By 1937 there were 140 baches on Rangitoto Island. After the Department of Conservation (DoC) took over the island a policy of demolition began as bach leases expired. Today only 35 remain.
In 2006 the bach owners successfully challenged DoC’s policy of demolition through the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000 which requires preservation of the communities of the Gulf. The Rangitoto bach owners are now working with DoC to retain the remaining 35 baches, and to preserve the bach community, while providing access for the general public.
The relationship between people and their environments drew me to this series. Notions of ownership and what it meant to feel a connection to a place were considered when I sat down with the bach goers and listened to their stories. Halfway through the project a family connection to the island emerged and I went from the position of outsider to a realization that I was photographing a part of my own history. Through this storytelling experience I discovered that each dwelling has/had a rich history carved from the characters that came to spend time there and the difficult physical characteristics that form the island itself. We imprint upon place, in turn, place imprints upon us, sometimes even down through the generations.
This project explores the experience of cultural difference. As a young Chinese immigrant living in New Zealand for over 10 years, I have drawn on the idea of homesickness and loneliness, and explored the notion of confusion in belonging.
My photographic work focuses on the emotional contradiction and struggles that emerge in the space between two cultures. Together with the lamentation of the loss of identity, my photography allegorically represents the internal motivation behind the civic social ideology of Chinese migrants.
Second skin investigates the way we perceive notions of beauty by exploring the nature of everyday corporeal existence. By focusing on the delicate nature of human skin, and the idea of the human form as a sculpture with its textures and patterns, the resulting images have a tactile quality.
I allow a particular process when photographing aspects of individuals, I call it the ‘no plan’ plan. For me as an artist the most important aspect of my work is the conversation I have with my models before and during the photo shoot. I let the conversation dictate the photo shoot rather than the observation of features such as age or illness. These aspects of my subjects will inform the works nonetheless. There is a personal quality to these works as I choose to photograph people close to me (and include myself) as I like the challenge of honing my eye to uncover what is often overlooked, such as the aging process of wrinkles or blisters on feet. I photograph the models in their own environments in a way that tells us something about their lives. I prefer to work with natural light as I believe it helps capture a subject’s character, rather than adding an artificial layer of staging to the work.
The immensely popular shadow tracings were a cheap quick method of recording a person’s profile”
Bill Jay on Photography, From Magic to Mimesis
These portraits are a new way of seeing ourselves, but being reminiscent of the 18th century silhouette they are anchored in the past. More than a simple record of a human profile, they are subtle and complex; layered, textured, flawed and beautiful.
This series of images was directly inspired by Len Lye’s photograms. It’s a re-discovery of the craft of photography revelling in the mysteries of a seemingly archaic darkroom, combining technique with observation, and pairing artistic intent with uncertainty of outcome.
This series explores the points of contact through which a blind person would ‘see’. It follows the journey of a blind man navigating his way around a city in order to meet up with a friend. On a deeper level it examines the idea of the blind seeing without sight by utilising other senses – such as hearing, touch, and other points of contact.
I have portrayed this concept visually by creating images that attempt to convey touch, sound, and contact through the cane – focusing on each specific experience by using vignettes cropped around, or shaped by, the points of contact. To emphasise the sensation of contact each photo has been shot from the level where the contact occurs. The series is shot in black and white to reinforce the notion that this is not true visual experience, but rather perceived visual experience. The level of focus within each image shows either the familiarity of the object or definite physical contact.