Friday, October 31, 2008
I like to take photographs from my car - moving or paused at intersections.
I like to think I do it carefully, that I'm not a traffic hazard. And that it's worth it for the sometimes-unexpected candid shots that come about as a result, shots that, cumulatively, make for a sort of photographic diary of a city on the move.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
"Trade Off - Black and White Terraces" Sarah Smuts-Kennedy. The Kiosk, Christchurch. Oct 2008. Ajr
Here is ‘my friend’ The Kiosk – that cute-as-a-button Physics Room exhibition space that delivers some unexpected creative treasures to the intersection of Lichfield, Manchester and High Streets in Central Christchurch. This is a work called “Trade Off – Black and White Terraces” by Sarah Smuts-Kennedy. I know nothing else about it but I do like the way her little landscape of ceramic verticals interacts with the city high rise beyond. To see other Kiosk works click on Kiosk in the label line below this post.
It's always a comfort to me to know that Melbourne has more cafes than I will ever be able to keep up with. This is a little beaut I found in Brunswick Street last year - Alimentari, a busy deli-cafe where you need an extra shot of caffiene to muster the patience to wait for a seat.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Our master printmaker strikes a witty chord.
You can see many of his other observations by clicking on Cleavin in the tag line below this post.
ACC Building, Christchurch. Oct. 2008. Ajr This is the very blue ACC Building in Christchurch, designed by Christchurch architect, Thom Craig. When it first reared its flashy façade I shied away from it. I thought it looked….well….flashy, or rather, FLASHY. But it’s grown on me. Maybe I’m once again won over by the superficial – the swaying reflections of the giant Avon-side poplars that flicker across its front. I sat there a few days ago and took immense pleasure from that. Arrh yes, the pleasures of time-wasting! We should all be made to do it more often.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Another in the Series Meet the People – Ordinary and Extraordinary New Zealanders Doing Interesting Things – Christchurch professional photographer, Stephen Goodenough doesn’t have any personal preferences when it comes to digital over film or colour over black and white. As far as he’s concerned they’re all valid. It’s fulfilling the client’s brief as creatively as possible that he cares about. “There’s been a lot of bad rap for digital but that’s been part of the development of the technology; and it’s a whole new learning curve for many photographers. Now they have to process their own files and a lot haven’t learnt how to do that properly yet,” he says. He does however, have a personal preference when it comes to subject matter – “architectural photography wins hands-down.” His work covers commercial, corporate, magazine, food and fashion photography but it’s his architectural work that inspires him most. “I’m always looking to deliver something different and unexpected. I like the challenge of that and I think my background training as a graphic designer (along with 25 years in the photographic industry) means I’m heavily influenced by form, shape, structure and planes.” That passion has spilled over into his current personal project – the documenting of New Zealand architects, which he’s now well into. “I could see a project like this had historical merit and it’s also been interesting for me to work creatively outside my usual commercial brief. I’m thoroughly enjoying it.” Stephen’s multiple national photography awards endorse his unique sense of creativity and you can check out some of his stunning images at www.stephengoodenough.com
Monday, October 27, 2008
This time next week, this is where I'll be - zooming along gum-lined Australian roads, exploring the back tracks and byways in my pursuit of things queer and interesting. I'm going to be based at the little township of Woodend, one hour north of Melbourne on the main commuter line for two weeks, so stayed tuned for things weird and wonderful.
Where we can turn ourselves into anything we want.
And for the record....my much loved Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX01
Which I am thinking of getting surgically implanted.
For others in this slightly eccentric series click on self-portrait in the label line below.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I love the contrast in architectural style between these two rural churches. The hefty one at the bottom is the Baring Square Methodist Church in Ashburton; the more delicate one in the top image is (I think) the Catholic Church at Leeston, south of Christchurch. Both quite beautiful in their own ways.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I've found myself discussing hedges a lot in the last few days - perhaps a little too much my friends might add; but it's the season for it - everything fresh spring green and me visiting lots of spectacular gardens in the name of work. This is a little beauty I photographed last year in the small Victoria town on Kyneton, north of Melbourne. It's the front hedge of a private home and it seemed a fitting end to a day that was, quite frankly, 'barking mad.' I'd found myself at the Kyneton A&P Show quite unexpectedly - with a vegetarian friend who was manning the sausage sizzle for the local kennel club (where she took her dog for puppy training). I amused myself as a spectator to that surreal world of dog shows, listening to the bitchy discussions among dog owners and marvelling at the sheer ugliness of some of the dogs. And then there was the snake handler! But that's another story. To see some of my other hedges ....Go on - you know you want to..... click on the word Hedges in the label line below this post.
