Wanhalla and Wolf’s volume contains essays that reflect the range of colonial attitudes toward the Māori people, including a discussion of the most celebrated of New Zealand’s daguerreotypes. Attributed to Lawson Insley, this stunningly beautiful image shows Caroline and Sarah Barrett, two well-dressed young women (born to a Māori mother and European father), photographed in 1853. The daguerreotype forms the basis of an engaging re-contextualisation by Christine Whybrew who considers it to be a family portrait rather than an ethnographic record.
Insley’s approach to these subjects was relatively unusual; rather, as Jocelyne Dudding discusses, it was more common for colonial New Zealand photographers to adopt an ethnographic approach. One favored photographic subject was those Māori who had striking facial tattoos () or ritual patterns chiselled onto their skin. A more confronting example of the categorizing impulse is examined in Roger Blackley’s essay on Josiah Martin’s photograph (1885), which features Māori artifacts, including preserved heads gathered through ancient cannibalistic practices. Blackley argues that the assemblage is not a record of an existing museum display but a politically motivated and macabre still life created by the photographer.
History of New Zealand - Wikipedia
As is apparent from their essays, photography came comparatively late to the colony (around 1848), and relatively few securely ascribed daguerreotypes are now extant. As opposed to its more populous neighbour of Australia, where surviving daguerreotypes count in the low hundreds, in New Zealand there are only around a dozen images identified. This is not to say that photographs were not taken: one newspaper report of 1856 tells of a daguerreotypist (John Nicol Crombie) who took 1,088 portraits in Auckland alone over 15 months. It can only be presumed that, with some notable exceptions, these small objects either accompanied colonists when they left New Zealand, were disposed of, or now reside anonymously in collections.
Urban Spaces, Hybrid Faces: Rethinking Identity in …
The book concludes with a select bibliography of publications on New Zealand photography and a directory of its collecting institutions. These inclusions alone would be worth the effort of compiling the volume, as they point the researcher to where and how to access early New Zealand photography. It is tantalizing to note, for instance, that the Hocken Collections hold two million photographs related to New Zealand and the Pacific. Of course, knowing that such archives exist is one thing; interpreting them is quite another. As Wanhalla and Wolf note, the large collections listed in the volume still remain “a valuable yet under-utilised resource . . . rarely subjected to critical scrutiny” (9). Indeed, scholars including Hardwicke Knight, William Main, and John B. Turner have done groundbreaking work since the early 1970s uncovering many of the gems in New Zealand’s collections and, as a consequence, have charted the early history of the medium. thus marks the efforts and perspectives of a new generation of researchers.
Wine Dogs New Zealand 2 – Wine Dogs
There is no doubt that this book places New Zealand photography onto a world stage for the interested reader, and is important for anyone looking to expand her or his scholarly horizons. However, the essays do prompt the question of how one defines New Zealand photography and what are the limits of such a study. Is it, as seems to be the case here, that only those practitioners who lived in the country are considered to be part of its photographic history, or should this perspective be expanded to include the many traveling photographers who also photographed in New Zealand?
New Zealand history books, books about New Zealand history
Over the last decade there has been a quiet but persistent revolution in scholarship on photography. The growing popularity of the medium as a focus of academic study, coupled with the desire by some researchers to explore histories of photography beyond the mainstream, has seen a groundswell of work being undertaken in regions outside of the United States and Europe. Pushing beyond the limited and generally imperialistic boundaries still apparent in most world histories of photography, Australasian photo-historians are actively contributing to a more global understanding of the medium. This is most evident in Angela Wanhalla and Erika Wolf’s notable edited volume, .