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Event overview: Auckland Festival of Photography

With over 110 exhibitions and events across 60 venues citywide, the festival is certainly bountiful, but it can also be a little overwhelming. We have picked some of our favourite events in this year’s line-up to help you plan your own festival experience.

31 May 2018

31 May–22 June

The annual festival that spans both Auckland’s locality as well as its photography scene is celebrating its 15th year. The Auckland Festival of Photography is a city-wide event that has participants ranging from those just emerging on the scene to well-known international photographers.

With over 110 exhibitions and events across 60 venues citywide, the festival is certainly bountiful, but it can also be a little overwhelming. We have picked some of our favourite events in this year’s line-up to help you plan your own festival experience. Be sure to visit for the full programme of dates and locations.

Alex Plumb

Alex Plumb

Alex Plumb
31 May—19 June, Silo 6, Silo Park
Receiving the sought-after Annual Commission from the Auckland Festival of Photography, Alex Plumb’s multi-channel video practice explores identity through cinematically inspired images. Have a read of our interview with Alex in issue 84, and head down to Silo Park on the opening night to experience his immersive work in the flesh.

Short Stories, Marie Shannon
17 June–21 July, Trish Clark Gallery
Marie Shannon’s first solo exhibition in Auckland after many years will feature photographs and moving images from throughout the artist’s ouevre. Shannon photographs subjects with a focus on the narrative or poetic resonance of the object. Taking inspiration from her immediate domestic environment, her photography is recognized for its intimacy and thoughtfulness.

Aide Memoire and Other Stories, Harvey Benge   
3–20 June, Northart
Another chance to compare the works of an artist’s earlier work with their current practice, this exhibition sees prolific photographer Harvey Benge showing imagery from 1999 to 2000 alongside new creations. This opportunity to view the artist’s inventive, erudite, and playful imagery is not to be missed.  

Alejandro Chaskielberg

Alejandro Chaskielberg

Laberinto, Alejandro Chaskielberg
1–24 June, Ellen Melville Centre
If you caught his interview in issue 83, you already know the work of Argentinian photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg is not to be missed. Using his signature style of highly dynamic night-time photography, the artist has created a dazzling series of works investigating a huge labyrinth hidden in the hills of Patagonia.

Water Slows As It Rounds The Bend, Kate van der Drift
12 June–1 July, Sanderson Contemporary Art Gallery
This exhibition is part of Kate van der Drift’s ongoing project investigating the fragile ecology and layered past of the Hauraki Plains. Few clues remain of the ancient fertile wetland, yet concealed in its center lies Kopuatai Peat Dome, the largest unaltered restiad peat bog in New Zealand, and unique globally. By traversing the wetland by foot and kayak, van der Drift pictures areas once full of giant Kahikatea trees that have been crowded out by willow.

Steady Stream of Condolences, Tommy Hamilton
1–23 June, Whitespace
With an interest in memory, identity, and place, Hamilton’s exhibition explores the multitude of ways in which people and spaces inhabit the world. With reference to the connection between memories of places and our sense of self, Hamilton offers to the viewer experiences that are both fleeting and constant, with the intention of allowing space to share these observations, and allow others to manifest.

Metalaxis, Spiros Poros
28 May–17 June, Becroft Gallery Lake House Arts
Described as having a cinematographic appeal, Spiros Poros’ photography excels in portraying the mood of the protagonist, as well as his deep respect for his subjects. Gaining notoriety in the US and Greece for his unique and constantly evolving photography, Poros has become a favourite of fashion houses and celebrities, shooting for magazines such as Vogue, InStyle, Esquire, and Flaunt.


Roberta Thornley

Roberta Thornley

Round and Round, Roberta Thornley
29 May–22 July, The Pah Homestead
One of New Zealand’s fastest-rising photography stars, Roberta Thornley gets an early career retrospective care of the Wallace Arts Trust. Viewers will have the opportunity to trace the artist’s evolving practice through works usually held in both public and private collections, along with the work produced when she won the festival’s Annual Commission in 2011.

Blue Series, Denise Batchelor
30 May– 23 June, Orexart
An artist who always presents a unique, challenging view of the natural world, Denise Batchelor’s latest work examines the intriguing Physalia utriculus, or ‘blue bottle’. Featuring both still and moving-image work, this series was shown in Berlin last year, and its festival appearance marks the first opportunity to view it locally.

Meet You at Mercs, Car Wash Photo Club
30 May–8 June, Allpress Gallery
Covering landscapes, portraiture, documentary, and themes of identity and belonging, this group exhibition offers the viewer a chance to see life through the lens of nine photographers representing all the corners of Auckland. 

Herlinde Koelbl

Herlinde Koelbl

Targets, Herlinde Koelbl
31 May—22 June, Silo 6, Wynyard Quarter
Documentary photographer Herlinde Koelbl’s latest series, Targets, has seen her travel far and wide, photographing primitive targets made by semi-legal armies, as well as motorized and remote-controlled figures on wheels engineered by militant forces. Together, the images tell a fascinating story about the training of young recruits around the world to shoot to kill, and the changing face of warfare in the technological age.

Ephemeral, Janet Hafoka
28 May–10 June, Studio 541
Janet Hafoka explores memory and its fallibility, drawing on objects from the past as her subjects. Her latest exhibition, Ephemeral, explores the centuries-long fascination with the ‘golden hour’, the brief period shortly after sunrise or before sunset when the sun casts a soft, golden light. Hafoka explores the idea of transience and questions the nature of our experiences; whether they are truly as we remember, or seen through a lens of our choosing. 

The Long View, Mary McPherson
29 May– 22 July, Pah Homestead
The Long View harks back to the 19th century when artists such as Alfred Sharpe and John Kinder were making images of Auckland as a city-in-progress. One and a half centuries later, the still-young city continues to make and remake itself — and it is this process which Macpherson’s photographs inhabit. A vision emerges that is at once restless, unresolved and paradoxical, yet somehow capable of moments of transcendence.