The idea was to shoot a series of images that were born through a process that was quite in contrast to my regular commissioned work. The usual creative process follows a tight brief and preconceived idea of what the final image will look like (art direction, scamp, casting, styling, location scouting, planning, execution). So I wanted to shoot something that was equally of a high aesthetic but had little or no planning – other than to set out with gear, an assistant and see what hand lady-luck dealt us. The underlying theme was to centre the story around land workers, so we would head out of the city and try to find real characters going about their working lives - and convince them to have their photos taken. Some were keen – most weren’t, but usually they could be persuaded into sparing us a few minutes of their time.
The results are interesting in that they appear on one level as beautiful commercial creations; carefully lit and posed – but transcending this they also have a power and integrity that commercial images could never attain. Gnarly faces, earthy work clothes, and a myriad of small details in each frame that help tell the background story to who the person is.
At first glance Making Up for Lost Time is a pink filled, slightly humorous series with heavy elements of masquerade. It is both of these things, but at a deeper level each image in this series is a fragment of a larger and revealing portrait of a melancholic psyche.
The use of pink in this series is my way of clambering to make up for events missed out on in the past. An accidental form of childhood feminism caused a refusal to participate in specifically feminine activities. This series is made in response to these regrets. Now over-compensating and excessively re-staging events (real or imagined) finally fulfills these fantasies.
The conceptual foundation of this body of work is an exploration into the relationship between functionality and standardised visual structure, the context being commonly disregarded transitional spaces that we often interact with on a daily basis. Through utilising specific techniques and maintaining a consistent analytical approach, various parallels can be drawn between each location. Photographing at night allows not only a sense of isolation and solitude to come forth, but also allows these environments to transcend their orthodox appearance. The unequivocal lack of human beings interacting with and within these spaces intermittently renders their functionality dormant, therefore challenging and altering common perceptions of the balance and relationship between function and visual structure.
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.