Friday, October 24, 2008
BOTTOM: "Bowling Green Hedge 2008"
Both images by Guy Frederick & supplied by Guy Frederick
Abandoned buildings, ordered environments and social meeting places are among the triggers that stir Christchurch photographer, Guy Frederick’s visual responses. These are two of my favourite images from his current show at City Art called “Human Ecology Study: Part 1,” a show that catalogues Frederick’s passion for “the intricate relationships between people and their environment, and how each influences the other.” The images – all black and white but for three – also clearly hint at Frederick’s training as a scientist with an honours degree in geography. His photographs are pared back, raw, focussing on light and space and the pathways man has made through his landscape. It will be no surprise to many to see I have singled out a giant HEDGE as one of my favourites – no surprise at all; I’m a hedge lover after all! And it’s no surprise either (to me at least) that this wonderful collection of social observations is hiding out in the off-beat, semi-industrial location that City Art calls home. If you like the journey as much as the destination, then this is one trip you should definitely make. The show is on until November 15 at 96 Disraeli Street, Christchurch. www.cityart.co.nz www.guyfrederick.co.nz
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Another in the Series Meet the People – Ordinary and Extraordinary New Zealanders Doing Interesting Things – Christchurch’s Rosie Belton spent 25 years as a theatre director, producer and drama lecturer. She founded the Christchurch Drama Centre in 1981 and carved out a successful career adapting and producing theatrical shows in the city. All that changed four years ago when Rosie fell while dancing at a party. The head injury she sustained in the fall went on to create a major brain bleed. She’s spent the last four years recovering from surgery and adjusting to life with a brain injury. It’s been a hard road but Rosie’s indomitable spirit has seen her bounce back in extraordinary ways and she now considers herself a better person for it. “I’m quieter, more still, more content and more self-aware than I’ve ever been - and more aware of the privilege of being alive,” she says. “I’ve achieved a lot in my life but now I get immense joy from the simple things in life – like watching the leaves move in my garden. I see every day as an achievement.” But Rosie hasn’t been content back and do nothing. She’s just published her first book, "Just a Bang on the Head,” (Craig Potton Publishing), which is her compelling story of the rebuilding of her life. It’s selling well and now, having found something else she’s passionate about, she’s on to her second book – a luscious look into her passion for food and its links to memory and lifestyle. For others in this series, click on Meet the People in the label line below this post.
SOL Square, Christchurch. Oct 2008. Ajr This is what happens when you drink too much Moet & Chandon!
The creative team at SOL Square have gone a tiny bit nuts - and I like it.
That said, this popular 'backstreet alley' filled with trendy new bars has just about peaked in creative design terms. If they put too much else in there it's going to start looking like a sideshow alley. www.sol.net.nz
Let me introduce you to one of my favourite spots - the gorgeous pool at Millar Road near Hastings....a sublime escape where you can indulge every lazy bone in your body, overlooking a cascade of grape vines and persimmon orchards. Factor in a beautiful collection of New Zealand art and the colourful Esther Diamond range of bedding and cushions and you're guaranteed a retreat to please all the senses. www.millarroad.co.nz www.estherdiamond.com
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I got to ‘the little grey tardis’ that is The Physics Room Kiosk in central Christchurch in the knick of time - Zoe Thompson-Moore’s “Home Sweet Home” has just one more day to run. I love this mini exhibition space. It took me a while to happen upon it – at the intersection of High, Manchester and Lichfield Streets – but now I look forward to seeing how individual artists treat this miniature gallery - in a myriad of ways. Thompson-Moore has produced a meticulously stitched social comment that scrolls down one side of the case. It’s delicate, unexpected and at the same time, incisive and thought-provoking. You can see other earlier Kiosk works if you click on The Kiosk in the label line below. http://www.physicsroom.org.nz/
I do like the idea of paintings on show on the OUTSIDE of an art gallery and Christchurch Art Gallery is now doing just that as part of their new Springboard series, which in turn is part of their Outer Spaces series. Springboard is the new illuminated billboard attached to the south wall of the gallery and it’s now showing The Gathering, by renowned New Zealand artist, Richard Killeen. It’s about 5 metres by 7 metres (not quite big enough in my view) and is the largest work Killeen has ever produced – he being most recognised for his multiples of small works exhibited across gallery walls in random clusters. This work is a busy, colourful, computer-generated gathering of party-like figures and it brings welcome relief to the otherwise stern, institutional grey gallery form that hides behind the glassy front façade.
