Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Auckland EKTAPROject - Auckland, Wanganui & Taranaki regions of New Zealand February 2014

text&images ©billpurvis2014


Now available as an iBook:

Glenda loves to travel and the introduction of direct flights  from Adelaide to Auckland New Zealand provided the opportunity to take advantage of the discounted fares on offer.
Departure 29 January 2014 Return 12 February 2014.
As it happened Glenda was informed by her lecturer, at the University of South Australia, a master glass making class was being held in Wanganui 443kms south of Auckland from 5 February until 9 February.
OK that will keep Glenda busy and I can keep myself busy exploring and taking photographs around Auckland initially and later Wanganui and the Taranaki region where I would accompany her.
I had acquired just before Christmas for $AUD50, yes believe it,  a brand new in box Kodak Ektapro 5020 slide projector complete with a laser pointer and infra red remote control.
I factored this into the equation and decided to feed it with motivation from John Gossage and Alec Soth's 'The Auckland Project'.
I would call my project 'The Auckland EKTAPROject' and set about designing my postcard illustrated with a photo of my new acquisitions.
I was motivated to do something 'arty'.
My research revealed Ilford FP4 black and white negative film could be reversed processed by 'dr5' in Denver Colorado USA to produce positive transparency slides to feed my projector.
The costs were not significantly more than color transparency processing here in Australia except for the postage. I was concerned about the effects of xray scanning of the film in transit.
We travel light preferably with only walk on luggage. What camera gear would I take?
At the last moment I decided to take only one camera body, my Nikon F90, and Nikon f1.8 50mm, Nikon 35-80mm and a Tamron 28-200mm lenses with filters 2 rolls of Fuji Velvia 100 and 3 rolls of FP4. The 35-80 was a disaster because it fails to focus approaching anywhere near infinity although my son likes out of focus shots. If they are intentional OK.
My research of Gossage & Soth's project provided the name of their intermediary in Auckland, photographer Harvey Benge. We arranged to meet so I could peruse his work and after some personal insight from Harvey I purchased several of his books.
I am a great believer in synchronicity, my meeting with Harvey provided one of these moments.
I purchased 'some things you should have told me' on 31 January in Auckland and it was listed firstly as 'book of the day' by 'Photoeye' and subsequently as 'book of the week'.
The day before on the 30 January we had traveled 30kms north to Piha Beach favored for its surf and black sands. While perusing Aperture 213 digital edition that same evening a photograph of Piha Beach by Patrick Reynolds was illustrated along with an article featuring the works of Len Lye whose archive is held on route to Wanganui at the New Plymouth art gallery. Further shoring up my belief in the profoundness of synchronicity.
Prior to leaving Adelaide I had acquainted myself with the work of Deb Young, an Auckland based photographer. She is achieving international recognition with her collaborative works.
We attended an exhibition 'V&A Selling Dreams 100 year of Fashion Photography' at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The work of internationally renowned photographers, including from Australia and New Zealand, were on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The Auckland Art Gallery was named world building of the year 2013. It has photographic works in its collection but also on loan were works from the collection of Melbourne entrepreneur Naomi Milgrom including Andreas Gursky, not 1 but 3.
Auckland fosters well the art of photography.
It would have been a highlight of the visit to New Plymouth if the gallery housing the archive of Len Lye was open. It is currently being rebuilt to withstand earthquakes and also the addition of a new Len Lye wing which will open in 2015. Len Lye is an internationally renowned sculptor, kinetic artist and photographer.
He produced shadowgraph images of Jean Miro, Georgia O'Keefe, Le Corbusier and others in America in the 1940s. These images are held in the archive and will be a drawcard to the gallery in New Plymouth.
The Sarjeant Gallery is Wanganui's public art gallery. The current exhibition of staff favorites includes a Puyo. I purchased several photography catalogues from past exhibitions.
Too late was I informed of a privately owned gallery specialising in photography, McNamara Gallery, which was closed when I attended.
The Wanganui Museum includes photographs in its displays. The Wanganui River holds spiritual significance in local culture. 75kms upstream is the old Catholic mission settlement of Jerusalem which was the subject of an interesting day trip accompanied by Neil the husband of Glendas fellow glass making student Jinni.
The mission is open and staffed by Sisters of the Order and has the ambient serenity of the spiritual practice which has taken place over many years..
I spent my days exploring the surrounds of Wanganui and taking photographs.
We stayed in a comfortable and relaxing updated suite at the Te Awa Motel. The proprietors, Peter & Debby Shepherd, kindly provided a bike for Glenda to ride to the  studio of Claudia Borella in Nixon Street.
A history of the gallery can be found at this link:
The master class was conducted in the studio by Catherine Newell of Portland, Oregon.
It was not all work, Claudia and her husband Andres prepared a delightful mexican feast.
This was an opportunity for me to mingle and chat and gather more knowledge about photography and arts in the region.
My visits to the second hand and antique shops in Wanganui had yielded a box of assorted 35mm slides of Wanganui, the Taranaki region and the North Island C1950s/70s. Perfect for my 'EKTAPROject'.
The photographers credited on the slides included
1. N Halwell
2. Arthur P Bates 17 Guyton St Wanganui
3. Langwood Camera Supplies Timaru
4. Fotocentre Ltd Oamaru
5. D I Therkleson
We traveled via the coast road to New Plymouth to stay a return night at the very hospitable B&B 'Be My Guest'.  Helen is an engaging, warm and friendly hostess and the accommodation very comfortable. She grows her own produce.
The fresh eggs, fruits and jellies for breakfast were divine.
Helen has guests from worldwide and is frequently booked.
The scenery on the approach to New Plymouth is dominated by the looming spectacle of the 8200 feet volcanic peak of Mt Taranaki. It is a Mt Fuji look alike. The temperature at the summit on a warm day in the mid 20C was -3C with the wind chill factor. Two walkers died in October last from exposure having been trapped in a sudden snow blizzard. One must heed the warnings before venturing to the summit.

