Thursday, August 30, 2012

Vertical Inspirations - Auckland

Phil Price Sculpture, Auckland Waterfront.
Yesterday, quite by chance, I banged into an artist friend in Merivale Mall. He was re-sizing some of his photographs to make cards and I was taken by how many similar images I had on my cellphone - Similar in subject matter at least.
We seem drawn to the same things.
That's not uncommon among photographers of course- nor in fact, among anyone of a creative bent, whether they be painters, writers, film-makers; we frequently visit and re-interpret the same material, always imbuing it with our own perspective, our own emotion and history.
New Lynn Shoppers
In light of that encounter, I decided to put together a selection of my 'visual rememberings' from my recent trip to Auckland - a sample of the diverse inspirations that caught my attention for reasons obvious and reasons unfathomable. It set me to wondering what my artist friend - who declared "I hope to be a photographer in my next life" - would have taken away from the same locations.
Church Door, Symonds Street
That concept of several photographers approaching the same subject is one that has always interested me. The way we all approach the world, the way we see - each of us influenced by our emotions, our passions, by what do and don't know. That split second that captures a moment of your experience and a moment perhaps in the life of someone else.
Street Poetry, Britomart
We may be captivated by a feeling, a shadow, a glimmer of light.
Our image may be a reflection of a thought.
It may be driven by some vague, niggling memory.
Household Goods & Artificial Flowers, New Lynn
I know that as I amble about a city, some things just 'speak' to me. I don't always know why but I know I can't leave them behind without somehow trying to capture the essence of that feeling in a lasting image. And often, after I'm home, sorting through hundreds of photographs, they fall into obvious groupings with no encouragement from me.
It's as if I have some intangible, pre-wired  selection process going on in my subconscious.
High Street Retail
I do also, quite consciously, photograph on a large number of ongoing themes - variations of a subject, collections of a series of moments, objects, people, places, colours.
Auckland Art Gallery
And for me, there are themes within themes. Take architecture for instance... I have different photographic collections for barns, old shops, museums, details, churches and so on. There seems to be something in my psyche that likes the order and the variation of that.
Grain Silo, Auckland Waterfront.
I like stairways. I photograph hundreds of cranes.
I like the mechanical detail, the rigid yet variant forms.
Crane Reflection, Hobson Street.
I can rarely walk past a good reflection - and when the crane *is* the reflection, so much the better - two birds with one stone and all that.
Leis & Brooms, New Lynn
There are images that tap into my personal history.
There are displays of colour and shape I cannot ignore.
Silo Stair, Auckland Waterfront
Flower Chandelier, Choi Jeong Hwa, Auckland Art Gallery
Sometimes I record an image for the beauty of a form, or for the wider implications of the moment - who I was with, what we were doing, the things we shared - in that moment.
Auckland City Fire Station
And other times, it's like there's some mysterious rustling going on in my head.
Its purpose isn't always clear but I know I have to listen.
It is those moments - those unfathomable seconds - that often produce the images I love most, the short stories I am happiest with.
And sometimes at the end, I find the collection in its entirety is a collective snapshot of place.
This was my Auckland, on those ten days.
Next time it will be different.

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