© Rangihīroa Panoho, 2016 - 2021. No part of this document (text or imagery) is free to be copied, plagiarised or shared for publication or for uses neither intended nor agreed on by the author without his express permission. The opinions expressed are those of Dr Panoho and not those of former employers or industry colleagues. Details for writing to the author are as follows: email@example.com
People ask me what sort of camera do you use? Over the forty years that I have been photographing I have used a wide variety of cameras. But currently I find I am quite often using my i-phone…It’s a very democratic medium now. Most people have got cameras…in their smart phones. And the fluency with which they can share their images, the speed at which things are happening with photography…it’s easy to take the images. It’s never been so easy…It’s editing the work; this is the hard bit.Peter Peryer (1941 -2018) in Shirley Horrocks’ documentary, ‘Peter Peryer: The Art of Seeing‘, 2018
Moe mai rā e te kai whaakaahua rongonui. Ngā whakawhetai ki a koe he tohunga o te māramatanga o te rā. Ko te mea nui kei roto i tou pikitia ko tou nui whakaharahara ki te whakaahuatia nga mea maori ki ngā mea ātanga.
I watched the above documentary on one of New Zealand’s leading photographers recently. Although I worked as a Curator with one of the larger collections of photography in Aotearoa and while I have collaborated with a number of photographers in my own exhibitions and more recently in several publications I regret never having met Peter Peryer. Our paths just didn’t cross and so it is strange having this person speak such sense from the screen but he himself has passed. I felt his comment about using i-phone affirming, hopeful and also wisely cautionary.
Most of my photography and my photography based design has been generated by an i phone 6 plus and more recently by the SE. I have found both, along with the Adobe suite, to be useful tools in constructing imagery for my Social Media platforms and for communicating ideas with my blogs and as extensions of my painting. There has always been a relationship or dialogue between painting and photography (dating back to the use of the camera obscura by Johannes Vermeer and later by landscape artists like Canaletto) in the arts.
My interest in landscape, the natural environment and ecology is partly practical. I grow New Zealand natives and I photograph their various properties, their provenance. I regularly ruminate over their cultural meaning as it relates to Aotearoa and our tribal histories but sometimes I look further afield to Asia Pacific. I have an ongoing interest in islands of natives and the way that indigenous plants and trees are coping in alien environments, particularly the urban, outside their natural point of origin. How might we consider the persona of Tāne today in these redefined collections of disparate bush and broken forest in our parks, highway plantings, suburban back yards and strips of ngahere? Whether native or exotic their personalities change with the seasons. Picked roses, hibiscus, gardenias, bananas, limes, avacados, birds of paradise flowers, succulents, ferns, gourds, freesias and so on…in various guises regularly feature.
I also use digital imagery to investigate te reo Māori ‘native NZ language’, wāhi tapū and wānanga. The work (sometimes photography or photo based art) is then deliberately explorative as it probes tribal history, indigenous values and semantics. Regarding Peryer’s caution about editing: this is not a curated range of images, there is no chronology or specific reason that I have picked out these images other than formal considerations. They seem partly representative of a range of work I’ve produced. Nā reira, ka huri au ki ngā kōrero a ngā tūpuna, he whakataukī: Nau te rourou, naaku te rourou, ka ki te kete.