Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Footprints. Australian Outback. April 2008 Ajr.
There was something haunting and vast about the Australian outback that kept me looking for the reassuring traces of human life - and there they were, right under my feet.

A Perfect Queenstown Moment

Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown. 2007. Ajr

Early morning at the very lovely Matakauri Lodge, perched high above Queenstown’s Lake Whakatipu. Surrounded by native bush on three sides and impossibly beautiful lake and mountain views on the fourth, this luscious spot makes for the perfect hideaway.

Small Moments of Beauty

One Swan

Ta Moko

I’ve been going through my Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum photos again and found this one (right) referencing the art of Maori moko or tattoo. Traditionally, men were tattooed much more heavily than women, who mainly tattooed their lips (kauae) and their chins. There’s been a strong resurgence of interest in moko among both men and women keen to acknowledge their Maori heritage – and many are also choosing to be tattooed the traditional way using uhi or chisels, rather than with modern tools.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Camel on Your Neck

Jewellery. April 2008. Ajr
Robyn Reid of Charlotte Plains, Cunnamulla in Queensland's Outback is a big fan of camels. You can't miss that fact. Not only does she wear one around her neck but she and her husband, Reid host Willie Cooma's Camel Wagon Safaris on their 70,000 acre sheep and cattle station. And if you're looking for adventure rather than just travel, this is the experience for you.

Autumn Gold

Canterbury University, Ilam, Christchurch. April 2008. Ajr
Christchurch is now dressed in its usual glorious autumn foliage. I took this shot yesterday afternoon at Canterbury University, where maples, elms, cherries, willows and other deciduous species have created a beautiful golden carpet.

The Spaces Between - 9

The Mall, Brisbane. April 2008, Ajr
I was very taken with this aerial feature above the main shopping mall in Brisbane. I have no idea what it is, or what it is for - or whether or not it serves any practical function - but I loved the way the sunlight played upon it, casting fabulous shadows along the pavement below.

Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 11

"Untitled IV"
More in the continuing series of works by nationally and internationally acclaimed New Zealand printmaker, BC

By the Sea

Boatsheds, Duvauchelle, Banks Peninsular. 2008. Ajr

There's a lovely rickety shabbiness to boatsheds that I love. I always think they'd make a terrific holiday house - I saw some lovely ones on Stewart Island in fact, that had been converted into just that. These ones at Duvauchelle on the way to Akaroa still serve as genuine boatsheds.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Speaking of bags.....

Traditional Kete, Okains Bay, March 2008, Ajr
.........I am reminded of the wonderful displays of traditional Maori kete I saw at Okains Bay Maori & Colonial Museum last month. Kete is the Maori word for a basket made from the dried leaves of New Zealand flax (Mahi harakeke). They were used for carrying food, belongings and treasures (taonga) and were made in a wide variety of intricate designs, patterns and colours. This is one of the best small rural museums in New Zealand

Art Trash

I found the perfect bag – practical, colourful, environmentally friendly and covered in foreign words. It’s made from plastic consumer waste collected by Jakarta’s trash pickers as part of XS Project, which buys the trash at well above market price, providing the collectors with an income. Then, “working with other groups and cottage industries, the waste is transformed into fun-ctional accessories that make a strong environmental and social statement.” Mine is made out of strips of plastic packaging from old Mr Muscle, Phillips and Persil containers and I love the fact that I can’t understand a single word of these Indonesian ‘advertisements.’ Lovely and useful all at once.

Cool Cars - 5

One 1955 FJ Holden Special - spotted in Eulo, Outback Queensland, Australia

Sunday, April 27, 2008

new link

Technorati Profile

Self-Portrait 2 - In an Art Gallery

Me. Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. April 2008. Ajr
I played around with light and shadow patterns in the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane for over an hour. Watchful gallery staff seemed a little perplexed when they found me lying, kneeling and sitting cross-legged in front of this apparently blank wall taking photographs. There’s so much more to see when you take the time.

