As part of the Auckland Festival of Photography (1 June – 24 June), we are pleased to present a solo exhibition of works from renowned New Zealand photographer, Laurence Aberhart. The emotive and atmospheric use of black and white photography is distinct of Aberhart’s works. They often capture iconic buildings, memorials and cemeteries within quiet and almost eerie settings. Despite their inherent stillness, the photographs are rife with history with Aberhart possessing a unique skill in capturing a moment in time through carefully considered compositions.
I did a lot of work early on in Northland, over three decades ago. For a variety of reasons, I haven't done a great deal since but in all that time I have noted that an increasing amount of what I then photographed has gone or gradually decayed away. I have decided to go back to it as Northland is my home and I love the landscape, the people, and how they have inhabited it.
What I am concerned about here are the small humble things that for many people as they drive through the land would barely notice - just glimpse out of the corner of the eye and pass on. As I have done also. So, now I am stopping and spending time to look and absorb. And trying to catch what I feel is the essence of the ‘The North' in its ordinariness. The plain and humble, and catch it before that too passes away.
The caravan in Bland Bay I spent some time directly in front of, waiting for the light to do more than what is wasn't doing. I took a photo and started to pack the camera away when I looked back and instantly saw what I had been waiting for; the 'scene' to be recorded, enlightened by the magic of light.
The church and the small house are what I speak of above; small, quiet things, so humble that unless you force yourself to stop and look you would just pass on by. The house on the hill could almost be Appalachian, of somewhere else, but it isn't. It is the essence of the 'here' that is the North.
Laurence Aberhart, May 2017
Image: Urupa, Pipiwai Road, Northland, 7 March 2017, 2017, silver gelatin photograph, 200 x 250mm