The Creamy Psychology takeover

Yvonne Todd, Molvah Prayful One, 2007, light jet print 500x409, from series Christians
Told by an art teacher at high school not to pursue photography, Yvonne Todd ignored the advice, once high school was over and she'd done her time at a “dreary admin job”. With a world of possibility opening up to her, Todd experimented and learned the ins and outs of photography.

“It was an exciting time. I felt like I was unlocking the secrets of the universe — secrets I had previously been excluded from knowing,” she says.

Now, Todd has taken over both floors of the City Gallery in Wellington with her exhibition Creamy Psychology, which features around 150 of her photographs. She's the first artist to take over the entire venue with her work.

“To be the first artist with a solo exhibition that fills the entirety of City Gallery is a significant undertaking ... I haven't had a solo show on this scale before, so it's a momentous event in my career,” Todd explains.

Subjects of Todd's images include cripples, anorexics, cult members, showgirls, and tragic heiresses. Typically highly styled with the use of wigs, make up, false teeth, and costumes, the portraits have been described by Todd herself as being decidedly uncomfortable while others are comical or tragic.

As you flow from room to room you're confronted with images that delve deep into the realms of Todd's interpretation of, and the feelings she discovers about, commercial photography and fashion. It's less about making the viewers identify and feel comfortable with the images and more about confronting them with tragic scenarios. Todd herself has suggested that people may come away feeling uneasy from the exhibition.

The exhibition, curated by Robert Leonard, will showcase many photographs that Todd has captured since the 1990s, incorporating her love for glamour and collecting fashion pieces with a display of some of the vintage designer gowns that Todd has collected over the years, including gowns owned by the likes of Whitney Houston.

Creamy Psychology runs until March 1, 2015 at City Gallery in Wellington and you can read more about Todd and the exhibition itself in D-Photo Issue No. 64, on sale now.

Come meet Canon New Zealand

Canon Workshop The Canon New Zealand crew are touring the country this week, making stops in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland, bringing with them the latest and greatest Canon gear to test out.

The team are making time for enthusiasts and professionals alike on the trip, offering Canon Professional Services (CPS) members free camera sensor cleaning (5D and 1D series) along with a chance to get hands-on with the latest Canon professional gear releases. Enthusiasts are invited to meet the Canon reps and take the Canon experience kit for a spin, comprising a large range of cameras and lenses.

The events will be held at fully-equipped photography studios and Canon is bringing a model along for the events, so you'll be able to test the gear (and bring your own along if you like) in real world studio conditions.

Everyone attending the events also goes in to the draw to win a new Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II, the company's top-shelf compact camera.

Photographers in Auckland are in for a special opportunity, with Canon not just brining the full kit for trial but also conducting a free photography night walk in partnership with photo educator Three Little Wishes. There are only 20 spaces for this event, so be sure to get in quick (RSVP details below).


Canon road trip dates:


CPS Health Check – Wellington

October 9, 11am-4pm

FlashDog Studios, 10 Oxford Terrace, Mount Cook

RSVP: with your location in subject line


Meet the Canon Crew – Wellington

October 9, 5-7pm

FlashDog Studios, 10 Oxford Terrace, Mount Cook

RSVP: with your location in subject line


Meet the Canon Crew – Christchurch

October 16, 5-7pm

Lightworkx Photography, Unit 14/75, Peterborough Street

RSVP: with your location in subject line


CPS Health Check – Christchurch

October 17, 11am-4pm

Lightworkx Photography, Unit 14/75, Peterborough Street

RSVP: with your location in subject line


CPS Health Check – Auckland

October 22, 11am-4pm

Kingsize Studios, 27 Sackville Street, Grey Lynn

RSVP: with your location in subject line


Canon Photography Night Walk – Auckland

October 22, 5-8pm

Beginning at Kingsize Studios, 27 Sackville Street, Grey Lynn

RSVP: with your name

Limited to 20 spots, get in quick

Nat Geo daredevil visits NZ

20110712Human-Flight0102The man behind some of National Geographic's most jaw-dropping imagery is dropping in to New Zealand next week.

Bryan Smith, award-winning film-maker at National Geographic Channel, has travelled to some of the most remote and dangerous locations on earth to shoot the amazing footage for the publications popular films, and in early October he comes to Auckland and Wellington to discuss his exciting work.

Smith will present his National Geographic Live talk, Extreme Adventure on the Edge: Vertical Feats and the Man Who Can Fly, at Auckland's Aotea Centre on October 1 and Wellington's Te Papa Museum on October 2.

The event will see the adventurer and passionate conservationist recounting stories from his career as a film-maker renowned for taking his camera to dizzying heights and  pioneering innovative techniques to illustrate some the globe's most extreme environments. Smith says going to such lengths takes a toll, but it's a price he's willing to pay.