Bottom: Temuka Boxing Club Hall, Temuka, South Canterbury Ajr
I think one of the loveliest things about exploring the little rural villages that spot their way across the Canterbury Plains - or villages anywhere in New Zealand actually - is the discovery of charming old club buildings. These are two I found the other day - the brick Temuka Boxing Club hall in Temuka; and the old Ellesmere Brass Band Hall in Leeston, nearer Christchurch. They say so much about the nature of rural communities; and in many instances, they are the remnants of a whole other social era.
I can't remember what this was an advertisment for - some sort of make-up I think - in Ballantynes window. I was drawn to it because the (original) photograph seems (to me) to capture the very essence of the model.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I couldn't fight the urge to stop and snap Rakaia's giant salmon yesterday.
Besides, it looked so good against the cloud filled skies.
Like millions before me, I had to give in.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Today I headed south on State Highway 1 bound for Temuka, which is about 30 minutes south of Ashburton. It was a day of north-west winds and as always in those conditions, the Canterbury skies turned on a stunning performance. I stopped a number of times to photograph beautiful cloud patterns - and other times (as above) I didn't bother to stop at all. It's interesting to see how the South Canterbury landscape is changing in face of the dairy farming boom. Paddocks (once dedicated to grain crops) have turned brilliant green thanks to an endless stream of irrigating; and the roads are swarming with milk tankers. That's a Fonterra tanker I was following for some distance - colour co-ordinated to match the sky.
As the writer of the New York-produced travel guide, Frommers New Zealand, I am frequently asked what my favourite place to stay in New Zealand is. It’s a hard question to answer because there are several and at the top-end luxury level, every candidate, every luxury lodge has its own character and style; and they all sit in such dramatic landscapes it’s hard to play favourites. That said, one I keep coming back to, one that FOR ME, has something a little special, is Eichardt's Private Hotel in Queenstown. It’s small – just five suites; it’s classy; and it’s smack in the middle of the action – right on the waterfront in an historic building at the end of the mall. I have lasting memories of a luxurious possum fur-covered bed fit of a king, a huge marble bathroom and a beautiful interior with a friendly, intimate, home-like scale - it’s like being a pampered guest in a very posh home rather than staying in an impersonal hotel room – and yes, even some of the best hotel rooms can still feel impersonal. Eichardt's is all the better for its smaller size and the fact that it is so beautiflly embellished with antiques, art and collectibles makes it a visual feast as well. That always wins me over. www.eichardtshotel.co.nz
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Continuing with my Sunday theme of church architecture, here's another shot - a side view - of the splendid columns at the Catholic cathedral. You can see other views of the building if you click on Churches in the label line below.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I slammed the brakes on yesterday to photograph this crazy little Korean butchery in Upper Riccarton. “Just little bit English,” as they say in India – which is also where I found a Jaipur jewellery store called ‘Gemkins;’ a vehicle parts operation called ‘Mother India Motor Parts;’ and hotels named Hotel Ladle, Hotel Decent, Sweet Dreams Resort and Motel Ringleader. In Japan there was ‘Hotel New York Dream’ – complete with Statue of Liberty on top; and the hairdresser called ‘Cut House You.’ I love these quirky little linguistic adaptations; I actively hunt them out when I’m travelling and luckily for me, they’re rampant throughout Asia.