On return home to Adelaide I was keen to dispatch my rolls of film for processing and received them back on Tuesday 4 March but without the requested scans.
The images below were scanned by me from the positive transparencies of the FP4 film reversed processed by dr5. I am very happy with the processing but a little disappointed I had to scan them post mounting.
I have noticed that there is a loss of detail in the highlights of my scans and I will have them re-done by a pro-lab. Projection of the images reveals the detail. 

Found object - influence local Maori culture

Creation from found objects - inspired by my visit to the Museum
My take on cubism, ala local art. North Mole - Wanganui

From North Mole looking across to South Beach - Wanganui

Trig Point Track from South Beach - Wanganui

South Beach - Wanganui
WW2 Pillbox South Bank of Wanganui River towards the river mouth

Heading home slowly after the Fair - Wanganui
Glenda - 'The Three Sisters' - Taranaki region

A veiled Mt Taranki 8200 feet dominating the landscape in New Plymouth
The images below were taken on Fujichrome Velvia 100 color  positive transparency film,
scanned and edited for effect.

Piha Beach

Bethels Beach

Bethels Beach

Piha Beach - the little white blobs in the foreground are the sun bloated bodies
of blue-bottle? jelly fish which wash up on the shore and pop when trod on.
Found 1 Auckland

Found 2 Auckland
Serene scene Mt Eden central Auckland

Sundays best - Takapuna North Shore Auckland
Spectacular 8200ft Mt Taranaki

Chronicle Glass Studio  - there are several glass studios in Wanganui
Road to Jerusalem
Neil - Church & Mission Jerusalem

Fence in decline - Church Jerusalem
Horses - Castlecliff Beach Wanganui

Castlecliff Beach Wanganui
View from WW2 Pillbox out to Wanganui River mouth on south bank

Distorted selfie sculpture Riverboat museum Wanganui

Waimarie sails daily up the Wanganui River

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