"No expedition, adventure, or film comes about without a little bit of suffering. But the suffering coefficient is my key to success."

Head along to the National Geographic website for more info on the event, and see below for a video taste of what audiences will be in for on the night.

Top Kiwi photojournalist to give free talk in Wellington

HammondZimbabwe01-smlNew Zealand photojournalist Robin Hammond will deliver a free lecture in Wellington later this month, speaking about his award-winning photography projects and the place of photojournalism in today's world. Hammond, whose recent work documenting the tragic mental health situation in Africa has earned him a raft of prestigious accolades, will be speaking at Wellington's Massey University on August 27, beginning at 6pm.

The photographer was this year awarded second place in the World Press Photo competition's Contemporary Issues – Stories category for his harrowing series of images examining the way those with mental health issues are treated in the desolated regions of Africa.

The images also appear in his book Condemned: Mental Health in African Countries in Crisis, a project that was awarded the prestigious W Eugene Smith Memorial Fund grant, given annually to a photography working in the area of humanistic photography.

Having worked throughout the world documenting some of the most dire and dangerous situations around the globe – including being arrested on spying allegations while shooting in Zimbabwe – Hammond's talk will no doubt be a unique opportunity to hear from one of the leading photojournalists working today.

The lecture will be held in Theatrette 10A02 in the Museum Building at Massey University on Wednesday, August 27, running from 6-7.30pm, and is free to attend – register your interest here.

Image: Robin Hammond/Panos: 56-year-old Rosepina is HIV positive. She recently had a stroke likely related to her HIV infection. Her 59-year-old husband is also HIV positive. They are both on Anti-Retroviral Treatment. Rosepina is cared for by her 26-year-old daughter, Priscella.

Win a signed photo book from underwater pioneer

David-Doubilet-with-tiger-shark_CR-Jennifer-HayesRenowned aquatic photographer David Doubilet is visiting New Zealand next month for a series of talks and to warm you up for the events we've got a signed copy of his beautiful photo book, Water Light Time, to give away. Doubilet is widely credited as one of the world's foremost underwater photographers, and the spectacular images in Water Light Time make it clear why – the book covers 25 years of the artist's underwater adventures from the shores of the Galapagos to the Red Sea, from the Pacific Ocean to the fresh waters of North America.

He well be speaking to audiences about these expeditions and more in the upcoming National Geographic Live show, Coral, Fire, & Ice, coming to both Wellington and Auckland. The Wellington show will be held at Te Papa Museum on August 7, the Auckland show at the Aotea Centre on August 9. Ticketing information can be found here.

If you would like to be in with a chance to win a signed copy of the photographer's stunning retrospective, Water Light Time, simply fill out the following form telling us what your dream National Geographic assignment would be – where would you go, what would you need, who are your subjects, how would you present the images?

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International photo adventurers visit NZ

Penguins-on-ice-floe,-Antarctica_CR-David-DoubiletTwo world renowned photographers are heading to our shores this year to share their stories of wild adventure and photographic innovation amassed during careers of global exploration. Part of the internationally touring Nation Geographic Live series, pioneering aquatic photographer David Doubilet and extreme adventure filmmaker Bryan Smith will be making stops in Auckland and Wellington to present inspiring talks.

Doubilet is first up, arriving in August with his show Coral, Fire, & Ice, in which he tells the story of the glittering beauty of the world’s 'coral triangle' and the lure of sculptural icebergs and shipwrecks in the icy waters of Antarctica.

He is a pioneer in the field of underwater photography, creating the split-lens camera which allowed him to take above and below the water at the same time, with separate focus points for the top and bottom half of the picture recorded onto the same negative.

Smith follow in October with the show Extreme Adventure on the Edge, in which the adventure filmmaker shares gripping, behind-the-scenes moments from his assignments documenting extreme feats in the world’s most challenging environments.

Auckland shows will be held at the ASB Theatre in the Aotea Centre while the Wellington events will take place at Te Papa Museum – tickets start at $35, see below for dates.

August 7

Coral, Fire, & Ice with David Doubilet – Wellington

August 9

Coral, Fire, & Ice with David Doubilet – Auckland

October 1

Extreme Adventure on the Edge with Bryan Smith – Auckland

October 2

Extreme Adventure on the Edge with Bryan Smith – Wellington

Make light work of Lightroom

lightroom 9One of the country's most respected photography educators has just expanded its programme to include a workshop on getting the most out of Lightroom's organisational and image-enhancing features. Three Little Wishes, which already offers a variety of photography workshops and Photoshop courses, launches its one-day Lightroom workshop in May, with an introductory special for those who book a place this month.

