Fantastical Photography Kicks off 2010 for Toi Poneke

12 January 2010

What do a flight attendant, a gardener and a policy analyst have in common? They all ditched their day jobs to become photography students at Massey University.

Now Lynda Garrod, Shaun Matthews and Kirsty Woods are the first artists to exhibit at Toi Pōneke Gallery this year with Locale (from Thursday 21 January).

Their Massey University tutor and exhibition curator Caroline McQuarrie says the artists' work complements each other well. "All sets of images feature some aspect of New Zealand landscape, and all works are sure to evoke a sense of nostalgia, if not a sense of otherworldliness, in the viewer."

Caroline says Lynda's work has often been compared to contemporary German photography.

"She photographed wide open spaces in the Foxton area, sometimes sparse and even industrial-looking locations within the region. Perhaps the experience of seeing so many wide open spaces from aircraft in her previous occupation has contributed to her way of seeing?"

Shaun still works occasionally as a gardener, and remains dedicated to the greener landscapes. Half of his work depicts one of Wellington's less well-known reserves - Trelissick Park in the Ngaio Gorge. He found much evidence of volunteer work in the area - if you look closely enough at one of the images, you'll be able to make out the shadow-like figures of some conservation volunteers in the background.

The other half of his work looks as though it was taken decades ago. Using the cyanotype method - one of the oldest photographic processes - Shaun placed each negative over paper that has been coated with a solution of ammonium iron citrate and potassium ferricyanide, before exposing it to light and washing the extra chemicals away with water. What has resulted is a set of prints that look blue in tone and aged. All these images were taken in peaceful Wellington settings.

In keeping with a sense of age, Kirsty's work can only be described as nostalgic. On an Anzac weekend visit to her family home in Palmerston North where she grew up, she took photographs with a pinhole camera. Being an old camera model, the wide-angle lens and the ability to leave the aperture open for any amount of time results in a photo that looks as though it were taken long ago. Couple this with the fact that Kirsty took the images from just above ground level, it looks as though she was once again visiting home through a child's eyes.

Locale opens at 5.30pm on Thursday 21 January and runs for about three weeks. Most prints are for sale.

Toi Pōneke is located at 61 Abel Smith Street - just up the road from Real Groovy.