Feeling Bullish

"Povi Tau Vaga" Michael Tuffery, NZ. Brisbane 2008. Ajr
Coming upon Michael Tuffery’s big bulls (made of old corned beef cans) in a glassy corner of the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Brisbane, was like coming upon an old friend. Tuffery, a Pacific/New Zealand artist collaborated with Patrice Kaikilekofe, (Futuna/New Caledonia) in the making of this work – “Povi Tau Vaga” (The Challenge), which was purchased by the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation in 1999.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Red Roads to Nowhere - 2

Red Road, near Cunnamulla, Australian Outback. April 2008. Ajr
My previous posting about the Australian outback's red dirt roads (Tuesday) has received a surprising amount of comment. It seems I'm not the only one who finds them intriguing. I liked this response - from my brother in Los Angeles (previously Australia & NZ) - so much I am adding it here for all to read.
"Those are roads that none of us will ever see – unless we inhabit the outback. I think we have certain expectations of a road and those challenge everything we know about roads. We expect a road to go somewhere - we expect there will be a destination that we can reach for example. We expect to be entertained by variety. But those roads defy us to even initiate a journey. We realise that there may be no curves, dips, hills, or changes of scenery for a greater distance than our minds can accept. There might be no possibility of reaching a terminal point or a definable destination within a time frame that our conscious expectation demands. Indeed, there is a definite understanding that one might not reach a destination ever– an understanding that one could - and some do – die in the journey. Roads like those will not be dominated. They mock our puny belief system and expectations. They are roads we have never known and at a subconscious level they pose a threat to our belief systems. Do we really want to travel to ‘nowhere’ or to somewhere where there is nothing? Will we, at some distant point, find ourselves too far from our point of origin to return and yet still much too far from our destination? Could we become lost on such a road? Would it matter if nobody knew we were there, that we had not seen another single person on our travels, that we didn’t know where there was? Could it be that these roads might go to a place where there is no there?Are we comfortable and confident about such roads? Probably not."

Blue Skies & White Flowers

One White Dahlia

Down and Dusty

When I was in Cunnamulla in the Australian outback, I did just about as much as is possible in any given day – kayaking; huge sheep and cattle station visits; sitting around a campfire with camels and walking over a 70-metre swinging bridge. I went underground to explore opal mines. There were wheat farms, grape farms and date farms to visit; and I cruised up the Warrego River at sunset in the company of millions of roosting birds. I visited mud baths and took a town tour in a 1955 FJ Holden Special. I soaked in naturally hot artesian bore waters and I visited the scene of Eulo’s last lizard races. And let’s not forget the Noorama Picnic Races. And that’s before you even consider the sand-boarding, the claypan boogie, the pub visits, the campfire dinners, the billy tea smokos and the general exploring. All of this a real ‘down and dusty’ outback adventure that scores ten out of ten with me.

Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 10


Friday, April 25, 2008

Small Moments of Beauty

Pink Kina
Sea Eggs
Tossed Ashore

Repitition and Reflection

"Narcissus Garden" Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. April 2008. Ajr
I could have spent a whole lot more time photographing this huge and stunning work – “Narcissus Garden” – by Japanese avant garde artist, Yayoi Kusama (b.1929-) at Brisbane’s Queensland Art Gallery but I was already sprawled out across the floor getting these shots and the gallery 'watchdogs' were beginning to look fidgety. This collection of floating stainless steel balls (and yes, you could touch) first appeared in the Venice Biennale in 1966. They reflect Kusama’s ongoing fascination with repetition, pattern and accumulation – and spots.

Self-Portrait 1 - In a Desert

Australian Outback. April 2008. Ajr

Self-Portrait in a Desert.
Please note the extra long legs!

