Made in Wellington is a spontaneous, off-the-cuff documentary project to introduce a newly formed group of Wellington-based photographers who are passionate about using photography to document the world around them, and to learn about different groups of people and cultures along the way.
Meeting on the first Friday of the month, Kaititiro: Wellington Documentary Collective aims to establish a photographer’s collective specialising in reportage and social documentary photography. It is a collaborative project, providing a shared space for mutual support, creating a forum for projects and ideas, and building a platform to share resources, raise funds and showcase photographic work.
The collective aims to produce individual and group work on topical issues, and to be a source of innovative and powerful imagery, creating dynamic and compelling visual stories on social, cultural and environmental themes.
Hills Hats: Behind the scenes
If these photos have a mission, it is to give a behind-the-scenes peek into one of Wellington’s oldest – and still leading – manufacturers. Capturing rarely viewed environments and presenting them in an authentic way, this is a prefect match for celebrating the theme Made in Wellington.
Stepping foot in the factory is like travelling back in time. I was overcome with the sense of, in the most respectful way, ‘the good old days’. Careful, unique, quality craftsmanship. One hat at a time.
It may be a time-worn sewing machine or a stack of designer hats, but whatever the point of focus these images provoke a range of feelings. For me, they include mystery, nostalgia and local pride.
Caroline Atkinson is a Wellington-based photographer who particularly enjoys documentary photography and working with traditional photographic methods. She uses this same aesthetic in her wedding photography business and photography classes.
Atkinson’s Hills Hats project was sparked by her passion for vintage clothing and the fashion industry, as well as her interest in what, where and how garments are still being made in Wellington.[info]Camera: Nikon D600 | Lens: SIGMA 35mm | Focal distance: 35mm | Aperture: 1.4 | Speed: 1/20 to 1/60 [/info]
For this project, I met with and photographed Bobby Crisp, a surfboard shaper at Deluxe Industries in Island Bay. When Crisp opened the door of his workshop, the dust tried to escape through every hole possible, making it hard to breathe without coughing. “Welcome to my workshop!” he exclaimed as he took off his protective mask, still enveloped in a cloud of sawdust and prominently illuminated by two white neon lights.
After at least 20 hours of hard work, the rough-edged wooden plank will be magically transformed into a surfboard. Whether surfers are crazy superheros flying on waves, or laidback long-boarders catching an easy ride, this guy is a wizard who makes dreams a reality.
Sanding, measuring, sanding again: this place is magic. Dust swirls are magnified by the light. Gestures are accurate, careful and passionate. “To realise a wooden surfboard, you have to have a love affair with the material,” says Crisp.
Eventually, the pattern design and resin layers will come. After further sanding, to smooth and blend any surface imperfection, Crisp’s hands finally give birth to objects coveted by surfers around the globe – all Made in Wellington.[info]Camera: Fuji X100 | Lens: 23mm, equivalent to a 35mm fixed focal | Focal distance: 23mm | Aperture: 8.0 | Speed: 1/125[/info]
Courtenay Place 3am
Courtenay Place was my back-up plan if my other project ideas failed to materialise in the four weeks we gave ourselves to develop this project. Shooting on a Voigtlander Rangefinder camera and using black and white ISO 3200 film gave the images a gritty, documentary quality suitable for the late-night hedonism and drunken, boisterous atmosphere that makes for a typical weekend on Courtenay Place. The rangefinder is a small manually operated camera ideally suited to candid reportage-style photography where discretion is required.
Antony Kitchener is a freelance photographer and photojournalist who trained as a photographer with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). He has a strong interest in documentary photography, focusing on social, humanitarian and environmental issues.
A selection of Kitchener’s images won the Student Images of the Year for Excellence in Journalism award 2010, and he exhibited his photo-essays at Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, as part of the 2011 and 2012 Strip Billboard initiative on documentary photography. Local exhibitions have focused on themes of homelessness, marginalisation and dissent.[info]Camera: Voigtlander Bessa R3A | Lens: Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 | Aperture: 5.6 to 2.8 | Speed: 1/125 to 1/15[/info]
Crazy, Otari-Wilton’s Bush
For this project, I wanted to follow my passions. This image is taken from a long-term project that started five months ago at Otari-Wilton’s Bush in Wellington. Being a photographer with a passion for the environment, walking through the bush with camera in hand is the perfect setting for me.
The series of images from which this picture are taken aim to capture a certain atmosphere – sublime, untamed nature. Taking inspiration from early New Zealand photographers such as Frank A. Coxhead and D.L. Mundy, I took my $15 Trade Me-purchased 35mm camera and some rolls of black and white film, and followed streams into the bush. This is a side of Otari-Wilton’s Bush that people may have not seen before: there is remarkable nature in our own backyard.[info]Camera: Nikon F‑55 | Lens: Nikon AF‑S DX Nikkor 18–55mm VR | Focal distance: 24mm | Aperture: 5.6 | Speed: 1 second[/info]
St James Parking building, June
One recent project of mine has been documenting adventure sports in Wellington. Quite often these are relatively fringe groups that the general public don’t know about. Parkour is one example that is alive and well in Wellington, with a vibrant community base and a national organisation, the New Zealand Parkour Association. I’m continuing to work with the association and am also in discussion with other groups like the slacklining [a kind of flexible tightrope] community.
I’ve covered a lot of the mainstream sports in New Zealand. They are always a lot of fun, especially working with international sporting media, but I am inspired and amazed by the high levels of creativity and innovation in adventure sports. I love working with the athletes and choosing areas of Wellington CBD or surrounding landscapes to work with photographically.
It is great to keep awareness of these pursuits high so that young people get out and try them. The Parkour community are a great bunch of really intelligent, caring and thoughtful people – I could think of a lot worse club cultures for young people to get involved with. For more information, see nzparkour.co.nz[info]Camera: Nikon D3S | Lens: Nikkor 24–70mm | Focal distance: 60mm | Aperture: 2.8 | Speed: 1/400[/info]