exhibition of photographs made in China 60 years ago by the pioneering New Zealand photojournalist and photographic educator, Tom Hutchins (1921-2007), presented at the 2016 Pingyao International Photography Festival.

‘On the platform there are many people waiting to cross the other way, waiting for the train back to Hong Kong. . . … Continue reading

AMERICAN LANDSCAPE: SHUSTAK USA 1960–1971

This publication showcases photographs made by Larence Shustak before he left USA in 1973 to establish the photography department at the School of Fine Arts in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Shustak was part of an early ferment on the East Coast of the emerging awareness of photography as an independent tool of art, self-expression and social engagement, existing outside of the mainstream picture magazines and commercial studios. American Landscape samples Shustak’s early experiments, commissions and personal projects that reflect an evolving sense of a time in transition, seen through the artist’s eyes. … Continue reading