A Portrait

I have a portrait exhibition on at McNamara Gallery
at present, 29 photos but all of them black and white.
Recently I was interviewed by Nicole Stock,
the editor of Urbis magazine, and she asked
me if I would take her portrait.
Surprisingly I decided to photograph
her in colour. That’s a good sign in
my photographic development
I think.
By the way, I don’t usually say yes when
someone asks
me to take their photo.


Next Friday I’m having an opening in Whanganui
at McNamara Gallery Photography.
It’s an exhibition of portraits that I have dug out of my files.
Many of them have never been exhibited, and there are others
that I really wanted to show but still have not been able to find.
I applied two rules though. There were to be no portraits included
that were of Erika, and no portraits included that were of Peter.
In a way I am glad that there are others because
that means that there is another portrait show required.
Some of the portraits may only exist in negative form.
I hope so.
When I am in Whanganui I usually stay in this large house which,
in one direction, has this view.
The river is muddy in this photo, but extremely heavy
rain had contributed to this. Notice right in the middle of image there is an historic paddle steamer that has been restored and makes trips up the river, often chartered by private parties.

The Portrait

When I began photographing in the Seventies, I was very interested in taking portraits, and my interest lasted for several years, then it seemed to fizzle out, I lost interest almost entirely. Every now and then however the urge does come over me, the most recent occasion being about 5 years ago when in the space of about three weeks I took four or five portraits. Then the desire, inexplicably, left me again. Now however I am, quite suddenly, feeling a strong need to make some more.

Above is one of the portraits that I made at that time. In this case, Laura, now a fine and successful young woman.

Right now I am thinking about who would I like to choose as subjects. This is not an easy task because I don’t often see a face that photographically attracts me, it’s nothing personal, it’s more me than them. It seems that I am running my own personal Passion Play, and can only take photos of someone for whom I have a role.

A decade or so ago the Dalai Llama visited NZ. The organisers invited me to take a portrait of him. I had to politely decline because I simply didn’t have a part for him.

The Portrait

During my career I have, intermittently, taken portraits, sometimes of my friends, sometimes of those who I have only recently met.

Above is a photo that I took last week of Michiko, my daughter-in-law. Michiko is a chef and was at this time cooking a magnificent meal, one of the most memorable that I have ever seen let alone let pass through my lips. It was art.

Likeness & Character

I was in the Auckland CBD yesterday morning and with an hour or two to spare
decided to nip into the Auckland Art Gallery, or the half of it that is open now that the main building is closed indefinitely for alterations.

While in the foyer, one of the security people kindly told me that there were 3 of my photos on display. This was a surprise to me. The exhibition, a collection show called Likeness & Character, is on until April 20th.

I don’t do a lot of portraits, this one was made about 3 years ago.

The Portrait

Periodically, throughout my photographic career I’ve been interested
in taking portraits. Sometimes I go for years without
making a single one, sometimes I seem to get into the groove and take several
over a short space of time.

The people who I do choose to photograph seem to have a particular
look, it is as if I am staging a play and there is not a part for everyone.
I once declined an offer to do a portrait of the Dalai Lama for this very

Grant Dickie, in the photograph above, is someone who I immediately
thought that I do have a part for, even though I don’t have a script, a
conscious one anyway.