White Winter

By way of complete contrast (to the Australian Outback) let’s visit New Zealand’s snow-capped mountains. This is another sublime experience of course and if you’re looking for a secretive retreat in total seclusion, you can go no higher than Whare Kea Lodge’s mountain top Chalet, which is perched high in the Buchanan mountain range beside the Mt Aspiring National Park, near Wanaka in the South Island. You’ll get stunning views of just about everything but in particular, of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mt Aspiring - all this in the stylish luxury that characterises Relais & Chateaux properties worldwide. That includes amazing cuisine, two gorgeous guest bedrooms and a personal host and mountain guide. And let’s not forget that the Chalet’s sustainable design excellence was recognised when Whare Kea received the Relais & Chateaux Environmental Award in 2004.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Camel Capers

Let me introduce Willie the Camel Man of the Charlotte Plains Camel Wagon Safari – an amazing experience that brings you up close and personal with Willie Cooma and a selection of his 22 camels. And if you’re one of those people who have always assumed that camels are foul, biting, spitting, temperamental creatures, let me the first to assure you that not all camels are ‘created equal.’ Willie has a passion for these animals. He trained racing camels for 15 years, he’s captured wild camels in Australia’s Simpson Desert and he’s travelled over 45,000 kilometres around Australia with two of his favourite animals, Snow and Benny. That all makes for an astonishing rapport and spending two days travelling with others in Willie’s quirky wagon was one of the best, one of the funniest and yet also one of the most tranquil and enlightening things I’ve done.


Tattoo. April 2008. Ajr
One inner arm tattoo - found in the Australian Outback

Seeing Red

Indian-born, UK-based Anish Kapoor is one of my all-time favourite contemporary artists, so I was in 7th heaven when I discovered this very sensual ‘lickable’ work – “Untitled 2007” – at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Brisbane. Made of highly reflective lacquered resin fibreglass it explores Kapoor’s passion for the colour red. Reflections you see in it are an integral art of the work. Kapoor’s love of RED is also beautifully documented in his very luscious book on the subject, “My Red Homeland” Anish Kapoor.

Words From the Outback



Store display, Woodend, Victoria, Australia. 2007. Ajr

I can seldom go passed a good mannequin. There's just something endlessly attractive about the ridiculousness of most of them that I have to capture 'on film.' I have files and files of mannequin photos from just about everywhere I've been.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Sunburnt Country

The Bluff at Yowah, Australian Outback. April 2008. Ajr
I’ve been avoiding writing about my Australian Outback adventures because I don’t know where to start. How do you encapsulate the vastness, the magnificence, the beauty and the brutality of such a place in a few concise sentences, in a few photographs? This is a place where the locals think nothing of driving four hours to a barbecue, or driving ten hours to a meeting; a place where the letterbox can be at the end of a 30-kilometre driveway; where a single paddock can be 10,000 acres!
I flew in to Charleville, a two hour flight west of Brisbane and my ten days were spent in and around Cunnamulla, two hours drive south of there. I went to the Noorama Picnic Races in the middle of nowhere and I visited huge outback stations, the quirky town of Eulo (pop.40) and the even whackier opal mining town of Yowah. All of these sit in the Paroo Shire, in South West Queensland, which is a 16-inch-per-annum rainfall zone yet, up to November 2007, the region had received just 23 inches in total in the last eight years. The Outback is parched country. It’s beautiful country too but one false move and it will kill you. At the end of my ten days, back in Brisbane and on my way to the airport, the taxi driver summed it up beautifully: “The Outback is where you find the real Australians. The rest of us are just city dwellers who happen to live in Australia,” he said. I couldn’t agree more.

Camel Encounter

Camel Wagon Safari, Cunnamulla. April 2008. Ajr
There is much more to come when it comes to camels but here is my favourite camel photograph to get you started.

