Laurence Aberhart

Towards the end of last year
Laurence Aberhart
visited Taranaki
and I had the pleasure
of introducing him
to some of my favourite places.
It was a pleasure,
not just because Laurence is a colleague
but also because he is a friend.
Both of us took photographs
and this one
of mine has now found its way on to the
cover of Art NZ. I’m glad because
for some reason it makes me want to smile.
The river is the Waitara
about 20 minutes drive north of New Plymouth.
Famous New Zealand
art dealer Peter McLeavey
went to school in Waitara.

Rock, Back Beach

A photo from Back Beach,
one of my favourite haunts
on the coast here.
Luckily it is only a few
minutes drive from where
I am sitting.
In this photo I recognise
one of my favourite themes:
just how big is the object that I am
looking at.
I don’t do this deliberately,
I just can’t help it.
Unfortunately in this case
the barnacles undermine the illusion.


This morning I went for a walk
in Pukekura Park, a large area of land
a few minutes walk from where
I live.
This ticket box, if that is the word,
has always appealed to me.
In a slight state of disrepair
I would like to see it preserved
especially as it is one of my favourite
buildings in New Plymouth.

Ryder Hall & Aquarium Ornament

Lately I have been going to
a local pet shop and buying
ornaments that are designed
to be immersed in aquaria.
This tree trunk is an example.
On Saturday however,
while out walking,
I was outside New Plymouth
Boys’ High School
and noticed these objects
stuck onto Ryder Hall.
They reminded me of the
fake trees that I had being buying
at the pet shop.
Ryder Hall was built in 1970-1972
and designed by Desmond White
for the Taranaki Education Board.


Mishima is New Plymouth’s Japanese
Sister City. This is part of a garden in
Pukekura Park in which that friendship
is celebrated.
Just in case you think, as yesterday I
wrote about Kunming, our Chinese Sister City,
that New Plymouth has lots
of sisters, alas it doesn’t.
Mishima and Kunming are it although there
is a coastal landform an hours
drive up the coast which is called
The Three Sisters.

The Chinese Garden

This garden was built here in
New Plymouth in 2003 as a gift from its
Chinese Sister City, Kunming.
Chinese tradesmen came and worked
here for some time. Materials were
shipped from China.
Now that 7 years has passed the garden is
beginning to take more shape. Plants such as
the bamboo on the left and the ginkgo on the right
are looking more established.


In New Plymouth there is a large park area
in the central city. It is made up of two
parks that abut each other. One is called
Pukekura and the other is called Brooklands.
Brooklands is well known for being the
venue of WOMAD and many other events.
However, like Pukekura, it has a number
of very mature trees. This pine is an example.
Radiata I think, there are several of them
and I often try to photograph them because
they are some of the most impressive examples
that I have ever seen.
This image doesn’t really give you an idea of the scale,
however, I will continue to work on them.

The Baby’s Bottle.

Late on Friday I was walking along a street
in New Plymouth and came across this

The bottle is exactly where I found it.
No adjustment was necessary.

Back at the Studio

I’m back in my New Plymouth studio and trying to put things in order. Tomorrow I have an architect coming to help me make some decisions about opening up the roof. The house has good bones of Rimu and Matai but the old corrugated iron is springing leaks. The water is coming through my fibrous plaster ceilings and I store my photos here so treatment is urgent. As I’m going to put on a new roof it is a good time to think about opening it up to the light. And insulating.

Sticking to the Ribs

I am nearly halfway through my 12 months here in Alexandra and am asking myself what photographs have I made in that time. Photographs that stick to the ribs I mean. Keepers.

Every day, all the time in fact, day or night, weekends too, I’m thinking about my work. I can’t seem to help it, the pressure seems irresistible. I do think that it can take its toll on those who are close though, I’ve always been sorry about that.

When I keep returning to an image that I have, that is a good sign. The snapper fillet that I photographed was taken a few months ago in my New Plymouth house and studio, when I had to make a visit there and it is one of those. The print is a large one, human sized and is pinned up there. This photo resonates within me in a deeply sad way, I find.