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Floortalk: Lifting the lid on the photobook phenomenon

Thursday 13 October 2022, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm


In this ‘Art on Thursday’ session Curator Photography Athol McCredie will walk us through Worlds Within: Photobooks of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The term ‘photobook’ first appeared in the early 2000s. The photobook is more than just a compilation of individual images in a book format, it’s a creative object in itself.

Digital technologies have enabled photographers to design, publish and distribute their own books over the last 20 years, and with photographers rather than publishers in control, an entire new field of both photographic expression and book publishing has emerged.

This exhibition lifts the lid on the photobook phenomenon. It shows examples of books that the publishing industry would once have termed illustrated books but which we can now understand as works of personal expression, as photobooks – even before the term existed, books like John Pascoe’s 1950 classic, The Mountains, the Bush & the Sea, and Les Cleveland’s 1966 photo/text essay, The Silent Land.

Contemporary self-published photobooks like Bruce Connew’s tiny I Saw You, and Saynab Muse’s 2019 Imaanshaha are also included.

Twenty-one books are shown under glass, and there are ten contemporary photobooks for us to browse through themselves.

Athol McCredie, Curator Photography – Athol’s expertise is in New Zealand photography, particularly 1940 to the present. Current research includes the work of Levin photographer Leslie Adkin for a Te Papa Press book, the history of writing about NZ photography, and the snapshot photographs of Richard Priest and Roland Searle in Wellington during the 1920s.

We will meet in Toi Art, Level 5, just at the top of the stairs. 

Numbers limited. Incl talk, parking and refreshments.


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Thursday 13 October 2022
10:30 am - 12:30 pm
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Te Papa
55 Cable Street
Wellington, 6011


Friends of Te Papa