Red Roads To Nowhere

Red roads, Australian Outback. April 2008. Ajr
I have to confess – I became quite compulsive about photographing red Outback roads going nowhere. The striking contrast between the huge, vibrant blue skies and the endlessness of the rudimentary red dirt roads stretching far into the distance completely captured my imagination. I wanted to follow them all but, in the absence of time, I photographed as many as I could instead. Now, back in the chilly temperatures of an early Christchurch winter, my red-road preoccupation seems a little over-zealous to say the least and I feel bound to find a brilliantly creative use for one hundred and one red roads.

The Great Photo Sort

Sorting, filing and downsizing over 1,000 outback photos is taking me longer than I planned. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow there WILL be images.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Home From the Outback

I am home from the stunning red-brown-ochre AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK.
And after I have slept I will begin loading photographs
so you will understand why I ALMOST

Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 9

"Advancing Australia's Fears"

Stairway to Heaven

Lyttelton Stairs. March 2008. Ajr

Well...... Heaven might be pushing our luck but I kind'a liked this rickety old set of stairs down a Lyttelton side street.

Small Moments of Beauty

One White Bowl
On a Ledge
In the Sun

Open for Business

Lyttelton Window. March 2008. Ajr

I found something very tantalising about this Lyttelton window - the contrast between the boldness of the bright red statement and the lacy privacy of the curtains perhaps.

Cool Cars - 4

One old Morris Minor - spotted at Daylesford, Victoria, Australia.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Winning Wines

One of the world's foremost seafood chefs, Rick Stein of television's French Odyssey fame is a big fan of Mud House Wines 2007 Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc - so much so he's added this New Zealand 'treasure' to the wine list of his Michelin-recognised Cornish restaurant empire that includes The Seafood Restaurant, St Petroc's Bistro and Rick Stein's Cafe. Mud House Wines received honours for three varietals at the 2007 Air New Zealand Wine Awards and is also enjoying an international 'glow' after having a wine selected by the Master Sommelier for service aboard Delta Airlines, one of the world's largest carriers. Just another of many coups for New Zealand's fine wines!

While I'm in the Land of Oz......

Sketch Book, November 2007. Australia. Ajr

In the mood of things Australian, here are a couple of pages from my September 2007 Australian sketchbook - 'loose' copies of Aboriginal shields in The Museum of South Australia, Adelaide and my take - inspired by Aboriginal art - on some standard Australian wild life. By the time you read this I will be on my way to the Australian Outback for ten days of hot adventures. As you might imagine, I won't have ready access to computers so my postings will be erratic.

Small Moments of Beauty

Hens' Eggs
For Fun

A Slice of Italy

The day before I head off to Australia again, I am reminded of my last trip – to Victoria – and this divine place I found at Hepburn Springs, near Daylesford, an hour north of Melbourne. Lavandula is a magical spot riddled with history. Its old sandstone buildings were built in the 1860s by Swiss Italians, who came to Australia to try their luck in the goldfields. They stayed on to farm and this property had been in the same family for 150 years when Carol White restored the buildings and recreated a little slice of Italy. I spent hours here. It’s a photographer’s paradise and along with historic buildings, extensive gardens and a great shop, it also has a terrific little restaurant, alfresco wood-fired barbecue and some gorgeous accommodation. It’s the sort of place you want to sink into and never leave.

Cool Cars - 3

One Model T Ford - spotted in Christchurch's Merivale carpark

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Birds of a Feather

Swan and Pukeko, Christchurch. April Ajr.
This afternoon I enjoyed three things Christchurch has an abundance of – cycleways, waterways and birdlife. I spent two hours cycling along the tracks beside the Avon River on its way out to sea, stopping to photograph water birds along the way. I took over a hundred photographs and it was hard work choosing just two to put here; but I think my swan and my pukeko capture something of the nature of both birds….the streamlined elegance of the swan; the innate curiosity of our quirky pukeko.

Misplaced Advertising

These pictures were sent to me by a friend last night - "a visual item just snapped in one of the departure lounges of Auckland Airport." It just goes to show what happens when you combine necessary information with (Telecom) advertisements, he quips.


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