The course, aimed at beginners and requiring no previous experience with Lightroom, will cover all aspects of Adobe's powerful imaging software – from the user interface, importing files, and organising folders to exposure adjustments, re-touching, converting colours, and exporting files.

If you make a booking for one of the May Lightroom workshops before April 30 you'll can secure a spot for a special introductory price of $250 – click here for details.

The first workshop commences on Saturday, May 3 at Photogear in Albany, Auckland. It runs from 10am to 3pm and you'll be required to bring a laptop and mouse (and basic understanding of how to use them) along with a copy of Lightroom on the computer.

To make sure all attendees get the best learning experience possible, Three Little Wishes guarantees there will be no more than six students per tutor, so you can be assured of plenty of practical assistance and learning at an enjoyable pace.

As well as this new Lightroom workshop, Three Little Wishes offers a range of exciting photography courses in both Auckland and Wellington – including beginners, intermediate and advanced photography workshops – and comprehensive training in Photoshop.

The roads home: Harry Culy

Returning home after years abroad, photographer Harry Culy decided to reacquaint himself with Aotearoa by taking a series of road trips throughout the country, his camera along to document the odyssey. He talks with D-Photo's Point-Shoot blog about the unearthed  darkness and beauty that make up his photo project, By the Wayside. lucypekapekalong 001

D-Photo: Hi Harry, to begin with can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

Harry Culy: Hello. I  have just finished my studies up at Massey University. I'm a documentary and freelance photographer based between NZ and Australia.

Can you give us a brief outline of the By the Wayside exhibition?

By the Wayside was a project I started not long after returning to New Zealand after being abroad for five years. I came back with this new perspective on my homeland – so I started taking road trips at any available chance. I actually ended up going all over New Zealand. It was a great excuse to get to know Aotearoa again, meet the people and see the sights. I would just drive around and pull over at a likely looking spot, and just walk around and talk to strangers, which was hard at first because I'm a pretty awkward dude. It was a pretty intuitive or organic process, I was photographing everything, but after a while you start to notice a certain theme or feeling starting to appear. The feeling of something the uncanny or something odd within a familiar setting was a motif that started to crop up – this led me to researching a lot of New Zealand film and literature, especially the Aotearoa Gothic movement, for example Janet Frame's writing or Vincent Ward's movie Vigil. There was also this kind of undercurrent of darkness I was interested in exploring. Basically I wanted take a different angle to the colourful picture postcards we are used to associating New Zealand with, and find out what this country meant to me.

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How do you decide what is going to make a good subject for a shot?

It was more of a feeling than anything else. I would meet someone that looked interesting, or see a scene out the window of the car, something that felt sorta dark or dreamy within the context of everyday life. Another thing I was interested in was this contrast or dichotomy I found – for example this mix of nostalgia and modern life, or fantasy within mundane everyday life, or the problems facing us in New Zealand but also the more beautiful things too.

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Did you spend a lot of time in locations or with subjects before shooting?

Yeah,  sometimes it was like one minute, other times I spent hours. For example, I met this widow in Levin and spent two hours with her, she invited me into her home and told me all about her life. Photography can give you this weird license to get into situations that you wouldn’t any other way.

What gear did you use on the project?

I used a Bronica SQ-ai with a 90mm lens and tripod, available light and black and white tri-x film mostly.

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What was the most challenging thing about putting By the Wayside together?

This was my first proper project, which was a huge learning curve. Everything was a challenge! The sheer volume of images I had gave me a real hard time in the editing process, cutting it down so it had a flow. And also I made a dummy book and it was so hard to get the printing right.

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What are you hoping viewers will take away from the exhibition?

I just want them to get some kind of feeling from the images. We hardly ever notice our surroundings when we live somewhere for a long time – it becomes routine. When I came back I really noticed how interesting it is here, there is all this amazing stuff on our doorstep, which I wasn’t fully aware of before doing this. I just want people to take a new look at this amazing country I guess.

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What's next for you?

I have a few projects in the works, the next one is going to be a like a modern day family album, except turned on its head. I’m moving to Sydney in March and have an Oz project I really want to do also; a similar style road trip project like By the Wayside, looking at Australia as a land of dreams, much like the way people explore the idea of the American dream. So that’ll keep me busy for the next five years or so.

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What's the best piece of photography advice you ever got?

Slow down. Be Patient.

If you could take a road trip anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Australia and New Zealand. I’ve done a fair bit of travel, I want to photograph the lands at the bottom of the world, I have a certain affinity for us antipodeans.

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Harry's exhibition of By the Wayside recently closed at Wellington's Photospace gallery – to see where it might pop up again and follow the artist's new projects check out his website.

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