Close this search box.

Mark Barber documents City Rail Link project

21 May 2021

Auckland Festival of Photography to feature Mark Barber’s portraits of City Rail Link project workers for this year’s outdoor street exhibition

Mark Barber - Karangahape Road, Nina

Mark Barber – Karangahape Road, Nina

The Auckland Festival of Photography has encouraged public projects for the community since its inception in 2004, with shows set in a range of civic spaces across the region. Throughout the 18 festivals since 2004, local photographers have shown their work in a variety of non-gallery spaces including a swimming pool, library, bowling club, shop window, on billboards, projected onto the side of a building, sports stadium, online, school, educational institute, arts collective space, CBD office foyer, migrant resource centre, retail outlet, the Alliance Francaise, cafe, community centre, dance studio, bus stop, Silo Park, Queens Wharf, The Cloud, and a church hall. 

In 2020 the Festival partnered with Link Alliance, the largest public infrastructure project in Auckland, to help build a city-wide contemporary cultural experience that takes place within Auckland’s non-gallery sites and public spaces during June each year. 

AKPD 2-v4.jpg

This year our outdoor street exhibition partners with Link Alliance (which, as a consortium of several companies contracted to build the main section of the City Rail Link tunnels and stations, has people and the movement of people at its heart), and we have commissioned two shows that will let the public enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the work being done on that project.

People are also at the heart of our key values of culture, identity, participation, art — our kaupapa is participation from people of all walks of life, to share their unique stories through the democratic medium of photography. The utilitarianism of photography, which transforms the everyday into art, is about creating the greatest good for the most people. 

The utilitarian City Rail Link project will at least double rail capacity for daily commuters in the city. At the heart of the City Rail Link project are the people who are working to build the stations and tunnels, most of whom go unnoticed underground, and it’s those workers who are being transformed into art portraits by Auckland based commercial photographer, Mark Barber. He has captured the humanity of the moment within the construction.

Night-JudithCrispin-TheDingosNoctuary2020 (1).JPG


Barber has decades of experience in advertising, portrait, and documentary image-making in New Zealand. His ability to focus on the tiny details as well as the big picture, and his portraits of everyday New Zealanders, in their uniquely New Zealand environment, makes him the perfect choice as the commissioned photographer for the Link Alliance. He is currently documenting the City Rail Link project and creating portraits for an archive for future Aucklanders’ use. 

His work will be shown exclusively during the Festival at two outdoor sites from early June, Hopetoun Street (next to Beresford Square), and at Nikau Street, Mt Eden. Both are great for public viewing during the day and at weekends from 3 June 2021.

As well as our transport-themed exhibitions, the Festival this year features exhibitions, projections, talks at 50 venues, with over 350 photographers’ works, and will be supporting New Zealand photography more than ever in 2021 with three awards offering cash prizes: the Alex Mao Youth Photo, the Late Harvest Exhibition Award, and the inaugural Aotearoa Music Photography Award | Whakaahua Puoro Toa competition. In addition there will be cash prizes in tandem with great camera prizes for first, second, and third for Auckland Photo Day, 12 June 2021, with cameras sponsored by Fujifilm X series. See for full details.

Lockdown ads B v3-with gradient.jpg